5 free-to-play games while waiting out the coronavirus

PHOTO: Unsplash

The World Health Organisation (WHO) last week (March 31) recommended playing video games as a healthy way of physical distancing while maintaining social connection in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

However, there are many people who are not gamers or do not want to spend on games. So here are five free-to-play games (some with the option of in-app purchases) to consider as we stay home and wait out this wretched pandemic.

Star Wars: The Old Republic

Available on PC

If you are a Star Wars fan, playing Star Wars: The Old Republic (SWTOR) is a great way to kill time with some familiar galactic action.

This game is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game, so it is best to get some of your friends onboard. However, it is still possible to play alone without teaming up with anyone to complete quests and level up.

You can choose between the path of a Jedi or a Sith. And of course, expect to be wielding a lightsaber or two.

Call of Duty: Warzone

Available on PC, PS4 and Xbox One

Fancy a last-man-standing battle? Warzone offers that with its Battle Royale mode, in which each match can see up to 150 players - trumping the 100-player limit in PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, one of this genre's most popular games.

Warzone comes with a rich heritage from the Call of Duty game franchise and has both solo and team play options in its Battle Royale mode. Its other main mode is the Blood Money mode, whereby your team has to search for cash around the game map to accumulate as much money as possible.

The team that has the most amount of money wins the game.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. PHOTO: Valve

Available on PC, PS3 and Xbox 360

Sometimes old is gold. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive might be nearly eight years old but there are still a lot of people playing the game. According to statistics from online game video retailer Steam, over one million gamers played it concurrently on March 14.

Its longevity lies in its simplicity. This first-person shooter game pits two teams of five against each other.

One team, the Terrorists, needs to plant a bomb or defend the hostages, while the other team, the Counter-Terrorists, needs to defuse the bomb or rescue the hostages. Your team wins when the objectives are met or when you kill everyone in the opposing team.

Words with Friends 2

Available on Android and iOS

In this Scrabble-like multiplayer word game, you and your friends (or strangers) take turns to build words on a crossword-puzzle-style board. Each player is given seven randomly-generated letter tiles. These tiles are replenished until all 104 tiles have been used.

Players take turns to form words on the board and can choose to swap tiles with the pool of currently unused tiles, or skip a turn if they cannot form a word.


FoldIt. PHOTO: University of Washington

Available on PC, Mac and Linux

A game with a premise apt for these times, Foldit is a free puzzle game developed by the researchers at the University of Washington that is all about killing the coronavirus. First released in 2008, Foldit's players have helped scientists in solving a problem about decoding the Aids virus in 2011.

In this latest update of the game, you will be tasked to create or modify protein chains so that they can bind to the coronavirus' distinct spike protein, thereby preventing the latter from infecting human cells.

While it might sound like rocket science, the actual puzzle is rather simple. You just need to fold an existing protein into a new shape that potentially blocks the spike protein. You earn points based on your protein's efficiency in blocking the spike protein.

Download the game at fold.it/portal/node/2003714.

For the latest updates on the coronavirus, visit here.

This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.