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You only have a week to play the best hero shooter for free on the Switch

"Cheers love, the cavalry's here!"

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Nintendo Switch gamers don't get the same steady stream of free titles compared to PC and PlayStation 4 owners, but for a limited time, they can play the game that defined the hero shooter genre since 2016 for absolutely free.

Blizzard Entertainment's Overwatch is free to play for Nintendo Switch Online members via a Game Trial for a limited time. Subscribers to the Nintendo's online service can download and play Overwatch completely free of charge starting from Tuesday, October 13 until Tuesday, October 20.

Once this week-long offer is over, Switch users will need to purchase Overwatch for $40 if they want to continue playing. A Switch Online membership currently costs $19.99 for a year, but first-time subscribers have access to a seven-day free trial. That means new Switch owners or users who haven't sprung for the online membership can get the service and try Overwatch for seven days at no cost at all this week.

To top it off, any experience or items earned during the free trial will transfer over to the full version of the game if gamers decide to purchase it. They just need to make sure they buy the game on the same console they played the trial on after October 20.

Overwatch made waves when it launched on Nintendo's handheld console in 2019 three years after its initial release on other platforms. The Switch port doesn't offer the same type of graphical fidelity and frame rates as other versions on PC or PS4 Pro, but it comes with a Switch-exclusive feature: Gyro Aiming.

This added perk lets players use the Switch's motion-sensing gyroscope to tilt their Switch and adjust their aim at the last second, which isn't possible on other consoles. Gyro Aiming is completely optional and can be turned off in the game's settings menu if gamers prefer a more traditional console experience.

'Overwatch' can be played handheld for the first time on the Nintendo Switch.Blizzard Entertainment

Overwatch redefined the competitive first-person shooter scene with its original roster of 21 unique characters back in 2016. The game's cast has since expanded to 32 heroes, 21 distinct maps, and countless Blizzard-made and fan-made mini-games that keep the game fresh, allowing players to enjoy Overwatch however they want to.

The core game mode can be played by selecting the Quickplay or Competitive options in the main menu and will drop games into six-versus-six match. Both teams will battle each other as they attempt to complete a series of objectives, like capturing and holding a point for the extent of a round or escorting a payload to a checkpoint.

Nowadays, team compositions are required to include two tanks, two damage-dealers, and two support characters, but there are still a massive array of hero combinations players can choose from. Each character has its own unique set of skills and an Ultimate signature ability that slowly charges as players deal damage, heal their team, or complete objectives on each map.

Echo is 'Overwatch's most recent hero addition. The robotic damage-dealer can transform itself into other heroes with its Ultimate ability.Blizzard Entertainment

Timing and combining Ultimate abilities is essential to winning matches, which has fueled a lively esports scene around Overwatch. But even in a casual setting, balancing cooldowns and combining abilities with allies over voice comms leads to Overwatch's most exciting and satisfying moments.

For example, the samurai archer Hanzo can use his Ultimate Dragonstrike to summon two dragons that travel in a straight line and deal massive damage to whoever they touch. This ability is typically difficult to hit because it's so easy to see coming, but if a team first traps their opponents inside of Zarya's Graviton Surge, Dragonstrike can net a flurry of kills in seconds.

There are a ton of other ultimate and ability combos to explore and perfect in Overwatch, which can easily keep gamers entertained for thousands of hours. So if you haven't dived in yet, now's your chance to dip your toes into the world's best hero shooter.

Overwatch is available for free on the Nintendo Switch from October 13 to 20.

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