Hidden Gems of Xbox Game Pass

I was looking for an action-ish game, and I played Journey to the Savage Planet for a few hours. It was fun to explore, but after beating the boss of the first area, I feel like I've seen what this game is offering. Also, dodging things in first person can be quite frustrating for me and brings back memories of the twitchy parts of Metroid Prime that turned me off of that series.

Next up - The Messenger, and probably CrossCode tomorrow.

Aristophan wrote:

I was looking for an action-ish game, and I played Journey to the Savage Planet for a few hours. It was fun to explore, but after beating the boss of the first area, I feel like I've seen what this game is offering. Also, dodging things in first person can be quite frustrating for me and brings back memories of the twitchy parts of Metroid Prime that turned me off of that series.

Next up - The Messenger, and probably CrossCode tomorrow.

I loved Journey... but yeah the combat is not very good. But the game has a lot of good humor and I found it to be a really fun coop experience and a rewarding exploration game.

If you're looking for action games on GamePass, take a look at Creature in the Well. The Messenger is fantastic, though.

+1 for Creature in the Well (it's also fairly sort) and CrossCode (can be quite long). CrossCode has a lot of puzzles to balance with the action and exploration, which I just posted about in the catch-all.

Another Game Pass game I would recommend is Full Metal Furies to anyone who enjoyed the likes of Castle Crashers and has a friend to play it with. My wife and I played through FMF and beat it after much racking of our brains and a bit of guide checking at the end as it starts out feeling like a 100% brawler, requires strategic battle elements more and more and 'ends' with a puzzle that spans the whole game if you are paying attention from the beginning. I've heard the single player experience is much less fun, but at least they do a pretty cool scaling difficulty effect based on the total number of players. Plus I loved the humor in the writing.

My wife and I enjoyed what we played of Full Metal Furies. However, it unfortunately left GamePass around the beginning of May.

oh, so it did. It still shows up in the search (that's all I looked for before) but only with a buy option. I bought it and played on Switch.

I've been playing The Messenger for the last few days. It's been pretty challenging, but usually I've been able to persevere. Some bosses though - oof! Now I'm in the more open part, and it's a little aimless. I've also hit some challenge rooms that are a pain mostly because you need to get through a few screens to get to them and they have instant death.

Overall, I'm pretty positive on the game, and I would love to watch a speed run of it.

I’ve been playing West of Dead. It’s an interesting take on the twin stick shooter and rogue-like genres. It was really hard for me to get the first permanent upgrade, but after that the upgrades kept coming on a steady drip feed. The best thing about it is the art style.

I’ve also played a bit of CrossCode. Really great art style. Thematically it strikes me as a throwback mix of Zelda and Final Fantasy. The writing is pretty good. Be warned that there is an excruciatingly long tutorial baked into the first hour or more of the game. I plan to play more of this soon.

RawkGWJ wrote:

I’ve been playing West of Dead. It’s an interesting take on the twin stick shooter and rogue-like genres. It was really hard for me to get the first permanent upgrade, but after that the upgrades kept coming on a steady drip feed. The best thing about it is the art style.

I failed the first mission like 10 times and then just gave up. I found it really difficult.

I, too, started Cross Code recently. Its sort of 16-bit JRPG aesthetic makes it seem very much not my thing, but it has sucked me in pretty well through about 4 hours, I think in part because it is a very good alternative to The Last of Us Part II, which I just finished 30 hours of. This is, of course, much more lighthearted and chill. My biggest frustrations with it so far are a)there is some platforming puzzling based on varying heights of the landscape that are extremely difficult to figure out because of the perspective, b)some of the quests and puzzles are just vague enough that I can spend too much time aimlessly wandering, and c)the combat (somewhere between like Legend of Zelda and a twin stick shooter?) is maybe a little too challenging at times. But I think I'm going to stick with this for a little bit. I would never in a million years have bought this game. I love Game Pass.

When does Flight Simulator 2020 beta start for Game pass?

Balthezor wrote:

When does Flight Simulator 2020 beta start for Game pass?

August 18

Microsoft's xCloud Will Officially Launch in September as Part of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate
https://gizmodo.com/microsofts-xclou...

Cool they have me more and more in their grip.

Wow, the image at the top of that Gizmodo article is rather phallic. Is that theirs, or Microsoft's?

Edit: Microsoft's, per the tagline at the bottom of the image.

farley3k wrote:

Cool they have me more and more in their grip.

Pre-paying ultimate until nearly 2023 (thanks to the $1 upgrade from gold) seemed like a great deal at the time and it keeps getting better.

I've been using xCloud as a way to try games before I download them. I wonder if every console game pass game will end up being on xCloud.

It also turned out to be an easy way to play coop games with my kids when the game doesn't support split screen on one Xbox. I couldn't play anything competitive on it but most games, even shooters, are playable. Racing games require you to be more deliberate but are definitely playable.

Forager and Mount & Blade Warband both came out on Game Pass today and I spent some time with both.

Forager is cool, if a little inscrutable. It feels like what if Stardew Valley were compressed into a mobile game like Triple Town with a bit of Kingdom. Cute, big, pixel-y graphics, with little tiles you interact with to get resources and craft buildings that you can use to craft more things, and grow and plant and fight monsters and kill animals, none of which is explained in very much detail at all. I wish it were a little clearer, and it has a real devious component to it which is there isn't really a way to pause it--I think the only menu interaction that leads to a pause is selecting a new skill after leveling up, and even that I'm not 100% confident it pauses the world while you select. I remarked to my wife after emerging from a 90 minute trance with the game that it's like being in Vegas where the casinos don't have any clocks, it's this engaging, compulsive loop that it's hard to break out of, there's always one more thing to do. To even get to "save and exit" you have to go into the options menu, which is not intuitive. It's cool, but I am going to have to be careful not to let it swallow up too much of my life.

No such danger for Mount & Blade. Yikes! I know this game looks and feels like this and yet people seem to love it, so, to each their own, but man, it is a rough presentation. I tweeted out a couple videos of the experience. The immediate first impression offered by the tutorial is a bunch of text that you can't clear without trying to quit the game, everything looks pretty ugly and choppy, movement and targeting feel sloppy. See how my first round of sparring went for my experience of the combat--not impressive! I've always heard this is a super beloved series, made by a tiny set of people (a husband and wife, I think I heard?), but I don't think I'm gonna put the hours into this one to figure out the appeal.

I also lost time today to Forager. It reminds me of clicker games - each action is very small and discrete, but you keep going to just finish one more thing.

Warband looked janky even back when it released in 2009. The actual gameplay is very fun, but its combat system is from 11 years ago. Melee combat on foot is okay once you get used to it, but as the game is named Mount & Blade, its mounted combat is where it shines. Get a fast horse and a good lance. Leading cavalry charges is what the game's all about.

I played a few hours of Night Call. It’s very indie, very noir. It’s sort of a Sherlock Holmes, clue collecting, mystery solving game. I’m still working on the first case.

The story starts out a little strange. A mean police detective lady blackmails a cab driver into investigating a serial killer. If the cab driver doesn’t correctly identify the killer the detective lady is going to expose the cab driver’s deep dark secrets?!?

I’m sure it’s been discussed before, but I recently gave For the King a try in local co-op mode with my wife. Neither of us are really strategy or turn based fans, but playing on easy turns this into a super casual exploration loot fest with some character building (via gear upgrades) to boot. Really enjoy that different weapons have different abilities so you can use this to change up your character’s play style.

We are thoroughly enjoying this as our current co-op of choice. Especially once we figured out you can control more than one character and restarted with a 3 character party.

Are there missions you play or is it a continuous open world strategy game? If mission based, how long is the average mission?

Thank you,
Chad

There are side missions you can pick up at every town on the map. Also there is a main story mission that leads you through the map. And event things pop up randomly all over the map as well. It’s a rogue like I should mention, where you earn things you can unlock permanently as well by collecting “lore”. All that said we have only yet played the original campaign but there are others to play too.

Re mission length, we have yet to complete the main one, and sides are quick. You can save at any time basically so you don’t need long sessions to devote to this one. You can probably pop on, play for 15 minutes, and feel like you made progress.

Thank you.

I played it a bunch when it came out, and For The King is quite fun. It's not incredibly complex, but there's enough depth in how you build your party, unlock different characters, and upgrade as you that it kept me hooked for a while. Neat little title.

I started playing Observation today and it’s pulled me in pretty quick.

It’s a narrative sci-fI puzzle game where you play the AI of a space station trying to help a crew member solve problems. It feels a little like the movie Gravity but from the perspective of the station, not the human.

I’m only about an hour in so far but I’m really enjoying it. Anyone else played it yet? Does it hold up through the rest of the story? It’s only about 6 hours long according to How Long To Beat.

I really like how much more willing I am to just try a game and see if it sticks when I have it through Game Pass.

I meant to get back to Observation but Carrion came out so I tried that instead.

So far it has been a fun mix of consuming human flesh and light puzzles I have to figure out so I can consume more human flesh.

The movement in the game is really well done and the visuals are top notch pixel graphics.

I don’t know the right word to describe it and charm is completely the wrong word once you see the game but it just exudes gory sticky tentacled charm in everything it does. This game is like Hannibal Lecter: revolting in such a charming way. Do you know what I mean? What is the word for that?

Supposedly it’s considered a metroidvania. Your abilities evolve during the game and let you open areas you’ve previously been locked out of. Sometimes you have to temporarily shrink yourself to previous forms so you can use older abilities. The main thing that makes me like this more than other metroidvanias I’ve played is that so far I’ve never been confused about where to go next. There is a lot of backtracking but it feels so natural and obvious where to go. I’ve only been really stuck on one puzzle at the end of my first play session and I solved it immediately at the start of my second session so maybe I was just tired or something.

I think it’s a short game as well. I’ve played two sessions and it’s starting to feel like I’m approaching the end of the game. Maybe 6 hours or so. I think I’ll probably be able to finish it in one more session unless I’m completely wrong about it’s length.

It might not be your thing but if you have game pass I suggest you try it and see.

I gave carrion a try and although the movement and everything about it excellent, I can't get past the fact that it desperately needs a map or better level design. After the third level I was absolutely, completely, lost and gave up on it.

Fredrik_S wrote:

I gave carrion a try and although the movement and everything about it excellent, I can't get past the fact that it desperately needs a map or better level design. After the third level I was absolutely, completely, lost and gave up on it.

Often the roar ability tells you (roughly) where to go next and sometimes it requires dropping biomass so you can use abilities only your smaller forms have.

If you do need maps I found some here:
https://gameplay.tips/guides/8163-ca...

As I played Carrion, I though about how 20 year old me would have been completely blown away, but 50 year old me is only mildly amused by the game. I’m getting burnt out on all of the 2D retro pixel blocky-block games that are flooding Game Pass.

I was so massively lost in Carrion towards the end. Then I remembered to look for the green exit signs that the humans use!