It’s that time again – I haven’t done this for a while, but every now and then I do a little round up of the games I’ve been checking out as part of my Game Pass subscription. There’s an awful lot of games on offer, with a surprising number of indie titles that could go under the radar – but, with them being offered as part of a subscription, the barrier to entry is lowered significantly and there’s more chance of hidden gems being uncovered. Today I’m going to just cover the indies I’ve found on Game Pass – perhaps you’ll find something interesting here that you haven’t heard of before. Let’s go check these games out!
Munchkin: Quacked Quest
I really wanted to like Munchkin: Quacked Quest; it has a charming visual style and the concept of randomly generated dungeon delving is a nice idea – and a reasonable way of handling the unpredictable nature of the card game it’s based on – in theory, but unfortunately the execution leaves a lot to be desired. With a painfully unfunny commentator and a very repetitive feel to the game, it’s an unfortunately mediocre experience, even playing locally with friends.
Forza Horizon 4
It’s the game that keeps on giving! Despite featuring in these round ups several times before, I still can’t stop playing Forza Horizon 4. Unfortunately, I’m cheating a bit by including it here (again!), because I’m playing the Lego Speed Champions DLC that is not included with Game Pass, but it is frequently on sale – and having access to the entire game and the DLC for so cheap is a pretty decent bargain.
A new addition to Game Pass, Subnautica is a crafting and survival game in a mostly underwater setting. It’s wonderful; I haven’t got that far, but I’m utterly entranced by the gorgeous visuals, wonderful soundtrack and superb creature design. The survival aspects are well done and less frustrating than I normally find them; likewise, the crafting is pretty straightforward and compelling – again, this is an aspect of modern gaming that normally causes me to switch off, but that’s certainly not been the case with Subnautica. Highly recommended.
I covered the PC version of Demon’s Tilt a while back, and – being the long term pinball fan that I am – found it to be an excellent homage to classic, 16-bit video game pinball titles such as Devil Crash/Crush (also, confusingly, changed to Dragon’s Fury for its Western release). It’s got some vivid occult imagery and a great, neon-tinged 80s look overall. If you’re a fan of pinball, you definitely need to check out the multi-playfield charms of Demon’s Tilt.
My Friend Pedro
What if John Wick was an amnesiac with a banana egging him on through murderous ballets of bullets and blood? The answer to that bizarre question can – perhaps surprisingly – be found in My Friend Pedro. It’s an intoxicating mix of 2.5D slo-mo acrobatics, platforming and shooting – an intriguing and compelling game that you should check out if you have the chance.
I’m a big fan of cutesy indie games and Wandersong – with its Adventure Time-esque character design and animation style – is definitely a game that’s right up my street. With musical elements aplenty, the audio is as enticing as the visuals – and the unusual, tone-based mechanics give the game a really original feel.
The Jackbox Party Pack 2
The Jackbox Party Pack games are fantastic. So much fun and able to be enjoyed by just about anyone, as long as they bring their phone along! The second game in the series of compilations is my favourite – and is, unfortunately, the only one available on Game Pass at the moment. An absolute blast with just about any group of friends or family members.
Ticket to Ride
Let’s get one thing straight here: the Ticket to Ride board game series are some of the absolute best tabletop games in existence. They’re simple designs with that classic board game style of having lots of things you want to do every turn, but being limited in what to do with your actions. It’s ridiculously, endlessly compelling. The digital version – unlike Asmodee’s other game in this list, Munchkin: Quacked Quest – is incredibly faithful to the tabletop version, which is great. There’s absolutely no need to tinker with the design to make it more video gamey, because it’s already such a wonderful creation.
The problem is that the interface leaves a lot to be desired – and this version seems to be single player only, which is another unfortunate element. DLC boards, of which there are many, do offer multiplayer capability, but the base game doesn’t seem to. Thankfully, the extra boards do add lots of different elements and map styles – and they’re very reasonably priced – but the base offering included here is pretty lacking.
So that’s it for another round up. You have nothing to lose by trying out as much as you can if you’re subscribed to Game Pass, but there’s a big enough selection available now that it can be a little overwhelming to decide what to play next. I hope these mini-reviews have helped!
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