Though Jurassic World: Evolution is still taking up most of my gaming time – though how long that’ll last I’m not sure, given that the late stages of the game have become ridiculously frustrating, with one crisis snowballing into several at the drop of a hat – I’ve still found some time to play other games, mostly via Game Pass. Which games have I been able to check out this week?

Totally Accurate Battle Simulator

Though it still feels a bit rough around the edges, there’s an undeniable charm to the sandbox chaos of Totally Accurate Battle Simulator. Though there’s a basic campaign included, I’ve mostly messed around with the sandbox mode, dropping in whatever type of combatants take my fancy and launching them at each other, sometimes taking control of one to try and tip the scales in their favour. It feels like playing with toy soldiers in a way (albeit toy soldiers that can end up facing dragons, halflings, Greek gods and Death himself) and definitely has an endearing feeling, comparable to playing with a random box of toys – though it’s much funnier than that description may sound. The animation and visual style are charming and amusing (the almost-drunken Halflings are highly recommended to play with!) – when I have more time, I’m looking forward to making my way through the campaign too.

The Jackbox Party Pack 2

A visit from non-gaming relatives was the perfect opportunity to introduce them to the delights of Jackbox; the excellent Earwax – where players take turns to judge which sound effects best match a chosen prompt, with predictably amusing and often gross results – and slightly more complex Bidiots – with players drawing works of (ahem) ‘art’, before competing in auctions full of bluffing and scheming, were the two games played. Always a great time!

Forza Horizon 4

Yes, here it is again. My pick for game of the year last year (even though it came out the year before – but it was definitely the best game I first played in 2019) is in this list again. You’re probably bored of hearing about how I’M DEFINITELY NOT INTERESTED IN CARS or racing games – and that may explain why I’m so addicted to a game in which the actual racing feels secondary to all the mucking about you can do in an expansive open world. One aspect I’ve never spoken about is the custom car paint jobs that players can create and share; I’m bloody awful at these, but I’m always blown away by the creations of others. I downloaded a classic green Ford Explorer Jurassic Park paint job for my Jeep (clearly, even when I’m not playing Jurassic World Evolution, I’m thinking about it) and was astounded at how many of these were on offer and just how good they were.

Though a new battle royale mode has been added (because there’s no game or genre safe from battle royale mechanics, clearly), I’ve not played it – despite the hours I’ve sunk into Forza Horizon 4, I’ve barely scratched the surface of the different modes and missions the game offers, which is a real testament to just how much is included. There’s truly something here for all types of player, even filthy casuals like me – though, having gathered ALL of the collectable items in the Lego Speed Champions DLC and unlocking an achievement that less than 1% of players have, I certainly feel like a bit less of a filthy casual than I did before.

Untitled Goose Game

I haven’t got far in Untitled Goose Game, but I really like the charmingly British setting – as well as being the little feathered git that disrupts the idyllic village’s way of life. Each setpiece is a wonderful little puzzle, working out how to tick off the ‘shopping list’ of chaotic tasks. Watching the villagers go about their day and then poking your beak in to mess it all up is incredibly satisfying.  

Neon Chrome

A cyberpunk, top down, twin stick shooter with roguelike elements, Neon Chrome is the surprise of the week. It’s a game clearly in love with the cyberpunk aesthetic; all glowing neon, cool hacker names and an absolutely banging synth soundtrack combine to make a game that’s much more than the sum of its parts. Another one of those games that I probably wouldn’t have got around to playing if it wasn’t for Game Pass, but I’m very glad I’ve been able to give it a go. Excellent stuff.

So that’s it until next time; I’ve just downloaded The Witcher III, so if I can tear myself away from Jurassic World: Evolution for more than a brief gaming session, I’m sure I’ll have some thoughts on that next time. See you soon for more Game Pass Adventures!

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