Game Pass December 2021 Review – Another Mega Month.

I’m Kinglink and welcome back.  It’s almost the end of the year so it’s time to look at the Xbox Game Pass December 2021 Review…

Except wait… I normally play the Xbox Game Pass For PC, but that’s not a thing any more.  The thing is I try to look at all the games for Game Pass, though I currently only play on PC, so I’m going to think about what to call this, but for this month, this is the PC Game Pass December 2021 Review, or just the Game Pass December 2021 Review take your pick.

The two services as of now are so similar, the only real difference this month was Among Us, which is extremely fun with others, considering it reviewed. 

Also just a heads up, I have a discord server called The Roundtable, please check the description or the pinned comments for more details. 

With all that said, once again there are just too many games for one video this month.  So we are going to break this up once again because I don’t think anyone wants to hear me talking about games for forty minutes straight.  13 games this week, 13 games next week.  So let’s see what the first half had on tap.  Starting with. 

Exo One.  Using a gravity craft to explore the universe. 

Exo One starts with the player stuck on a desert planet, with the ability to manipulate gravity.  Increasing the gravity on a downslope and releasing it on a rising slope quickly turns this experiment into something magical.  It is actions like this that make Exo One feel like a unique experience. 

From there, players gain a handful of different abilities but the entire game is mostly exploring a series of interesting planets using unique controls though there are a few twists involved.  It’s a solid experience that took me about two and a half hours, but players are already trying to speedrun this game.  This is a rather fresh experience that feels unlike anything you’ve played before. 

Pick this up if you prefer fresh novel concepts.  There is a story here that was a little weak, but the gameplay here is worth checking out and I adored it.  This is also created by a small team or a single person depending on how you consider it but either way, it deserves a lot of recognition for that. 

My Friend Pedro.  An average action game with a strong story.

My Friend Pedro focuses on a character who starts with amnesia, waking up in the back of a butcher shop and talking to a floating banana.  While this does seem like a lol random opening, there’s a strange story here that will entertain and keep the player’s attention over the five-hour journey. 

It’s just a shame the gameplay doesn’t do as much to engross the player.  There’s a handful of interesting scenes, levels, and mechanics, but that’s like five or six really special levels over the forty or fifty levels.  Otherwise, the gameplay is rather average.  This game was more developed to be for speedrunning, or leaderboard chasing.  Even if there looks like there’s an amazing style, it’s a style that doesn’t change much over the levels. 

Pick this up if you like speedrunning or chasing the leaderboard.  I gave this game a 7/10 originally, and while it’s fun, I probably would play something else, though if someone had Game Pass and five hours to kill it might be fun to run through this story once.  It’s just coming back to this game, I am noticing how only a few moments of this game reach the highest level.

Fae Tactics. Final Fantasy Tactics with more creatures. 

Fae Tactics is a Strategy RPG with a focus on collecting and summoning monsters to fight alongside the player.  You play through a large series of levels and gain experience with every action you make.   There’s a large number of tactical skills, such as using one character to assist another to improve their damage, then using a second to create combo attacks so a character gets additional damage, and so on. 

Fae Tactics though is also a very slow game, maps can take a long time to get through mostly due to how spread out the enemies are and players usually have to focus on attacking only a few monsters at a time, while others just hang out on the other side of the map.  However, there’s a lot to find and collect on each map, so players who want everything will usually spend a decent amount of time exploring each location. 

Pick this up if you like strong SRPGs, or if you enjoy looking at the different characters.  But this is a slower burn. Each map can take a long time, and there are points where players will have to get through multiple maps to make any progress in the game.   Still, each victory ends up feeling good, but this will take a large amount of time for each play session. 

Next Space Rebels. A more casual version of Kerbal Space Program. 

Sitting at Next Space Rebel’s Maker window, their version of CAD, inspiration strikes.  What if I build a rocket with the usual structure, but rather than one rocket I use two boosters, or three, or four… And within a minute I can quickly design a new rocket, build, and launch it.  From there I quickly come up with other little tricks.  The speed of the entire process is great.

Next Space Rebel only works in the two-dimensional plane but allows players to quickly design rockets with less complicated rules than Kerbal while pushing players to keep launching rockets as fast as possible.  The main mechanics of the game is to grow your Startube channel, the Youtube version in the game, and then talk to various creators and people that will challenge you to different tasks, and keep you growing your toolbox as you accomplish each goal. 

Pick this up if you enjoy the idea of the Kerbal Space Program, even if you struggle with it.  This is a scaled-down version of that game, but it also allows more interesting challenges at times.  I’ve actually played more of this game, the story goes into a lot of interesting topics and overall I’m really happy with the experience here.

Undungeon. A stylish action RPG that forgets the gameplay. 

I’ve struggled with Undungeon, I kept putting more time into Undungeon even though I wasn’t enjoying it.  Finally, after about six hours, I can’t avoid it.  Undungeon has a good look to the game, but the combat is so repetitive and enemies are mostly hp sponges that Undungeon struggles to find an identity. 

There’s a conversation system that reminds me of Disco Elysium, though with weaker writing, so it’s more of a whiff of that system.  So much of Undungeon just comes off as a weaker version of something players would want to play.  The result is a game that’s very bland but keeps players hooked because maybe around the next corner is something that will turn this game into something exciting.  After six hours, I just don’t think that change is coming. 

Pick this up if you like melee in action RPGs.  The combat is a bit repetitive, there is a solid difficulty to the enemies, but the gameplay itself just never delivers something that stands out.  There’s nothing awful, just a repetitive battle system that never really excites the player. 

Mortal Shell.  Another take on the Dark Souls franchise. 

Mortal Shell doesn’t hide its influences.  It’s a Dark Souls game trying to be exactly like Dark Souls, and it’s not going to apologize for that, nor should it.  It doesn’t have the depth or breadth of its predecessor, but it works hard to live up to it.   It does a great job while adding a new Harden technique that evolves the combat just enough to feel different.  There are large bosses and more.

I’m not a huge Dark Souls fan, but I still enjoy some of the games in this pseudo genre, though Mortal Shell hasn’t hooked me yet.  The Parry command feels difficult to pull off.  The Harden ability flows better and while I like the idea of having different shells to break up the fight, they amount to a class system with around four classes. 

Pick this up if you want a Dark Souls game, though I’d probably place this in the B Tier. It’s weaker and shorter, but if you want to play every Dark Souls game, this is one to check out.  However, if you’re not already a Dark Souls fan, this one probably won’t do much to change +

+-DEEEER Simulator: Your Average Everyday Deer Game.  A Goat simulator-type game… in 2021. 

Goat Simulator was a major hit in 2014, and soon enough everyone was imitating the style for a while.  Seven years have passed and the fad is gone, but DEEEER Simulator appears to be trying to revive it.  It has the same outlandish premise, same zany style, and same feeling.  It does a good job of trying to imitate the formula.

But it’s also short, like very short.  I beat the entire game with all the achievements in around two hours.  During that time, there were a few clever jokes, but not that many, most of the time was just doing repetitive actions or trying to beat the rather challenging boss fights.  Of course, the fact that it’s based on such an old idea in Goat Simulator makes it feel out of place. 

Pick this up if you always wanted more Goat Simulator, but this is a short experience.  It’s fine to play if you have Xbox Game Pass, but I don’t know if I’d recommend picking it up otherwise.   I don’t know, I never really got into this genre, but it feels like there could have been a few more solid jokes, rather than things that never really go anywhere in the game. 

Before We Leave. A Hexagon city builder focused on restoring civilization. 

Before We Leave is a game heavily focused on resource placement and city building.  Players need to develop cities on the island as they aim to keep growing and expanding.  After the first island, the game becomes a multi-island game, and eventually, you’re able to travel to other planets.  The entire game is focused on sharing resources through shipping lanes, so if island one has iron and island two has glass, a ship can transport those resources back and forth. 

One of the better features of Before We Leave is how often you leave islands in a good state.  There’s not a lot of micromanagement required.  If an island is producing a resource it will likely produce that resource almost forever so players don’t have to go back and tweak old areas unless they choose to. 

Pick this up if you like the sound of this.  It’s a very relaxed game with nothing playing against you or attacking you, but it’s still an interesting game, pushing the player onwards as they build up their resources and unlock new mysteries.   The full game isn’t the longest, and if you want a more traditional civilization builder, Humankind is still better, but Before We Leave is a fun experience for what it is. 

Microsoft Flight Simulator   The most incredible realistic flight simulator if you want that. 

Microsoft Flight Simulator tries to create a one-to-one experience for players.  Players are given the ability to fly a variety of planes to anywhere in the world, pulling realistic data from Bing’s map program, and realistic physics based on the game.  This isn’t a game where you fly your jet at record speed, but one where you show off your control over your planes and try to practice takeoffs, landings, and cruising.  

Microsoft Flight Simulator also has a variety of challenges if players need a goal or things to do.  This is also the Game of the Year edition which is why I’m covering it, but it feels great.  I am playing with a controller because my joystick is unfortunately damaged, but it’s not that awful an experience.  However, if you are into this, you’ll probably already have a joystick and there’s even VR for those who want to try that. 

Pick this up if you love flying realistic planes.  If you have a joystick or a yoke this is an easy recommendation, throw in VR for more realism.  However, it is exactly what it says on the tin, Flight SIMULATOR.  And you can see from the footage, it does it well.  If you want more action, I would heavily recommend Project Wingman to players, but this is still excellent for those who will forgo combat and instead want to master aeronautics.

On a personal note, I grew up with planes, my dad loved to fly his own planes and we would take almost weekly trips in his various planes, including a Cessna.  The approach I’ve been showing is one of his favorites into Danbury Airport, Airport Code of DXR.  The truth is I miss him and feel close to him when I play this.  There’s something special about playing this game and how well it simulates flying.  And yeah, I know that was a bad landing, but no assists and I still walked away from it so I think I got the Chuck Yeager seal of approval.

Evil Genius 2.  Running your own empire… You’re EVIL empire! 

Evil Genius 2 will look like Dungeon Keeper, the old dungeon keeper before it turned into that mobile game, and that’s intentional.  You run a crime organization with henchmen, spies, and more.  It’s like playing Dr. Evil from Austin Powers, and often as funny too.  There’s good humor, a decent story that will take you through the evolution of the base, and a lot of fun little widgets to build with. 

But ultimately this is pretty much like most city builders, there’s not a ton of challenge at least in those first four hours, but there are fun and interesting tasks to do.  Players will be attacked by spies, but they never seemed to be a real challenge to the player, and while I’m sure I could make a fortress that’s comically bad, as long as you don’t make obvious mistakes, it’s pretty easy to be overflowing with all resources.  

Pick this up if you like base building, or dungeon builders you’ll enjoy it.  The feel of being a villain feels great, and players will have fun with the motif.  I’m sure there’s some difficulty in the game, I just wasn’t struggling personally and the biggest penalty was having to wait for notoriety to clear which only took a few minutes. 

Mind Scanners.  Papers Please while tackling the mind. 

Papers Please was an amazing game, so a game similar to it sounds good.  Mind Scanners tries capture the same formula while trying to look at treating mental illness.  Yet the gameplay is more about minigames than anything deeper.  Players have to choose who to declare insane and treat, and who to declare sane, but most of the time it feels like a crapshoot, and oftentimes the only difference is you get more money on patients you treat. 

Mind Scanners lasts for about three to four hours for a first playthrough and for most of that time, it’s repetitive gameplay, with none of the story intertwined through, that story was why Papers Please worked, there’s also almost no changes to the gameplay or rules.  If only there was a spark of something interesting in the middle of the story rather than just bookends.

Pick this up if you like what you’re seeing.  The first hour of this game is interesting, it’s just the same as the second and third, and after playing through the game once I had no desire to return and try for a second ending, even if I could start in the middle. 

Lawn Mowing Simulator.  The opposite of watching grass grow.

The simulator genre has me interested.  I love seeing all these games because I’m always amazed at what new and unique ideas are going to be shown next.  Lawn mowing, you know what, sure.  And the biggest complaint I have is you start with riding mowers, instead of starting with a push mower, and then a walking mower or such.  But it’s a very chill relaxed game, you go mow lawns, you try not to damage the ground or wreck flowers. 

There are a lot of different locations to visit and a variety of challenges.  Much of the game outside of the mowing is business management, which reminds me of Construction Simulator 2015. Hire employees, task them on jobs and then they bring in money.  The actual mowing has a bit of a zen feeling to it as well, so it’s good in that respect. 

Pick this up if you like Simulator games or relaxing games.  Maybe it’s me but I enjoyed myself with this game, it’s not going to be a bang pow zoom action scene, but it also doesn’t have to.  At the end of the day, mowing a lawn can be enjoyable too. 

The Hunter: Call of the Wild.  The ultimate stealth game. 

It’s peaceful to walk around the woods, thinking about stuff and enjoying the wilderness, but then you hear an animal call and suddenly you think “I’m going to kill that.”  That’s the Hunter in a nutshell.  The core of the game is hunting animals across various locations and attempting to make amazing kills. 

The big thing is this isn’t an action game.  You can stake out a location and let the animals come to you, or you can stalk them down but ultimately it’s about trying to avoid animals sensing you and getting off a perfect shot.  Think, every sniper or stealth mission ever.  And for what it does, it’s well done, but the majority of the game is an open world, so you’re going to have to choose what to hunt, though there are quite a few choices. 

Pick this up if you like stealth or hunting.  I had a great time with this game, but it also is decently hard, animals will sense you at a good distance and a big piece of it is trying to find them before they find you.  Still, if you can avoid rushing it, there’s a lot of fun to be had here. 

That’s thirteen titles,  that’s what I have for this week, but there’s still 13 more to come next time, as well as the strongest games of the month.  I honestly don’t know which is going to be picked as I write this, but I will say there are a few on this list that’s probably going to be on it.  

We still have, Anvil, Stardew Valley, Generation Zero, Final Fantasy XIII-2, Rubber Bandits, Townscaper, Archvale, Warhammer 40K: Battlesector, Space Warlord Organ Trading Simulator, Serious Sam 4, One Piece Pirate Warriors 4, and Aliens Fireteam Elite, and… oh some random game called Halo Infinite, how could that be good.

As I was editing the video a list of games leaving the Game Passh service soon on December 31th 2021 was announced.  While I’m not sure of the status of the PES series, it appears Konami have moved to a free to play version on their newest release, called eFootball 2022.  The first three Yakuza games though are a huge blow. I’m a massive Yakuza fan, though I do recommend buying the games to support those devs.  If you want to try it before it leaves the service, time is running out and those are meaty games, but worth playing. 

Before I go, I do want to mention that I now have a Discord Server called the Roundtable. If you’re interested, there’s information in the descriptions and likely a pinned comment, it’s a relaxed place to hang out, talk games, talk movies, talk about anything you want.  It’s intended to be as much your server as it is mine.   

Last month was great with a ton of new viewers, so I appreciate that, keep sharing the videos with others, that make a lot of difference on Youtube, and it is what keeps this going, your support means so much to me.  

Of course, I have to say it, if you’re new here, consider subscribing and ri nging the bell if you want to be notified of my new videos.  If you can, like or dislike, however, you’re feeling, and comment, it all helps the channel grow as you all know. 

I’ll pop up two videos here.  The Humble Choice for December 2021, and last month’s Xbox Game Pass review… remember when it was called Xbox Game Pass, such a long time ago now. 

See you next time. 

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