I’m Kinglink and it’s the middle of May so it’s time for the Game Pass May 2022 Review.
It’s a smaller month, with only 11 titles released on PC, but there are some amazing games here.
I’ve played each game for a night, and at least one of these I played to completion with others waiting for their turn. I’ll tell you about the games, and who should check them out.
Let’s get started with…
Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion. A hilarious journey.
I tend to dislike humorous games because they often try too hard to be funny and end up being a weak game and an unfunny experience, but Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion had me laughing hard the entire time. This is a funny, surreal experience but also a solid game with hints of classic top-down Legend of Zelda gameplay.
This is a shorter title, I finished it in about two hours, but there are a few bonuses that I could chase down. The story works and makes the entire experience humorous so that you’ll want to see what happens next, or who you’re going to meet. It’s the perfect length for the idea and story as well as not overstaying its welcome.
Pick this up if you like humor or just want to see where the story goes. There are a ton of great scenes and I’ll eventually replay this because I had a great time when I covered it for Humble Choice. This is a perfect palette cleanser as well, so if you want a game you can easily finish in a single sitting, check this one out.
7 Days to Die. Almost ten years of Early Access.
This is my second time covering 7 Days to Die. I played it for Humble Monthly in November 2018 and after 6 hours I was disappointed with it. Not much has changed. This is still a survival game where you build a base, fight against large hordes of zombies, and while the combat does feel better, I still question why I would want to play this particular survival game.
To be fair, I’m not a huge fan of survival and I prefer something closer to Minecraft for base building. There are also so many similar titles with similar ideas, but I just don’t see why I’d choose this over almost any other. The biggest issue for me was the corpse running after dying, but I question why I even care about the random assortment of junk I was collecting. There is a strong multiplayer community around it, but again I’m not sure exactly what’s bringing people back.
Pick this up if you like survival games and need a new one. I might not be the best person to judge this game, I’m not a fan of this genre, and I think zombies are played out, but I also think I’d rather go playback for Back 4Blood, Ark: Survival Evolved, or anything else if I was asked to. This just isn’t my thing.
Research and Destroy. Third Person XCOM.
Research and Destroy is interesting, players will control three scientists who are fighting against a supernatural horde filled with Zombies, Ghosts, and Werewolves. Each of the scientists can move and shoot for 8 seconds per turn and will need to use this to position themselves, shoot enemies and activate objectives. It’s an interesting mechanic where a combination of skill and planning is used to execute solid game plans.
Outside of the combat, players will also have to play a strategy board game to build up their scientific outposts, find new targets, and defend from the invading horde. It all works well together, though at the core this is a more complicated tactical shooter with the player’s skill having a decent effect on the experience.
Pick this up if you like the look of this. It’s clever with some of the short introductions per monsters but for the most part is a turn-based third-person shooter, which is a fresh concept that I haven’t seen too often. It’s almost like a single-player Lemnis Gate without the time loop mechanic.
Bugsnax. An amazing journey capturing delicious Snax; that’s Snax with an X.
Bugsnax has such a great style. You have these characters called Grumpuses, who run around on a new island and eat various Bugsnax. As characters eat these strange creatures they actually change their bodies into different forms depending on what they eat, or rather what you feed them. It’s a clever and interesting take on the dress-up game.
The main part of the Bugsnax is satisfying different characters’ desires, which mostly involve finding and trapping new Bugsnax. There’s a variety of tools and a decent amount of challenges when capturing new creatures. For one creature you might have to fling your trap at them in mid-air. For another, you might have to stun them to capture them. There are around a hundred creatures and it’s rather enjoyable trying to collect them all.
Pick this up if you like the cute visuals or the interesting challenge. This is a game you can play with your kids, but also a game that I enjoyed as an adult. There are quite a few good challenges and interesting puzzles as well as a large vibrant world that is worth exploring. I ended up playing through this entire game, and you know what? You should too.
Unsouled. An average attempt at the dark soul’s format.
Unsouled looks good at times, not always but at least the art style stands out here. Players will fight their way across large levels and beat up enemies using a combo system that talks about letting players fluidly move from one attack type to the next if they can time the attacks correctly. It’s a good promise, and adds an interesting mechanic into the game, but becomes so overly complicated and unnecessary it’s not as fun to utilize.
The enemies In Unsouled are ok, it’s the bosses that look the best, however, most of them are rather easy to beat down with some simple dodges thrown in. At times the graphics can shine, especially in the boss fights, but the story is weak. The real problem is that the game feels so inconsistent, and it’s almost like each level was created at a different point in time, which makes sense with the game being an Early Access title, but it produces an inconsistent experience.
Pick this up if you want a visually stunning but relatively easy game. This is trying to reach a certain style and layer in a bit of the souls-like genre but never gets close to the greatness of that genre. It still has a lot of interesting graphics to look at.
Loot River. Sliding Block puzzles, Souls-Like and Rogue-Lite, that’s a lot in one game.
Loot River has a couple of interesting features. The player moves around on large block platforms that they can control with the right thumbstick while they run around with the left stick and fight. It’s a good concept but in practice, the game just doesn’t have the fluidity it needs to pull off the idea.
A major issue with Loot River is the combat will feel clunky and slow, but that’s likely on purpose. It feels like the developer took a lot of inspiration from the souls-like genre, and wanted a combat system that required purposeful attacks. Sometimes this works, but other times this just comes off as a mess. It’s the top-down view that breaks how this system is supposed to work and I almost wonder if it had a third-person view over the shoulder, this might feel better.
The real problem with Loot River is it’s a triumvirate of different ideas. If it wasn’t a sliding block puzzle, the design could focus more on the combat and arenas. If it wasn’t a souls-like game, the movement would be more fluid for the rogue-lite and sliding block puzzles. If it wasn’t a rogue-lite, the story and better-designed levels would feel better. Instead, you have randomly designed non-challenging sliding-block level design, A slow clunky souls-like combat on those sliding blocks, and a rogue-lite which means everything is randomized.
Pick this up if you haven’t had enough rouge-Lites or souls likes. If you can enjoy those two by themselves this can still be fun as there really isn’t much puzzle in the sliding blocks and it’s a novel movement system, but Rogue-Lite and Souls-Like still do feel like they’re at odds with each other. Oh well.
Trek To Yomi. A great Samurai game that reminds me of the style of Akira Kurosawa.
Trek To Yomi has amazing graphics at times, this can feel like it almost came out of an old black and white samurai movie. The characters are extremely well detailed in cutscenes and the camera angles are perfect at times. The use of lighting, foliage, and pacing are exceptional, it’s clear where the inspiration came from in this game, but whether it’s the Seven Samurai, Hidden Fortress, or Yojimbo, Trek to Yomi has some of Akira Kurosawa’s DNA in its art design.
The combat is acceptable as well. Players will fight many enemies but almost every showdown with a normal enemy takes mere seconds, with the groups of enemies bringing the real challenge. Eventually, enemies will gain armor but even so, the parry system is forgiving and players will be able to mow down enemies if they remember to act with purpose. The feeling is more that you are a samurai master rather than an all-powerful deity but overall this feels excellent. If you’re looking for a challenge, Trek to Yomi lacks that.
Pick this up if you like old Samurai movies, or just want a beautiful game. There’s so much style in this title that I forgive the weaker enemy selection because it’s the levels and locations that I pushed through this title for. I have returned to play more because I wanted to see how the entire experience turned out.
Citizen Sleeper. Resource management in spacceeeeee…
Citizen Sleeper starts with the player waking up on a distant space station. His body is failing him, he’s starving and needs money and rest. From there, players must spend their days trying to satisfy all their needs and wants. Each day involves the player getting action dice, and applying those dice to different jobs to accomplish goals.
Citizen Sleeper reminds me of Norco and Disco Elysium as it’s a completely story-driven game. Players will meet many different characters, and through them will get different opportunities and challenges. The writing is good and kept me engaged, and the first hour of this game is intense as the player struggles to meet the right people to earn the right resources. However after that opening hour, players start getting entirely too many resources and easily will have run of the space station by the end. Even when a big bad danger arrives, it feels like Citizen Sleeper is afraid to give players a bad ending, which is appreciated after four hours invested and an aggressive autosave, but also removes any desire to replay the game and try to get a different or better story.
Pick this up if you like a strong narrative. This is very much about the story, and while there will be a decent amount of time while the player has to chase resources, and the dice component is rather important, the majority of the experience is meeting people and learning about their struggles.
Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair Anniversary Edition. Danganronpa Island Adventure.
If you haven’t played the original Danganronpa, go back and play it, it’s already on Game Pass, while Danganronpa 2 is better, it’s also a direct sequel and will heavily rely on players having experienced the first game, and they should. Danganronpa is an excellent visual novel that is both a combination of a dating game and Ace Attorney with a far darker story. This is a game where high school kids will end up murdering each other and players will have to solve what happens, but that’s the first game, this is just a light-hearted island adventure.
Of course, the same dark tones as the first game return here, but like I said everything here is better. The Island motif is really good, the characters are just as interesting as in the first game and similar to the rest of the series, the ending is the weakest part, but that doesn’t stop the trials and story from being better told. I will also say the trial’s mini-games are far better, which was something I disliked in the first game.
Pick this up if you like the first Danganronpa, again I have to stress if you haven’t played that one, you need to start with that title. If you think the first one could have been better, well definitely check this one out, I think this is the best game in the series, and it’s another masterpiece from Spike Chunsoft.
This War of Mine: Final Cut. Depression.
American History X is an excellent movie, but it’s also a deeply disturbing look at Neo-Nazis back when they weren’t referenced in the news every five minutes. It’s a film I enjoyed watching but I don’t think I’d ever return to it because the subject matter is too much. This War of Mine feels like it reaches those same levels early on in the game. This is a game that’s both hard to play and yet still very interesting.
Players are given a randomized group from a selection of twelve characters each with unique characteristics, backstories, and features, and players will have to prepare their house during the day, and scavenge at night to stay alive in their war-torn country. The group will be tempted to consider potentially stealing from others to keep themselves alive. Resources are never plentiful here, and players will constantly have to micromanage how to survive, be fed, and stay alert while enemies try to rob players as well as scavenge new loot.
I think the biggest point for me was one of my characters was forced to kill two people while scavenging, and in doing so she fell into a deep depression that lasted for multiple days, and I couldn’t fault her. So much of This War of Mine affected me in the same way, I was drained after playing this. This isn’t a joyful experience but yet it still felt like a meaningful one, just one I kind of want to put on the shelf for a while, potentially forever.
Pick this up if you want to make hard life choices, and feel the impact of them. I’ve said to a few people that it’s not the armies or leadership of countries who suffer in war, it’s the civilians, both displaced and those who endure the conflict. This War of Mine is a game that shows that clearly. But due to how it’s depicted it’s a lot to take in.
Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising. Trying to get that pronunciation right, but this is a fantastic game.
Eiyuden Chronicles is a side-scrolling RPG, where players will fight different enemies, collect their loot and then return to town to distribute it to different quests and use it for crafting. It’s a great game, and the controls here feel very smooth. The writing is engaging, and while the game starts off making it seem like the entire game is trying to earn a mining license before long the story leads the players to mines and gives them free rein to explore, take on different tasks, and even partner with different characters.
A majority of tasks in Eiyuden Chronicle also help build up the town and unlock different businesses to interact with, so as the player progresses, they’re also building up the surrounding locations. It’s a great way to allow players to feel a part of the progression of the game. The combat reminds me a bit of the Tales Series, with more of a focus on a standard beat ’em up or side-scrolling platformer, but there are strong RPG elements in here as well.
Pick this up if you like side-scrolling platformers, that’s really what this game is at its core. This was kickstarted, but the main developers’ previous games Suikoden 1 and 2 are excellent, and Eiyuden feels like it’s a smaller experience but will live up to the legacy. I definitely will return to play more of this.
While researching this, while Eiyuden was a Kickstarter, this is just the companion piece, so this is almost a prequel to the final game, but it feels excellent on its own and worth playing now.
And that’s what I have for this month. This has been a shorter month, with only eleven titles to talk about, but there have been some amazing games that I’m glad to be talking about.
But it’s also a bit weaker, and the fact that this is the fifth month of 2022, and the games have just slowed down is quite impressive. Usually, the fall is the big release window, but we’ve had a steady stream of titles, so Game Pass slowing down now is fine because it’ll give players a chance to go back and check out older releases, or just play more of the titles from this month.
I’m just going to get into the top five of what I will recommend this month.
The fifth strongest game this month is Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion, I found this game extremely hilarious the first time I played it and it’s still funny here, but it’s this low on the list because this is a bite-sized experience, it’s two hours, but a great two hours.
The fourth strongest game this month is Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair. Another great story by Spike Chunsoft, but it is held back by requiring the first game to be played beforehand, and the dark story will turn off some people. It’s still very well told, and there were a lot of reveals that surprised me.
The third strongest game this month is Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising. This is a game I’m looking forward to playing more of, it’s a great concept, great execution, and I love the flow of the game. Admittedly the animations aren’t always perfect, but with the understanding that this came from Kickstarter, and wasn’t even the main project people funded, it’s a huge surprise.
The second strongest game is Bugsnax. I love the character designs here, that’s why it’s on the thumbnail, and the gotta catch them all experience when trying to get every creature in the game is strong. This is the title I finished this month because I just wanted to see how it all turned out and I was very pleased.
And the strongest of the month is Trek To Yomi. It’s the graphics. This game looks so good, and maybe it’s just because I’m a fan of classic black and white Samurai movies but this is the game that spoke to me. It’s one of the few times I will ignore the gameplay and point at the visual style as the reason to experience the game.
And that’s what I have for this month. This video has been delayed for a day or two depending on when I finally can get it out, I had some issues come up. However that allows me to take a look at what’s coming up for the rest of the month and boy does it look good. If this is a shorter video, the next two weeks already look packed. I already knew about Sniper Elite 5 and the Pac-Man Museum + and was looking forward to them. However, Her Story is one of my favorite titles, Jurassic World Evolution 2 is a major get, and… well maybe I’m going to finally have to learn Cricket. Pfft. Yeah right.
Also I can tell you what’s leaving, which I have two lists. On the app, I see The Wild At Heart which I covered a couple months ago on Humble Choice, The Catch, Enter the Gungeon which is really good, and Remnant from the Ashes. However Xbox Game Wire has this list, Farming Simulator 19, which is being replaced, Resident Evil 7, which is excellent, Spellforce 3, Super hot Mind Control Delete, which is absolutely must play, and Yes Your Grace.
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