I’m Kinglink and it’s the middle of September, which means it’s time for another look at Game Pass and what’s come out over the last month.
This is the video where I review each new game on Game Pass. I’ve played each title for a night, a few for a couple, and even bought a couple to support the devs. Now I can tell you what I like, and what games you should check out.
But there are a lot of games listed here, normally we get a list every two weeks. This month Microsoft blessed us, or in my case cursed me. Quakecon 2022 happened and more legacy Bethesda games came out, and then I was wrapping up this review and the Tokyo Game Show happened, and sure enough, another 4 games were added to this list on Friday…. Way to ruin my weekend Microsoft. There is another surprise release, with the name of Death Stranding.
That being said, every game listed will be covered, except for Quake Champions as that’s just a perk for a sort of free-to-play game, and Despot’s Game which has been delayed to the end of this month, I’ll almost certainly talk about that next time.
After last month’s weak lineup we’ve been given a ton of new games across a lot of genres, there’s probably something for everyone here, so let’s get into the list.
Coffee Talk. I promise I will try not to make a Linda Richman reference.
Coffee Talk in its purest form is a visual novel. People come in, spill their guts, and the player watches it. The stories are good, with interesting characters. This is a fantasy world with vampires, werewolves, and orcs. There are a couple of different storylines and they play out over a few weeks, but this is a game you can play through in a few hours. There is also an alternate ending that’s worth going for but that won’t take long.
The downside though is some of the storylines are a little on the nose. A few are interesting, but one or two are just blatant about how they relate to the current climate in America. Also, the interactivity here is minimal. Players will be asked to make coffee by every guest, but it will only matter once or twice. I don’t think it changes much more than a few lines.
Pick this up if you want a solid story that can be a bit heavy-handed at times. I enjoyed my time, and appreciate that it’s the perfect length for a game. Any longer and it would be dragged out, but any shorter and they would have rushed through character development. Though as I think about one of the stories… Oh god, I’m getting a little Verklempt talk amongst yourself in the comments, I’ll give you a topic, Coffee talk is neither a video nor a game. Discuss…
I’m better, thanks for giving me a moment, what is this?
So as mentioned, during QuakeCon 2022, Microsoft put five titles on Game Pass for the PC, they’re from over seventeen years ago and they are the original games. Let’s just quickly run through them, I’m not going to give too much on each.
Wolfenstein 3d Is the great granddaddy of FPS genre. No Mouse look, no regeneration health, just killing Nazis, and that’s always a good thing.
The Elder Scrolls Adventures: Redguard has you on a great adventure in the Elder Scroll game, but, honestly, the controls here are horrible. However, if you love the lore and the world this is perfect.
An Elder Scrolls Legend: Battlespire is more of a dungeon crawler in the Elder Scrolls universe, and I found it quite difficult but interesting. However, both of these games were made when they put Morrowind on hold for a time, and Morrowind is kind of the first great Elder Scrolls, make of that what you will.
Return to Castle Wolfenstein is a better version of Wolfenstein 3d. Again, killing Nazis is cool, and this one is the better version of the two, but still quite dated.
Finally, we have Quake 4 which is yet another FPS, this time focused on the Quake universe. I enjoyed this one when it came out, but it’s been seventeen years. Honestly, out of all five games, this is probably the best and has a decent story, but it’s still heavily dated.
Ultimately though all five of these games are dated gameplay and they are new on Game Pass, so I wanted to quickly cover them, but unless you’re a huge retro fan they have minimal value. They aren’t remastered and they don’t have achievements, I’m just including them for completion’s sake. I’m sure the next game will be a big one.
Death Stranding. The true walking simulator. 5:22 or 6:23
Death Stranding is Hideo Kojima at his absolute Kojimest. This is a bizarre and strange story about the reconnecting of the United States after a great tragedy. This came out at the end of 2019, and let’s just say there’s something about this game that is relevant to the next couple of years, even a little today.
However, while the story is the most bat-shit insane experience you’ll probably see, the gameplay is unique. I wasn’t kidding when I called this a walking simulator, a majority of what the player will do is explore the world, walk between locations, deliver packages and cross the United States. There are bandits, unique creatures called BTs, and some action, but the walking and delivery are primary gameplay pieces, and they’re quite enjoyable.
Pick this up if you haven’t played this game and have a PC. This is something very unique, and if you like Kojima’s Metal Gear Solid stories, this story will entertain you. But unfortunately, there’s not an Xbox build of the game because Sony published the console versions. 505 Games published the PC version. I am looking forward to Kojima’s next title which should be on Game Pass day one.
Midnight Fight Express. An isometric Beat’em Up similar to a certain Dark Knight.
Midnight Fight Express’s combat system starts recognizable. It’s a modified version of the Batman Arkham City combat, Beat up enemies, Parry attacks, Dodge unblockable moves, and in that it works. Players will be able to steal weapons away and beat enemies to a pulp, and there’s a variety of different locations and enemy types.
The downside is while the combat can be deeper, it’s mostly parry and dodge focus. Levels are short, which lets you see different locales but never has too much depth to that location. While there’s a lot to the combat, after you get a decent way, it’s all the same with too much focus on reacting to enemies.
Pick this up if you like beat-’em-ups. Honestly, I almost wrote this game off, but I found out this was created by a single developer, though I also would say that doesn’t change the game and the game is compared to other 20-dollar titles. The biggest problem is the game is often very similar, but still, an incredible amount of effort along with a deep combat system that deserves praise
Opus: Echos of Starsong. A space-faring journey into the unknown.
Opus: Echos of Starsong can be hard to place a finger on. It looks like a side-scrolling action game, but the core of the game is the story and resource management. The core story here is solid, telling of a disgraced leader, who needs to regain his group’s fortune, a woman who has a prized skill, and a universe that has overgone multiple turmoils. It’s a compelling narrative.
On the other hand, the gameplay is a bit lacking at times. There are some randomized events, as well as dice rolls, but this isn’t a game intending to challenge players, but rather a story with enough interactivity that players won’t call it a walking simulator. Resource management is an interesting addition but at least in the early game, it was simple to balance all the desires.
Pick this up if you want to go on an interstellar adventure, in this Opus succeeds, but if you’re looking for anything challenging, this isn’t the game. It’s a visual novel that succeeds in not appearing to be a visual novel, and that’s a strong positive.
Tinykin. Finally, someone brings a Nintendo formula to the PC.
Tinykin is Pikmin. I’ve seen people call it everything from Chibi Robo to Mario but this is absolutely a Pikmin clone. I’m always amazed at how few PC games are based on Nintendo Franchises, but Tinykin does this right and it’s fantastic. You explore a large house and meet various creatures that can accomplish different goals.
At the same time, Tinykin is a bit short with only 6 levels. There are collectibles, and small challenges after the game, but it may only last about 10 hours. There’s not a lot of challenge either but it’s still quite fun. The gameplay is really solid, and the style is brilliant, every level is a different piece of the house, and the experience here is fantastic.
Pick this up if you like Pikmin, or if you just want an interesting game where you explore a house. This should get a lot of attention and it’s the perfect game to play with your kids or just by yourself. I enjoyed this game so much that I bought a copy on Steam because I want more games like this.
A small note, there does appear to be a problem with AMD graphics cards and this game. Not everyone is having it, but a friend of mine’s game is unplayable at this point, which is a shame because he also enjoyed the first level. Hopefully, they can fix that.
Commandos 3. A real-time tactics game set in World War 2.
Commandos 3 is a game from 2003, it’s a different type of game where you move multiple characters around and take out enemies. Gameplay has you choosing a character, setting up actions, and usually hoping the enemy doesn’t see you as your characters are squishy. There are a lot of different missions, such as a sniping mission or stealth, but ultimately the goal is to kill nazis.
This is a remaster, but the gameplay here just doesn’t feel that exciting, and most of the game seems to be focused on saving, trying something, and then loading when it fails. There’s good interesting combat, but even in the Real Time Tactics genre, there are better games like Desperados 3, which is better constructed and paced.
Pick this up if you are a fan of the original Commandos 3, and want a better-looking version, however not all fans of this game are happy. There are noticeable changes to the formula, and this has a lot of stuff that can be nitpicked. If you’re a fan of real-time tactic games, there are better choices.
Immortals Fenyx Rising. Breath of the Wild but with Greek Gods and Ubisoft.
Immortals Fenyx Rising takes the Breath of the Wild formula and applies it to the Greek Pantheon when you follow Fenyx, a totally normal human… Totally normal. Who gets the powers of the gods, explores the world, climbs up huge cliffs, and fights against an evil monster named Typhon. There are a lot of collectibles to find, and a massive world.
But this is still a Ubisoft game. The story is strong for the first four hours but that’s the prologue, after that it’s mostly exploring the world on your own with light stories involved. The world is massive but for the most part, you’re collecting the same loot hundreds of times. And of course, there’s a shop with a lot of requests for more of your money from cosmetics in a single-player game. That always pisses me off. Some Daily quests and Weeklies don’t feel necessary.
Pick this up if you like the Breath of the Wild or are curious about it. Similar to Tinykin, this is someone taking Nintendo’s formula and doing it on other platforms. I’ll even say something controversial. I don’t really like Breath of the Wild that much, and think this is better in many ways.
Grid Legends. A story based but casual racing game.
So we get a sports title, this time it’s racing, and Grid Legends does something that not maybe racing titles do, it puts a full story into the game about the player joining a weak racing team and making them into a major force. The story has live actors and is well done. There’s a villain for some reason, but it’s mostly about building up your team.
The downside is there’s no challenge in the racing. The story talks about you just beating other teams or races, and the objective is to beat a specific car, however, I took first place in every single race on the first attempt but one. The driving model here isn’t that realistic, but the challenge is almost non-existent, to the point players will likely do well even on the hardest difficulty.
Pick this up if you want an easy racing game. This is perfect for children or inexperienced gamers, but anyone who is somewhat accomplished will find no challenge here. I’m looking forward to Forza, and Horizon 5 was great. Though compared to some of the ultra-hard racing games like MotoGP22, I prefer this, but neither is my favorite.
Immortality. Finding Found Footage.
Immortality is a strange game, and I wouldn’t expect anything less from Sam Barlow who previously made Her Story, and Telling Lies. Immortality is based on three movies that were never released and players are tasked with finding clips. This time players will search out clips based on similar objects instead of words. The scenes are well acted, and intriguing and each of the three movies at the center of the game are interesting enough even without the narrative.
But this isn’t perfect. There are three phases, players will have to find all the clips, then players can watch them all, and finally, there’s a secret part, but is more watching. The problem is these moments don’t mesh as well as they should. I spent most of my first two hours just trying to unlock all the clips, and then sitting and watching them is a long process, there are 10 hours of footage. Though again, the acting, directing and filmography are exceptional.
Pick this up if you enjoy stories, in a lot of ways this is more of a movie, than a game, but that’s also true of the Her Story and Telling Lies. I still think Her Story is Sam Barlow’s best work, but this is compelling and I would put it over Telling Lies. I’ve seen about a third of the entire game, and I’ve stopped, but I also might go back and pick it up. The viewing though is exceptionally passive, and it’s hard to do it at the same time as unlocking new scenes. Still, this is a very unique title.
Also, I will give one caution, this is very adult, so definitely not for kids.
Exapunks. One of Zachtronics bests.
With Zachtronics closing, and just releasing their final title, the Solitaire Collection, Game Pass is getting my favorite game from Zachtronics. This is a coding game where players will program little drones to do jobs inside cyberspace, as well as the human body. It’s a strange idea, but as always it’s a chance to use assembly language to solve problems and optimize your code.
Which is also a negative. This is a pure programming game, where you will use a manual to learn the language, as well as about the world, and then write actual programs that execute. I’ve said before with TIS-100 and Shenzhen I/O that if someone completed this game authentically, I’d consider them a solid programmer, and it’s one of the reasons I love this series because I do it professionally. So the positive is that it’s an amazing programming game, and the negative is it’s a programming game.
Pick this up if… I just said it, If you like programming games. This is just an exceptionally well-done game, and optimizing programs or just solving puzzles is so good. The interface is amazing, and the concept is interesting. There’s a story like always, but as it’s been said this will be about writing code.
Disney Dreamlight Valley. Animal Crossing with Disney characters, but wait.
Disney Dreamlight Valley combines Animal Crossing or Stardew Valley gameplay with Disney Characters. You meet famous mascots, do tasks, and have to help out around town. Meeting Ursula or Remy is really exciting and while there’s limited voiced content, there’s something magical about exploring this world.
However, this is made by Gameloft which is a mobile game maker. This is also just Early Access, and when it launches it will be Free to Play. I think a lot of reviews are praising this game because the Free to play systems aren’t turned on, but I don’t know many Free to Play games, especially ones that look like this, that survive on fair monetization. Also, this has the annoyance that if you play it at night you only see the game at night and miss out on characters who go to bed early.
Pick this up if you love Disney, or you have kids but I have a concern that this game will become exceedingly greedy when it leaves early access, buying the game now is only for that early access as well as some of the premium currency. I just don’t trust this publisher, having known them for a long time and knowing people who worked there. One of which I think is a subscriber on my channel. Hey Erik.
DC League of Super-Pets The Adventures of Krypto and Ace. This reminds me of After Burner
League of Super-Pets has the player taking over the role of Krypto or Ace, Batman’s dog. They fly through levels in a corridor shooter taking down Lexbots, and tackling enemies. This is a tie-in with the movie of the same name. It’s a simple shooter with the idea of simply flying through the level and taking down enemies. There’s a scoring system, a couple of subgames, and leveling up different skills.
The downside is it’s made for kids. There’s no difficulty here. The levels all look the same with each area getting a small facelift, and the enemies aren’t that interesting. The game though feels oddly cheap in weird ways. There’s not even a main menu, you’re just thrown into the map, and most of the games almost feel like it plays itself. Nothing that awful, but it does feel like a developer dashed this off over a weekend. Maybe this was a rushed development, but if so it shows.
Pick this up if you have a kid and like League of Super-Pets, or you want achievements. You can easily get all achievements here in 3 hours if you can stomach this game. But overall this is made for kids, and that’s understandable, however, there are better games for children. I didn’t hate this though.
Train Sim World 3. Riding the rails.
Train Sim World 3 is exactly what it sounds like, there are a lot of trains and you simulate driving them. The simulation does feel very good and the experience of driving these massive machines is fun. There are a lot of tutorials for almost everything, something like 800 routes that you can take on, and different trains have different controls, features, and more.
On the other hand, this is only driving routes, there are a few collectibles but nothing that interesting to find, and the free roam lacks purpose. You’re mostly just going to be sitting in the front of the train, controlling the speed. There’s also DLC, which is expensive. You can get the starter packs for 40 bucks, but if you want a specific route be prepared to drop another 40 bucks on a new route, which is insane.
Pick this up if you are fascinated with Trains, I’m not but I got interested here, and the level of tutorials is just right for teaching players about the trains. That being said, I probably won’t be returning but I fully understand why people love this. I’m not going to fault a game called Train Sim World for being about Train Simulations.
Opus Magnum. Zachtronics perfect Starter.
Zachtronics is amazing, blah blah. Rewatch the Exapunks review to go over why Zachtronics is great. Opus Magnum is the most accessible Zachtronics game and the one I recommend new players start with. You play an alchemist who needs to transmute and transform elements as requested. You do this by placing waldos and objects and then programming those waldos to do a repetitive action.
This is a refinement of the formula for all Zachtronics games. It reminds me a lot of one of their first games, SpaceChem. While this isn’t a programming game in the same way as the others, this does remind me of using Scratch and is heavily logic based and focused on optimizing your solutions after coming up with them. It’s a challenging game but it’s always wickedly interesting as well.
Pick this up if you like Zachtronics games, there are enough of them on the service that you should check out. However, if you haven’t tried any yet, this is absolutely the game to start with. It’s welcoming, interesting, and easy to pick up. Then go play the rest, they’re all amazing.
Ashes of The Singularity: Escalation. Wow, people are still making RTS titles?
Ashes of The Singularity is from 2016, but this is still an impressive game, it’s an RTS that can have massive battles, huge unit counts, and more. The unit count is amazing and the combat here is pretty active to the point that it’s often hard to change direction in the middle of it. There’s a series of good size campaigns, and the gameplay is pretty solid from what I’ve seen, though I didn’t venture online.
The downside though is that the campaign’s difficulty is still off, even after they have balanced it a couple of times. The mission you’re seeing on the screen was decently hard to time right, and fans agree the campaign gets easier after that, I noticed it as well. The single player should get you ready for the multiplayer, but the player base online is dead, with under 100 players on steamcharts.
Pick this up if you like the RTS genre, this game has huge unit counts, massive battles, interesting units, and diverse factions. But this is probably going to be only for single players unless you have someone specific you want to play against.
Amazing Cultivation Simulator. A Chinese management game.
Amazing Cultivation Simulator is cut from the same cloth as Rimworld. The focus of the game is different, based on Chinese mythology, with a focus on Feng Shui and I can try to pass myself off as being knowledgeable here, but I’m not. Still, this works, you help train acolytes, who eventually can learn the inner secrets of your laws, and the whole game is based around building up your society while caring for your acolytes.
The downside is that it is a very deep game with entirely too much to learn, and while the tutorials try, you’ll have to read online for a lot of information, the in-game help page is almost worthless. Also, you can’t directly control units so you’ll only be able to issue orders, and it’s usually a little confusing to figure out why something isn’t happening.
Pick this up if you like Chinese Mythology or deep management games, there’s a ton here, and honestly, Amazing Cultivation Simulator is rather good, though I will say the depth probably is going to keep me from attempting to learn this title, this feels like something you devote your life to learning, kind of like the hidden arts at the core of the game.
You Suck at Parking. How do they know?
You Suck at Parking is an arcadey little game where you have to drive a car, park it in specific locations, and then do the same for each parking spot on a level. It’s a simple concept that rapidly gets more complicated, especially if you are aiming to earn Gold where you don’t make a mistake on each level. Single-player is good, but multiplayer is going to be where you’ll want to spend time.
However you can’t partner with friends yet, but that is coming at least. The biggest problem is for a budget title like this, why are there so many microtransactions already, there are a ton of customizations to buy, a battle pass, and even a season pass, it’s too much for any 20-dollar game. It’s a shame because the base game is good, but the microtransactions leave a bad taste in my mouth.
Pick this up if you like the idea of the game. The single-player game is pretty solid, but this is the problem. It has a good single-player, or multiplayer, but the rush to microtransactions here really taints the ideas, and the battle pass popping up after almost every match to show you what you would win if you bought it is gross. Say no to Battlepasses.
Fuga: Melodies of Steel. A tank tactics game.
Fuga: Melodies of Steel has players joining a group of children in a tank and fighting against an invading army, hoping to save their parents. The game focuses on advancing on a mostly linear path and trying to fight against each enemy group, which they battle using a trinity of weapons, each of a different color, and each with a different purpose. It’s a solid tactical game with interesting characters.
The downside is this game can be very long-winded with its story. The combat is tactical so far but I haven’t seen anything too challenging outside of the boss combat, and even there it’s mostly just blocking at the right time. There’s a moment I would talk about in the prologue but I don’t want to ruin it. Oh, and everyone’s a furry, though it works well here.
Pick this up if you like tactics games. Their anime-style story at the core here is good but you’ll be spending most of the time in the tank or trying to improve your gear or team so you can keep moving forward. This was a pretty enjoyable game.
Before I get to the last game I’m going to cover a couple more. During the TGS 2022 game show, Microsoft just announced a ton of games coming to the service include Fuga. I’ve played the rest of these previously and so I’m going to just give you quick looks at each of them due to limited time.
Ni no Kuni Wrath of the White Witch Remastered. An anime RPG with a pokemon flair. Ni no Kuni is a solid game with anime style, it has a typical Japanese RPG battle system with turn-based combat, but you can recruit familiars to assist you. Though I will say this game does go on a bit too long, The third act here felt completely unnecessary and took a game I enjoyed a lot and made it more tedious.
Danganronpa V3. Another Danganronpa, and just like the first two it has the same problem. There are two major issues I have with this title. First off, the girl who was promoted as the main character, and I’m playing as here… isn’t the main character. Let’s leave that there. The bigger and more spoilerific problem is the ending. This is an extremely divisive ending, but in my opinion, it almost ruins the entire series. But if you’ve already played the first two, play through this one and find out why yourself. However, it has the best additional modes of the entire series.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. This is the Ubisoft game that made me stop playing Ubisoft games. After Origins, I figured Odyssey would be very similar, and it is. But it’s also far weaker for a few reasons. So much of the game just feels like filler content, and the map is massive but boring, and in fact, that’s what a lot of Ubisoft does, but this is the one that made me realize having a very long average game wasn’t enough to waste my time on it. I gave this a 2/5 and I stick with that.
Sorry to shotgun a couple of games in there, but I wanted to cover everything over the past month and that was included. Let’s look at one more game.
Metal Hellsinger. Rocking Hell to Death.
Metal Hellsinger has the player as a fallen archangel known as Unknown, and on a path to make the not-quite-devil pay. You’ll do this by playing an FPS and shooting on the beat, as well as dodging the colorful denizens. There are a lot of great designs on display here, and a ton of challenges, as well as awesome music, which adds in more tracks including vocals the better you do, similar to SSX 3.
The downside is that I found myself enjoying the easier difficulty mode, not for the gameplay, but because that music only works when you’re able to properly stick with the beat. So challenge yourself or enjoy yourself, you can’t do both. Many of the arenas in the game go on too long, and the bosses appear to always be the same design which is a shame.
Pick this up if you enjoy rhythm games or BPM, you know the other rhythm FPS. This is a little more welcoming to the rhythmically challenged. Also, this isn’t a rogue-lite at all, it’s all designed as straight levels with static encounters, but like I said those do linger for too long.
And that’s the last game, I counted 27 titles covered this month which… honesty is probably entirely too many and makes this video too long. I’m going to be considering what I can do but I want to give everyone a chance to see everything on the service. We’ll see.
I’m going to avoid going deeper on this bundle for brevity’s sake but I will say I think there’s something for everyone this month. Every major genre was covered, there were shooters, RPGs, tactical games, rhythm games, and more, and I am amazed at the breadth of the games on display here.
But as always there are only five that can earn my coveted prize of being named the best of the month, and this month there were so many to choose from it was hard to pick. But here’s the list.
The fifth strongest of the month is Immortality. This is the most unique game on the list, and probably on the service. I’m torn on the fact that so much of it is watching the footage, but the footage here is so good that I don’t mind that much. The story is compelling and there are a lot of questions left open so I’m going to have to keep watching. I wish I could put this higher
The fourth strongest of the month is Exapunks and Opus Magnum. They’re both Zachtronics, and while I’ll show Exapunks here because that’s my favorite, Opus Magnum is equally solid and friendlier to new players. If you’ve never played a Zachtronics game this is yet another perfect time to try one out.
The third strongest of this month is Immortals Fenyx Rising. I dislike Ubisoft, but I can’t deny it when they do something right. Immortals Fenyx Rising is solid, and I love the design. It still has that large open-world feel but also the Greek Mythology involved here keeps me wanting to see what they’ve done with everything. Yet those dang Microtransactions almost kept it off this list or even the bottom.
The second strongest of this month is Death Stranding. An IP Sony owns is on Game Pass, what the hell? Technically 505 Games is the publisher on the PC, but it’s still close enough to blow my mind. I do feel bad console owners can’t play this, but I’m thrilled that even more people get to experience Kojima’s complete insanity, or how a walking simulator actually can be compelling.
And the Strongest title of the month. It’s Tinykin, I bought this one on Steam because I wanted to support the developers directly and that was after playing the entire game on Game Pass and loving every minute. This is incredible, and I love the design and the world here. It’s a fresh breath of air, and I hope many more people discover the magic of this game.
And that’s what I have for this month, like I said twenty-seven games, this has taken me forever, but I hope you enjoy it. I do want to call out something new that I’m doing. It’s an experiment. I’m trying to break these videos up into shorts, and post them, but I hate when people post shorts, so I’ve created a second channel, if you prefer short versions of this same content, I’ll put the link in the description, if instead, you prefer these long or in this case extremely long video, well you don’t have to make a change.
Of course, if you aren’t subscribed, you know I have recommended subscribing, and ringing that bell. I will say this has tested my resolve so if you have any thoughts on how I can handle 27 or even more games, let me know down in the comments, or which of these games were your favorite.
As I said, this video is already very long but the good news is there are some incredible games, Deathloop, and Slime Rancher 2, so I’ll be glad to cover those next month. I’ll pop up some old reviews here. If you want a more in-depth look at Danganronpa V3, Assassin’s Creed V3, or since we had two games from Zachtronics, we’ll show the Zachtronics tribute just one last time.
See you next time.