- Spoiler: show
3rd November - Riverbond (Xbox One)(100%)
This games subtitle should be "my first ..."
It's a good looking voxel graphics isometric dungeon crawler. There is a story somewhere in the background but largely 1 - 4 players get dropped into an area and have to complete a task (interact with x object, kill all enemies, kill BIG enemy). There are 8 levels each split into a few area's and each with a visual theme (river, swamp, castle, etc) and there are chests that contain additional weapons, or coins, or skins.
And that's about it. Played this one with my daughters over the weekend and they got into it as their first game of this sort. It has a soft competitive element in that players are ranked on the points for a session but it's the combined total that gets remembered; it has a very basic bullet hell element particularly towards the later levels (all levels are accessible from the beginning) and I could see a first time speed runner trying this to work on progress from a quick run to a no damage, no death, starting weapons only challenge.
But I can't see myself coming back to this by choice now I've got all the way through it. Even from the achievements, I was only missing one conversation and one secret area after the first play-through, both of which I picked up. As a Game Pass game for a group who aren't deep into dungeon crawlers it works very well. Other than that, it almost seems to be a proof of concept for Minecraft Dungeons
4th November - Thomas Was Alone (Xbox One)
This is actually the second time I've completed this (first time was on PS3) but with it leaving Game Pass in a couple of weeks, I decided to go back to it. It shouldn't be possible to care about a tetragon but the rectangles who are the characters of this story are given life in the droll narration by Danny Wallace. putting a spark of humour and even pathos in what is essentially a platformer, helped by the little written snippets at the top of each level that hint towards the bigger narrative that the player doesn't really have any part in. Whether I had forgotten or whether Mike Bithell added them in later, but two whole levels of platforms appeared after the end that I remembered - I'm calling this a completion in that I've seen the credits roll but there are now levels to be completed.
I'm sorry to say that it hasn't aged as well as I would like - a couple of the sound effects are very jarring against the generally thematic soundtrack and I did not find the jump button to be as responsive as a platformer requires (though this game is much more forgiving of mistakes) - the restart is so quick that a number of deaths were me not realising that I had grazed a spike and the respawning character being moved into a hazard near a check point. And it also felt like one or two jumps should have been doable but weren't, or weren't always. So there is now, for me, a little bit of fighting the game which detracts from the atmosphere
Still a game of note but a little patina now against the game I remember from a few years back. And from what I saw of the extra levels, it looks like one of the characters has an ability that is probably going to be a little frustrating to get the hang of.