Everything sucks, let’s play videogames.
New Super Lucky’s Tale
I crave platforming games like one craves water in the desert, but generally don’t find them worth the price tag they release with at launch, because I am a poor Mint and need to consider the dollar-to-playtime ratio that comes with the games I wish to play. So it’s cool that New Super Lucky’s Tale is on Game Pass. I had never heard of this game up until it released, but it’s pretty damn good, hitting that perfect spot of “fun, but something I never would have considered if it weren’t free.” The platforming is tight, the character designs are cute, and there’s just enough variety to fire off the synapsys in my depressed, slowly decaying brain.
There’s a cop outfit for your character though, and it sucks. It makes me feel like a right-wing furry twitter account.
Good game otherwise. There is a simple joy to platformers that remind me why I liked these electronic devil toys in the first place, but they’re hard to do well. The only con besides the pig outfit I have is that Lucky’s moveset is quite limited compared to someone like, say, Mario, who can triple jump, backflip and long jump on a dime. That might change — I haven’t actually finished the game yet — but as of now it feels like the game’s movement could get stale if it overstays its welcome. But again: Free.99. Who cares?
Hey speaking of not caring: I don’t care about anything, right now! I don’t even care that Warframe isn’t technically a Game Pass game, because it’s free, and that’s close enough.
Not caring matters because it’s allowed me to finally enjoy the looter shooter with the hot alien mechs. In my three-to-four tries playing Warframe before, I cared way too much. I wanted to make sure I knew how to play the game, how mods worked, which Warframes mattered, what gear was worth collecting. It burned me out within an hour because I was trying to keep up with too much, and my brain would fry. I’m baby, and the only game that has space for optimization in my baby brain is Final Fantasy XIV, the only persistent game where I’ve hit the gear cap.
Now though, I boot up Warframe and let my cavemint brain shutdown. Not caring is a great strategy for Warframe because the movement and shooting feels good enough that you can just shut your brain off and slash through some monsters while you listen to Rising by Ambience for the 300th time in a row. Who cares if your build is optimal? Who cares if you’re not maximizing your crafting schedule. You just burned a bunch of aliens to death with your cool fire powers. Nothing matters, and that’s rad.
This is another one of those games I wouldn’t give a second thought towards if it wasn’t free on Game Pass, which is a good sign that Microsoft knows what it’s doing with its digital Blockbuster equivalent. Bleeding Edge is a lot of fun in the brief time I’ve spent with it. It’s another one of those objective-based, character-with-abilities, “we-promise-we’re-not-Overwatch” type of games, but by Ninja Theory, so it plays like a Character Action Game instead. It’s basically an Anarchy Reigns Redux, which kind of makes sense considering NT cut its teeth with the Devil May Cry reboot that nobody likes to talk about.
But like that game, this one plays surprisingly well. The character designs are cool and the melee-based combat is a nice change of pace if you’re tired of hero shooters. My favorite character to play was Miko: not only was she hot, she was also the most fun playing a Support class in these types of games. Her attacks generate health for her allies, making for a unique style of play where you provide more help for your teammates by being aggressive in battle. Battle Mercys rejoice. There’s a very small but dedicated player-base here too, so I was playing very close matches once I got the hang of things — no fear of getting steamrolled when everyone knows what they’re doing.
The main issue with Bleeding Edge seems to be content. There just isn’t much here, and the game is in a weird place, considering Ninja Theory’s other, more popular projects most definitely taking priority. I don’t think it’s going anywhere soon considering it’s got Microsoft dollars backing it, but I also don’t think anyone who doesn’t already absolutely love it is going to make it their “main” game. I can definitely see myself getting back into it one of these days, though.
The Surge 2
I downloaded this game because a friend enjoyed the original, and I’ve come to realize that I almost always love Dark Souls-like games that aren’t actually Dark Souls itself — hello Bloodborne, Nioh 2, and Code Vein. And wouldn’t you know it, the trend continues. The Surge 2 feels like what would happen if you made Dark Souls on the PS2 in 2004 and also it was sci-fi. It fits in that glorious space of AA games, unpolished but full of passion. You’ve seen everything here before: the Bonfires are med-bays, the estus flasks are nano-injectors, and the shortcuts back to safe areas are intact. The main differentiator is that you can use your cool mecha exoskeleton suit to cut off your enemy’s limbs so that you can get upgrades for your gear. The animations for this are satisfying enough that I can recommend the game on that basis alone (again, for free). I don’t really know what the plot is, and like Dark Souls, I don’t care. There’s some sort of virus involved, and given current events, I don’t feel like engaging with that further. I also don’t see myself finishing the game either. But hey, if the above sounds interesting, you might.
There you go. There’s some cool stuff on Game Pass, and its value increases the longer you go not buying games. The Yakuza games are getting added to it. Final Fantasy XV is on it. CrossCode is on it. Kingdom Hearts is on it, if that’s like, your thing. It’s the perfect service for when there’s a drought of interesting game releases, or you’re like me, living contract-to-contract but still wanting to enjoy some semblance of entertainment on a budget. Take a look through it: you might find something you enjoy.
That’s all for now. Find any Game Pass gems yourself? Let me know in the comments, or email me at [email protected]. And if you like my writing, please consider donating to my Patreon or Ko-Fi. Thank you.