This might come as a surprise to a lot of you, but I’ve actually been playing some video games lately that I’m pretty eager to talk about. I know it’s a novel concept that’s never been attempted before on this or any website, but I think I can land this metaphorical plane. Probably should avoid using plane metaphors considering a big plane-based video game did just release on consoles, and I did not play that because I value my hard drive space. Anyway, here are some of the games I’ve been tinkering around with this past week.
And if you’re interested in trying any of these games, all of them are available on Xbox Game Pass, which is how I gained access to them all. So that’s an option if you find yourself wanting to try any of the games on this list.
Omno isn’t a perfect game, but it is the exact kind of experience that I needed to refill the metaphorical “gaming tank”. Omno is a puzzle game where you play as this little person that’s making their way across a low-poly world, solving puzzles and riding big animals from level to level. You’ll need to complete a certain amount of puzzles in order to unlock the exit to the next level, but you can stick around and 100% each area if you’re so inclined. While all of the puzzles are fairly straightforward and share the same goal of, “make your way to, and collect this glowing orb,” there’s just enough variety to keep things from feeling stale. Additionally, you’ve got this magic staff that let’s you surf along the ground, float through the air, and more, that allow for the puzzles to be as varied as they are.
There’s a lot more to say about Omno, but as it stands, I had a very good time with it aside from some inconsistent control stuff that would show up whenever Omno wanted me to do something relatively quickly. Omno can get really frustrating when it asks you to operate within a time limit, because the controls aren’t as responsive as you’d like them to be. But aside from that, I really liked Omno and think it’s worth checking out if you’re looking for a chill way to kill 3 or 4 hours.
The Ascent seems really cool from the little bit of it that I’ve played of it thus far. It’s a cyberpunk-themed, twin-stick shooter with a ton of loot and RPG mechanics. It’s like if Diablo and HELLDIVERS decided to make a cyberpunk baby. The story seems like another one of those classic cyberpunk stories about a mega corporation that’s slowly bleeding its employees dry and perpetuating a world in which the only worth a person could have is intrinsically tied to their job status. You know, the kind of farfetched nonsense that could only exist in a video game…
I haven’t played enough of the game to really say anything more definitive about the experience, but it sure seems like something I’d like to play with my friends, which is allegedly a thing you should be able to do. However, the online (at the time of writing this) is hilariously broken. The Ascent is the kind of game I’ll probably only want to play with other people as opposed to solo, and you just can’t do that right now. From progression issues to straight up just not being able to start or connect to another players game, everything about the online experience of The Ascent is fucked. Still though, if they fix that, I could see me and my friends pouring hours into this game.
Last Stop is a narrative adventure game that’s set in present day London, telling three different stories that apparently all tie into each other. I’ve only played the first chapter of each of these stories, and so far they’ve each been fairly interesting. From infidelity to supernatural mystery, everything I’ve played of Last Stop has been pretty engaging and decently written. There isn’t much to the gameplay to at this point considering it’s basically following in the vein of something like The Walking Dead or Life is Strange, so expect a lot of conversation choices mixed with the occasional mini-game.
My only grievance thus far is just the lack of exploration or ambient storytelling. Usually in these types of games, you can snoop in notebooks or look at emails or something to get some vague backstory for characters, but there hasn’t really been much of any of that. As the name might imply, Last Stop feels pretty on rails in that regard, which isn’t a bad thing, I just wish I could be rewarded a bit for poking around the world. Maybe that stuff is in there later on, but from what I’ve seen there’s very little, if any at all. Regardless, I still intend on playing through it.
LETHAL LEAGUE BLAZE
The original Lethal League is one of my favorite multiplayer games of all time. From its hyper-stylized presentation to the chaotic and frenetic action, that first game was truly a delight from top to bottom. Lethal League Blaze is the sequel that released back in 2018 and only recently got shoved into the vast Game Pass library. Lethal League Blaze is still a very good game just like its predecessor, but I don’t know that I can really spot many differences between the entries, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s just a bit underwhelming.
For those who don’t know, Lethal League is the answer to the question, “what would it look like if Super Saiyans played racquetball?” Up to 4 players can jump in an arena where they’ll have to bat a ball around the screen, utilizing special abilities, power-ups and just their raw strength and timing to launch the ball at another players face over and over until they die. Words cannot accurately do justice to how crazy things can get in Lethal League, but I genuinely cannot recommend it enough to any group of friends.
I’ve loved Gang Beasts for years and was more than pleased when it finally made its way onto the Game Pass library. It meant that I could finally subject my friends to my very favorite physics-based fighting game, and hopefully get them to understand why I like it so much. Hurling punches, kicks and headbutts at each other while trying to chuck them off a roof or into an incinerator is just heaps of fun that can’t be matched by “traditional” fighting games. No, you can keep your dragon punches and spinning kicks, and I’ll be over here just trying to feed my good buddies to a kraken that somehow got put in an aquarium, or hurling them into the path of an oncoming train. That’s the kind of fun I’m looking for.
So that’s been my week in a nutshell. I honestly don’t think I would have tried this many games, let alone continue to play this many games had they not been on the Game Pass service. It’s really interesting to me that Game Pass has reignited this Blockbuster-like mentality, where I literally will just try anything that looks cool. I really don’t like sounding like I’m advertising this service, but I’ve really found tremendous value in it as an Xbox and PC owner. All that aside however, I’m glad that I’ve been able to find that “try more games” spark again, because it’s led to some really great experiences over the past week.