Assault Android Cactus is a twin-stick shooter, a genre I've never had much luck with. But the game's humor and developer commentary carried me through the first boss battle, so I may just stick with it.

It's free this month for Xbox Live Gold subscribers, so I recommend you give it a look and - if you can - a play. If you get stuck, try the developer's commentary for some hints on how to proceed (I'd nearly figured it out but the commentary pushed me to lean into the winning strategy):

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I quite liked Shadow Complex on the Xbox 360 but didn't get too deep as I was sidetracked by my desire for completionism. This time, with Shadow Complex Remastered (now on Xbox Game Pass), I've vowed to focus on the story and backtrack very little.

Take a look at how far I got in the first half hour of the game (I'm now 2-3 hours in and still having a blast!):

For more like this, follow my Mixer channel and find archived streams in my YouTube channel.

I love underwater exploration games but never really get too far. Mostly, I think, because they tend to be Wii titles and I just don't play with my Wii very often.

Abzu, newly added to Xbox Game Pass, is a bit more abstract and fantasy-based than I expected but after a few minutes I started to find its rhythm and had some success in unlocking new areas and sealife:

For more like this, follow my Mixer channel and find archived streams in my YouTube channel.

I had no idea what Clustertruck was about. And this clearly shows in my performance for the first 20 minutes. That's the point when I realized that I had been beating levels based on sheer luck - you're supposed to jump from truck to truck as there is no steering of individual trucks you may encounter, including the one you start on.

I played an extra 30 minutes from that point so you can see the real game dynamic and a level each from the Halloween and Holiday packs:

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I'm sure you know how much I generally love Artifex Mundi hidden object games but I'm cool on the Eventide series. Eventide 3: Legacy of Legends doesn't break the cycle of crazier than usual story and lack of bonus episode, and even with a small launch discount on Xbox One, it may be a pass.

Judge for yourself:

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The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit is a free game that serves as a bridge to Life is Strange 2, due out in September. You can get it on Steam, Xbox One, or PS4.

The story revolves around 10-year-old Chris, who believes he can conquer his world with his imagination and desire to right wrongs as a superhero:

For more like this, follow my Mixer channel and find archived streams in my YouTube channel.

I love the open world driving of Forza Horizon but didn't get that deep into The Crew due to its over-the-top revenge story. Based on The Crew 2 Open Beta, the story is here not much better = kinda ridiculous actually, but no more so than most games of this type where you're tasked with starting at the bottom of the fame heap and working your way up to superstar.

However, the exploration is grand. After completing an Inception-like start where the world morphed from car to boat to airplane race, I chose the off-road track and then drove around the New Mexico countryside looking for coyotes and condors to photograph (hint: don't hunt at night and when you hear a beep, freeze the world for a shot and scour the area). I did find a nifty hidden bonus item right before ending my run but no coyotes until my second run:

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We picked up We Happy Few on Xbox Game Preview because it reminded us of BioShock though it's really more like State of Decay with a bit more story and a dark satirical edge.

Since we first tried it, the game has been greatly refined on the path to its August 10 launch and now has a lot more you can do. I spend the better part of an hour - that's right, 1st 30 Minutes is more of a guidepost and it's one I flew right by in my effort to capture the game's primary dynamics:

For more like this, follow my Mixer channel and find archived streams in my YouTube channel.

I enjoyed the zombie combat of the original State of Decay but I'm not a big fan of resource management. State of Decay 2 appears to double-down on both, and it remains to be seen how far down this road I will ultimately travel. Maybe if I can spend more time exploring the world than managing my base, I will persist in my quest for survival.

This video captures 45 minutes of prologue and tutorial but for some reason I could not find the exact spot to claim my first outpost - so 15 minutes near the end is me somewhat hilariously running around and searching every spot for the right one to progress (fortunately there's no time limit, and I do eventually secure it):

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Grim Legends 3: The Dark City is the latest in Artifex Mundi's hidden object series on consoles (also available on PC). This one reminded me of certain elements from the Marvel universe: Incarceri Stones are pretty close to Infinity Stones, and the land of Lichtenheim sounds a bit like a realm that Thor might watch over. The trial portion of the game is pretty short, only about 12-15 minutes of play - ending with a villain escaping inexplicably via a (plot)hole in the roof that he might easily have entered by.

No matter as story and voice acting have never been the strongest reason to play these games - it's the puzzles, and there are a variety of types to enjoy:

For more like this, follow my Mixer channel and find archived streams in my YouTube channel.

I really enjoy Destiny (both the original and the sequel) to a point. I'm not big on multiplayer or raids that take half a day or more to complete. But I enjoy a good story and shooting bad guys in a sci-fi setting. If other people happen to be around to help and share the experience, all the better.

I could really have used a little help beating the first mini-boss in Destiny 2's Warmind expansion, but in the end I prevailed:

For more like this, follow my Mixer channel and find archived streams in my YouTube channel.

I never got into the Just Cause series but Just Cause 3 is changing that. I tried the game during a free Xbox Live Gold weekend and purchased the whole shebang for $9 including all of the DLC (just $6 if you only want the base game).

I'm still getting the hang of the grapple mechanic and my hilariously poor use of the wingsuit is bound to entertain, as are the awesome explosions that bust out every few minutes:

For more like this, follow my Mixer channel and find archived streams in my YouTube channel.

Late Shift is an interactive movie that's been compared to Choose Your Own Adventure books (which I gobbled up as a kid). Honestly, some of the early choices don't seem to make much difference but later on I believe they change various outcomes.

This represents about half of the playthrough so there's still a lot to unlock (warning: adult language is prevalent):

For more like this, follow my Mixer channel and find archived streams in my YouTube channel.

Blackwood Crossing just looks like one of those games that I'd like. It apparently has a very emotional payoff (for me, Bastion still is the one to beat in that department) and I can confirm that the slow pace of walking in the game is a bit of a drag.

That said, it's interesting and very surreal, and I think I will enjoy finishing it:

For more like this, follow my Mixer channel and find archived streams in my YouTube channel.

Blinx: The Time Sweeper from the original Xbox (now backward compatible on Xbox One) may be one of the cutest cat games ever. It also has a difficult camera (typical of platformers of its generation) and the inability to remap or invert look, so I spend much of the time swinging the camera around the wrong way. Maybe this is by design - it would be so much easier if I had more control, and I'd be less likely to depend on the time control dynamics.

Either way, it's still adorable and generally more fun than frustrating:

For more like this, follow my Mixer channel and find archived streams in my YouTube channel.

The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind is one of my favorite RPGs of all time. Something about wandering around this open world adventure to the strains of Jeremy Soule's arguably best score ever is deeply embedded in my gaming memories - so much so that I recorded an entire podcast about it. Oblivion and Skyrim are great, but I'll always have a soft spot for this corner of Tamriel.

Now, thanks to the magic of backward compatibility, you can get a taste of the original Xbox game and its music all in one burst (also character creation, basic training, and the start of your first quest):

For more like this, follow my Mixer channel and find archived streams in my YouTube channel.

Among the Sleep is one of those games I've wanted to play for years but put off until I was in the right frame of mind, which is apparently the result of finishing The Girl on the Train (the book, not the film). The idea of playing as a two-year-old is both compelling (will it be like that part in BioShock 2, you know the one) or just survival horror with a child in jeopardy (no thanks).

Last night I finally took the plunge, and you can learn from some of my misguided efforts where the start of the story intends to take you and how to get there faster than I did:

For more like this, follow my Mixer channel and find archived streams in my YouTube channel.

I don't play on PlayStation 4 very often, so when I do it's generally for a very good reason. Horizon Zero Dawn is so good that I finally figured out how to stream from PS4 to YouTube. The game has a solid open world exploration dynamic that starts with an emphasis on stealth but can evolve into other combat styles depending on how you invest skill points. The story is pretty great too.

The first 30 minutes covers the main tutorial and back story leading up to the first opportunity to really free roam:

For more like this, follow my Mixer channel and find archived streams in my YouTube channel.

Another Artifex Mundi hidden object game, and you know I'm in. It actually took me a week to record a stream I could save, so I actually played the start of Enigmatis 3: The Shadow of Karkhala some 5 or 6 times.

So you know this stream is a solid tour. And, yes, I pretended to make a few extra mistakes not to fool anyone but to ensure the game didn't go by so fast you couldn't tell what was going on:

For more like this, follow my Mixer channel and find archived streams in my YouTube channel.

There's a new Artifex Mundi hidden object game coming out soon, but I thought Subject 13 might help scratch that puzzler itch until then. It appears to be The Room, with its puzzle boxes and hidden codes, blended with your typical puzzle adventure.

If it weren't for the clunky walking animation and awkward interface, it would be pretty good. The price is right, though: just $3 on Xbox One with Deals with Gold or $7 without Gold:

For more like this, follow my Mixer channel and find archived streams in my YouTube channel.




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