Xbox Live recommendations for June 30th 2017

Microsoft is doing a Summer sale (starting on the 30th and ending on the 10th of July), and there are some pretty good ones in there. People have probably already decided whether they want the big sellers like Gears of War and Dark Souls III, so my list focuses primarily on games that I’m guessing most people haven’t checked out, or may not even have heard of. Below is a brief blurb for each, and a link to a review (where possible) that should help with decisions.


 

Abzu – Brad used words like ‘vapid’ and ‘empty’ to describe this game, but for me Abzu was a peaceful weekend playthrough. it’s a palette cleanser from all the big-explosion, twitch-shooters out there. It’s worth it for the ability to explore a luscious underwater environment.

Cluster Truck – Frustrating and exhilarating in equal measures. Cluster Truck is a bit like Trials HD if the finely crafted levels were replaced by pure chaos in a 3D environment populated by speeding trucks.

Deadlight: Director’s Cut – I agree with Daniel that this was rough and clumsy, but still a solid game. It’s a moody ’80s-set platformer about one man’s struggle to escape zombie hordes. The Director’s cut fixes a lot of the original’s bugs.

Enter the Gungeon –  A procedurally generated twin-stick shooter with roguelike elements. It comes with cross platform support so that it can be played on both the Xbox One and PC with save transfers. It’s a great alternative to The Binding of Isaac and even better in two-player.

Get Even – No review for this yet. Get Even is clunky and weird, but from what I’ve seen so far, it looks like this could be adding up to be another Spec Ops: The Line. Intriguing premise… just maybe not a perfect execution.

Late Shift – A good FMV game set at the breakneck speed of a Guy Ritchie film. I strongly recommend this to anyone who likes quirky niche products and earnest (if a little wonky) acting.

Narcosis – Corey’s review made me intrigued this horror game set underwater, but when they started mentioning spider-Crabs I had to tap out, it would creep me out too much. But for those with a sterner stomach, this looks to be good.

Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition – A gorgeous 2D platformer in the same vein as Metroid — a great, understated story, there will be few dry eyes but the end.

Overcooked! – I can’t believe there’s no review on GameCritics yet. Overcooked! is frantic party game that’s entirely dependent on good communication between the players. Easily one of my favorite games last year, my partner and I blitzed through the campaign and for every brilliantly coordinated instance of cooking, there was a flubbed attempt at getting dishes done that could have undone a relationship. A must have.

OxenfreeOxenfree is another walker-and-talker. A group of teens end up on a spooky island and must figure out how to get off it again. Limited in terms of gameplay, but worth it for the fantastic writing.

Sniper Elite 4 – As far as games built around sniping go (of which there are very few) Sniper Elite 4 is the best in that genre. The newest iteration has embraced its sandbox fully, making it the best in the series for both the vets and newcomers alike.

Superhot – Corey is right about this title, it’s a phenomenal first-person shoote, in which time only moves when the character actually moves. It’s a mesmerizing ballet of virtual violence that gets even better once the endless mode is unlocked.

The Evil Within – It’s seen as a missed opportunity by many, but the mood and theme of The Evil Within resonated with me. This one is a survival horror title in the same vein as the greats of the genre (Resident Evil, Silent Hill) where every bullet counts and every trap matters. Great monster designs and an unnerving setting help carry some of its limp sections, and it also has two fantastic pieces of DLC that explore side stories with entirely different mechanics from the main game.

The Final Station – Another foreboding, sad game. The premise is that the player is driving a train towards an unknown future as the world succumbs to an alien/zombie invasion. It’s not a roguelike title and that was initially confusing, but once I got the hang of the game, it was hugely absorbing. It’ll be finished in a couple of sittings but will remain with the player long after it’s turned off.

This War of Mine: The Little Ones – Of the last games on this list, and probably the grimmest. This is a story-based game about surviving a city under military siege. There’s an unrelenting sense of claustrophobia and depression, with the visuals and sound selling it alongside the mechanics. It’s not for everyone, but it’s so very different from other games that I strongly recommend it.

Call of Juarez: Gunslinger – The Call of Juarez series has bumbled along and somehow made enough money to keep going. After the abysmal Call of Juarez: The Cartel, Gunslinger righted the franchise and provided a solid shooting experience alongside a memorable storyline with an unreliable narrator. As a short game packed with great moments, I strongly recommend it.

 

 

AJ Small

AJ Small

AJ Small is a games industry veteran with over 12 years of experience. He started his gaming on the BBC Microcomputer and switched to being a devout SEGA fan from then on. He currently walks the earth in search of the tastiest/seediest drinking holes as part of his attempt to tell every single person on the planet that Speedball 2 and The Chaos Engine are the greatest games ever made.

He can be found on twitter, where he welcomes screenshots of Dreamcast games and talk about Mindjack, just don’t mention that one time he was in Canada.
AJ Small

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