Play news Xbox Game Pass: 10 games to shake your brain in a surprising way
Are you an Xbox Game Pass subscriber and like all kinds of puzzles or exploration games? But hard to navigate with the large catalog of Microsoft subscriptions that everyone knows now. That is why today we offer you a selection of games that will test your brain in an original way. And since the interest here is to discover new games, we will focus on the independent scene.
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The titles below are available in the Xbox Game Pass Console and Xbox Game Pass PC.
- 10 indie games with original puzzles
- Chinatown Detective Agency
- Donut County
- Genesis Black
- Tells lies
- The pedestrian
10 indie games with original puzzles
Chinatown Detective Agency
We are in 2032. The world is in bad shape. The global economy has collapsed, creating unprecedented misery that is translating into more and more violence in the streets. It is in this infamous world that Amira Dharma, the rising star of INTERPOL, decides to change careers to become a detective. To meet the requests of her various clients, she will have to use a great spirit and gather the right clues. If some of course will be presented to you in the game, you will have to explore the real world to find others. Chinatown Detective Agency offers you a pursuit of information that mixes the virtual and the real. Between innovative and old-fashioned games, the title is a tribute to the Carmen Sandiego Games, a timeless classic in the investigative genre. Nevertheless in the light of its mixed ratings (68 on Metacritic), he does not seem to be able to match his model.
Do you know what’s left of Edith Finch and The Unfinished Swan? A priori, these two narrative experiences have little to do with our subject, apart from a man: Ben Esposito. The designer of these two games tried a completely different genre in 2018 with one puzzles crazy and colorful: Donut County. In the latter you play as BK, a raccoon able to control a hole that swallows everything around it. If the gameplay in general is about taking all the surrounding items, there are still some crazy little puzzles to solve. By disconnecting certain objects or spitting others out, you can get to other properties, to engulf the whole world in your endless hole. If Donut County is a short title, it is no less refreshing and had harvested for it the handsome score of 75 at Metacritic.
In Genesis Noir you are nobody. It really is the funny name of your main character, a watch dealer who is stuck in the heart of a very special love triangle. The stakes for this seemingly banal romance are high: prevent the Big Bang and the destruction of the universe. To do this, Nobody must go on an enigmatic adventure in black and white, between storytelling and reflection. Far from the classics puzzles, Genesis Noir is more like an interactive graphic novel. Nevertheless, it hides behind its long exploration phases à la walking simulator tactile puzzles that, if far from difficult, allow themselves to play with the codes of the genre. Nevertheless, it was not at this point that it stood out during our test, after which we gave it small 13 out of 20.
In 2017, a somewhat unpretentious independent game came to dynamize the routine of puzzles : Gorogoa. Published by Annapurna Interactive, one of the kings of indie games, this is a title with a rather special concept where you have to move thumbnails to get a new vision of the world and solve the puzzles you encounter. Gorogoa is unique in its kind and does not content itself with presenting handmade and particularly well-made tiles. It is also an ingenious game that is both intuitive and surprising. For all these reasons, we gave him a nice 17 out of 20, recognizes the work performed. A work that is so much the more remarkable that it is a single man: Jason Roberts. After six years of reflection, the developer imagined the game and designed all of its visual elements. As for the music, we find a composer quite well known in the industry who especially worked on The Unfinished Swan: Joel Corelitz. The two have worked together to provide for us a dreamlike experience apart from which we can only recommend.
In 2020, Cyan surprised us by releasing a classic in the genre of puzzles : Myst. Since the original game dates back to 1993, there is a high probability that some of you missed it. And yet Myst is a reference in the case, so much so that he was entitled to a handsome 19 in our columns. As a reminder, the player in Myst via a book is immersed in an unknown world, which he must learn to tame and understand. By combining exploration and exploration, Myst created the basis for many games after him by appreciating research and note-taking to move forward. Only problem, the game was aging pretty badly. But since The 2020 version offers us an overhaul of the basic game with new graphics, redesigned interactions and a reworked sound design, this barrier is now obsolete. The title is even compatible with VR to enhance the feeling of immersion. If there is one title you should try, it is this one.
Pikuniku is one of those titles that have a name that completely matches them. The game released by Devolver is at least as crazy and sweet as its title. Very colorful, Pikuniku might as well have come out of the mind of an inventive little child since it is blocked. Full of humor, the title clearly stands out for its absurd nature and its sharp artistic direction. But that does not prevent it from also being a good gameman. With a skilled combination of platform and puzzle, with a good sip Metroidvania, the game had impressed many players. The difficulty was certainly not quite there, but did Pikuniku anyway -one puzzles interesting and accessible for the whole family. That’s why we gave him decent 14 out of 20.
Announced at E3 2019, Superliminal was able to intrigue with its somewhat special concept. The Pillow Castle Games game actually offered us perspective-based puzzles. If the structure (a room, a puzzle) was quite classic, then it was its gameplay that stood out from the others puzzles. Unfortunately, its short duration and its sometimes risky technique had pushed us to give it up small 13 out of 20. It did not stop us from welcoming you to a refreshing and well-thought-out concept, combined with a well-crafted atmosphere. Superliminal is therefore one of those games filled with great ideas that still struggle to provide a compelling experience. But playing with the codes of the genre (and perspective) gave him a place in this small selection.
We pass on a genre that has long accustomed us to studies of all kinds: FMV games. For a long time falling into oblivion, sometimes even considered old-fashioned, they gradually begin to regain their noble letters. And this is mainly due to a man who knew how to reinvent the genre: Sam Barlow. In 2015, this English developer created a surprise by revealing Here Story, an innovative FMV where you have to use interrogation sequences to find clues and, one leads to the other, solves the matter presented to us. Unfortunately, her story is not in Game Pass. But this is the case with another Sam Barlow game: Telling Lies. Still in FMV, this title invites us to dive into the videos on a hard drive to understand what made the NSA eavesdrop on the four protagonists we discover there, and your link to them. With looped views and keywords to spot, Telling Lies has enough to warm your brain for a few hours.
We return to a little more classic puzzles with The Pedestrian. Nevertheless, the latter does not lack originality as you embody a small character moving from panel to panel. To continue on your way you will have to arrange the various panels in the right way, otherwise you will be blocked. Ingenious and easy to learn, The Pedestrian is not stingy with challenges and risks creating knots in your brain. Add to that particularly successful pictures and you get a nice little independent game to discover. So that the title had been achieved a score of 83 at Metacritic. If we had not tested the game when it was released, you can still find a Gaming Live made by Carnbee and Indee.
It’s not impossible that you’ve heard of this last game. And yet, if we disregard its mastered artistic direction, Unpacking was not predestined to become an event. And despite its minimalist concept and its niche gameplay aspect, the title of Witch Beam and Humble Games has simply exploded, especially from a critical standpoint. It must be said that the title deserves the reception it received. Because behind its “storage simulator” aspect, Unpacking hides a real-life lesson. Through successive moves, this little independent game invites us to follow our protagonist’s life changes, from studies to painful separations. If the gameplay consists of finding the right place for each object (hence the aspect puzzles), Unpacking does not stop there and offers us a surprisingly moving and pleasantly relaxing experience. This is a must if you like games of this genre. He had also collected a nice 84 on Metacritic.
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