For the week of February 12 through 18

Click here to see the games I played last week

Welcome back to another installment of my quest to play a different game for the first time. This week’s features one new release this week, plus another 2024 game. I’ve gone back to trying out another Free-to-play mobile title and this week’s free game from the Epic Game Store also makes an appearance.

The main character from The Cub, standing infront of a Progres sign

Feb 12 – The Cub

I wrote about The Cub back in the summer of 2022, and it was finally released in 2024. As I want to support the Serbian gaming development space, I picked this up and I’m enjoying the experience thus far. It’s been a while since I played the demo, but this still reminds me of games like Limbo.

It also doesn’t feel like a very long game. I managed to reach chapter four and I’ve collected most of the extra stuff that they placed around each stage. This makes me think that I’m at least halfway through. The only “downside” is that Radio Nostalgia From Mars isn’t as focal as it was in Golf Club Wasteland. I loved the music and storytelling, unfortunately, this time around, it’s used less often. Plot-wise, I understand the reason, but hopefully, there are more opportunities to hear the original music and stories.

A cutscene from We Happy Few

Feb 13 – We Happy Few

I remember the hype around We Happy Few when it was first announced/teased many years ago. This was well after the Bioshock series had made its impact and people like myself were clamoring for more games like that. Plots that use a dystopian/alternate plot can be a lot of fun if they do it correctly. But for We Happy Few, it was a game that had a lot riding on it but just couldn’t manage to meet the lofty expectation it set for itself.

For my first time playing the game, I was torn. The story in the first few areas doesn’t go too deep into the lore. You’re playing Arthur as he tries to escape this Island town, but not enough has been revealed. We get a few flashbacks about his youth and his brother, and that’s about it.

The combat isn’t that enjoyable. I’m mostly just melee fighting my way through sections when I can’t do it by sneaking up and incapacitating. The crafting is extremely limited and while there is a leveling system to improve your character, it seems like takes a lot of time to get the points to upgrade.

This is a 20-hour game when I checked How Long to Beat. This doesn’t feel like it should be that long a game. The first 90 minutes haven’t done enough to make me want to keep playing.

Red from Banishers taken from an early-game cutscene

Feb 14 – Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden

When I first heard about Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden, the concept sounded intriguing. Playing as someone who is working alongside the ghost of their partner as they try to solve a mystery wasn’t something you see too often in video games. I tried to stay away from as much preview hype as possible to avoid spoilers. I even contacted the PR Firm representing the game to get an early copy. Alas, this blog doesn’t get too much traffic, so I had to wait until release day to buy the game.

I only played just over two hours this week. At first, I thought this was going to be focused on action, but the start is very slow. The focus is more on the storytelling. You learn of the main mystery that plagues the town of New Eden. You get an understanding of our main characters and of our main villain (at least who I believe to be the main villain). But, we also see how your partner becomes a ghost and the ramifications it has.

This feels like it’s going to be a very long game. The main plot does appear to have many layers to it. But, when you add the side content I can see this being a 20-30 hour game. While I have every intention of finishing this in 2024, I expect to take it slow and gradually chip away at it.

Feb 15 – Avenging Spirit

Back in 2022 during my handheld obsession, I was looking for games to buy that I could play on my modified Game Boy Advance. Limited Run Games were taking pre-orders for a game called, Avenging Spirit. I didn’t know anything about it but it sounded interesting and I was craving physical games. Now in 2024, I finally got around to playing it and I found myself enjoying this game. 

Its concept is pretty easy to grasp. You’re a ghost who can take over the body of other characters. As those characters, you’re on the hunt for the daughter of a kidnapped scientist. So you move from body to body as you search for keys and fight foes. Every character you possess has different abilities. Some are great at jumping, while others might have more health. This is important when facing off against each stage’s boss character.

The levels aren’t very long, but getting used to the characters does take a bit of time. Also, the Ghost’s spirit strength slowly deteriorates as you progress, so moving at a smart pace is key to victory. I didn’t finish the game but I was pretty close. Like a lot of Game Boy games from the early 90s, this isn’t very long. If I’m ever craving a quick game to play while traveling, this will fit the bill nicely.

A solved puzzle from an early section of A Little to the Left

Feb 16 – A Little to the Left

As someone who enjoys puzzle games, when I saw A Little to the Left coming to Game Pass, I thought it was a new release. In actuality, this came out a few years ago on PC, but only now is available on console. This is a very “laid-back” puzzle game. The puzzles here typically require you to sort objects into a certain order.

You might have a series of post-it notes that you need to arrange to make a design. You might have to sort different pieces of paper to fit perfectly in a set area. Even when you’re struggling, there is a nifty hint option that allows you to erase a piece of paper to reveal the answer. You can clean off just a bit to get you in the right direction. Or, you can clean it up completely to see the answer. 

I went through the first 20 or so puzzles and there appear to be around 100 or so in all. This is the kind of game that probably doesn’t take too long to finish. However, you might want to purposely take your time to enjoy each puzzle and prolong your experience. 

A few screenshots from Bloondline in a collage

Feb 17 – Bloodline: Last Royal Vampire

I’ve been dabbling with different Free-To-Play mobile games, and this week I came across Bloodline: Last Royal Vampire through its advertisement on the Crunchyroll games page. I don’t have a premium subscription, so I didn’t have access to their higher-tiered games. There are a few of those that I’d like to try, but I had to settle for one of their F2P releases.

I don’t play a lot of these Auto-battle RPGs. Bloodline is very similar to those other mobile games where you collect characters to use in battle to progress through a single-player campaign. It also includes a variety of other modes that unlock as you play the game and level up through that story mode.

There isn’t too much to do here, especially if you use the game’s auto-battle feature. I was enjoying the leveling up aspect, but a lot of the improvements require spending real money and I’m not too keen on doing that. I managed to reach the third chapter of the story, but there are still other modes to unlock. It’s very unlikely I’ll stick around with this, but it was fun to try.

A pre-race cutscene from Dakar Desert Rally showing cars from the front of the gird

Feb 18 – Dakar Desert Rally

Over the weekend, I was watching the latest special released by Amazon’s The Grand Tour. In this one, the three hosts attempt to emulate the last leg of the famous Dakar rally, as they take their three modified cars to Dakar, Senegal from Mauritania. After watching the special, I realized that Dakar Desert Rally was this week’s free game through the Epic Game Store and that the actual Dakar Rally series had just wrapped up its 2024 season.

Not following that series, they recently moved the races to Saudi Arabia but still race in different locales and conditions in some grueling scenarios. I can’t tell you how much the game emulates the actual races. As a racing game, it’s fine but I think it will mostly appeal to the more hardcore of rally fans.

I ended up racing in about seven different stages. These range from 2-10 minutes in length. The key here is that, unlike your traditional racing games, the tracks don’t follow a standard course. You have markers but how you get to them is mostly up to you. There might be tracks on the ground that indicate the direction you might need to go. Oftentimes, there are shortcuts and alternative ways if you so choose. You can skip a marker, but then you’ll incur a time penalty.

Unfortunately, I think the lack of direction could frustrate those not familiar with the courses. If you’re looking for something fun and easy to pick up, this isn’t it. However, if someone is willing to take the time to grasp the mechanics and enjoys taking risks, then there is plenty of that here.

That wraps up another week of me playing a new game every day. Another mix of new and old here and some different genres as well. For the next couple of weeks, I’ll probably be focusing on some older titles (those released within the last five or so years), but there are a few new releases I’m looking forward to including. Those will mostly be indie games, but I’m also looking at what’s coming to Game Pass and seeing what I can feature here.

As always, thanks for reading and I’ll see you next week!