She Sees Red is another interactive movie, though by far the worst one I've played yet. On the heels of my run of Five Dates, which has some solid acting, the contrast is remarkable. Don't get me wrong: I knew it would be bad after watching the trailer. And I bought this both on sale and with Rewards money, so I don't really feel cheated.

The voice dubbing alone signaled that it wouldn't be up to the usual standards. I just didn't expect it to be so bad: plot holes you can drive a truck through, and characterizations that are rampant stereotypes that also make no sense.

Is it so bad it's good? You decide:

 

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I've played a few interactive movie games, and they tend to be dorky yet amusing. As someone who has been married 30 years, I have no idea what dating is like today (much less during a pandemic) so figured Five Dates would be some escapist fun. The acting is actually surprising good, though occasionally a little overwrought - it still feels somewhat authentic.

Check out the intro and my first two dates:

 

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

I noticed that Deliver Us The Moon is leaving Xbox Game Pass soon, and I really wanted to try it. I was expecting a point-and-click adventure rather than the third-person interactive exploration game that it is. It starts out super intuitive - although I did sit a bit longer than necessary listening to a radio report before I realized I was free to move about the mission base.

After that it seemed pretty obvious where to go and what to do at any particular moment, until I got to the rocket launch sequence. This is timed and the instructions on what to do are angled and not zoomable, which made reading them tricky at times. After a few failed starts, I managed to get liftoff:

 

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

Maneater just looked like it would be a fun game. Attacking people as a shark? How is that NOT fun?!

Alas, it suffers the fate of most underwater games: difficult controls. It starts out fine with some tutorial basics. I then spent some time savaging the wrong beach. Once I found the correct feeding ground, things picked up fast. Boats and scuba dudes hunted and killed me several times while I tried to master the difficult attack and feeding controls - not a big deal when eating unarmed sunworshippers, but a different story when blocked in and under constant attack.

Maybe it's more fun to watch than to play - judge for yourself:

 

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Journey to the Savage Planet is one of those games that I meant to play while it was in Xbox Game Pass and let slip by. After reading some positive reviews, I went ahead and grabbed it during the Spring Sale.

This is definitely my kind of game - lots of exploring, scanning objects, and collecting materials (minus the annoying crafting mechanics that seem to be dominating today's games) - all with an off-beat sense of humor. Take a look:

 

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

I wasn't sure whether I was going to stream NieR: Automata, and then I watched the 3-minute teaser at the start of the game. Wow, that's some crazy @#$% there!

After that, I just had to share - come for the crazy intro, stay for the interesting third-person shooter/sword gameplay:

 

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From the studio that made one of my all-time favorite games, Alan Wake, comes Control. GrrlGotGame is addicted to this title (recently added to Xbox Game Pass), and she urged me to give it a spin.

So far, it's... very weird. It's a really odd game, and coming from Remedy Entertainment, that's saying something. It's like X-Files if David Lynch were directing while on peyote.

Seriously, weird stuff is afoot... just give it a look:

 

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

My 18-year-old insisted I try Undertale, recently added to Xbox Game Pass for console, telling me it has a great story amidst its retro graphics and gameplay style. He also said I should stream a bit more than my usual 30 minutes, as it takes that long to work through the prologue/tutorial. It is an odd and funny game though I'm not sure I'll have the dedication to complete it (much less play for the pacifist ending that he's going for).

I'm already on the wrong track - apparently I did a bad bad thing here:

 

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Call of the Sea, presently on Xbox Game Pass, looked like a puzzle/adventure, a genre I rather get into, so I fired it up. Not too much to recommend it based on the start of play - just finding some items and interpreting clues to open a gate. I have to admit the second major puzzle has me a little vexed but I expect with a bit more exploration I'll find what I need to get past it.

Visually it's decent and I'm hoping the story and puzzles pick up:

 

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

More Artifex Mundi today. Rounding out this week's game sale, I picked up the Xbox One bundle of three Queen's Quest games (for some reason only 2, 3, and 4 as the original Queen's Quest doesn't seem to exist on consoles) for under $10. Naturally, I started with Queen's Quest 2: Stories of Forgotten Past, and it's your typical fantasy puzzle game with alchemy but also flying and shrinking down to explore a hidden world. And hidden objects - lots of hunting for hidden objects, as you'd expect.

I don't plan to stream Queen's Quest 3 and 4 but this should give you some flavor of the series:

 

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Another day, another Artifex Mundi game. The Secret Order: Shadow Breach has a worse story but plays much better than yesterday's detective entry.

I got so carried away, I went 7 minutes over - and not to make up for lost time. I was genuinely lost in the game:

 

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I've been binging on Artifex Mundi hidden object games, so when a number of them went on sale this week on Xbox One, I nabbed them. First on my list is Ghost Files: Memory of a Crime, partly because I've gotten my wife hooked on the more crime investigation-themed games in the genre and also because I wanted to see if the mixed reviews on this one were warranted.

I can say, yes, while the story is intriguing so far the object detection is spotty in places. Towards the end of the clip I spent about 5 minutes looking for one object. I finally just started spamming every spot on the screen only to find I had selected the right place several times in my initial search and it just didn't register. Maybe it was an artifact of using the flashlight as an element of the search, as the rest of the game has been pretty good. Hoping it was a bug I won't encounter again:

 

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I went back and forth on whether to get Cyberpunk 2077 at launch but finally caved after seeing some decent Xbox One X footage that showed it playing reasonably well. I chose the Corpo track, which means I begin inside a large insidious and corrupt multinational company - not what I was expecting at all. After the first 30 minutes, I nearly cut the feed but then went another 30 doing mostly combat training.

Eventually, I'll get the Series X and at that point expect I'll start over on a different track (there are two others: Nomad and Street Kid).

So far I really like it and expect this to devour my free time for the next month or so:

 

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

You know I love Artifex Mundi hidden object games. But $1.50 for King's Heir: Rise to the Throne (with Xbox Live Gold or Ultimate)? I just had to grab it, and it may be the best $1.50 game I've played. I'm 30 minutes in and it's already miles better than the last one I posted a 1st 30 for (that Secret Order game).

It did take me awhile to figure out the swordplay dynamic but it's actuallly pretty fun when you get the hang of it. So far, I'd recommend it even at regular price - but watch and decide for yourself:

 

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

Kona is a first-person detective story set in an icy rural landscape. You'll have to find heat sources to stay mentally and physically fit while you hunt for clues.

I spend far too long looking for a first-aid kit in the prologue, but maybe this video will help you avoid the same mistake:

 

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

XIII was one of our favorite games back in the day. It was a slick cel-shaded shooter before Borderlands, and what it lacked in loot it made up for in style.

So far, this remake feels clunky and despite the enhanced graphics, lacks polish. It's fun but not nearly as fun as my memories of the original.

I went a little long because I spent far too much time looking for a hard-to-spot key early on. Kinda funny, actually. Take a look:

 

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We really loved Until Dawn, and The Dark Pictures series is more of the same choose-your-own-brutal-adventure type of story. I played enough of Man of Medan on Game Pass to know I wanted to collect them all, so I snapped up the two-pack bundle that included The Dark Pictures Anthology: Little Hope.

This has more of a classic horror tale vibe, which fits my mood for this day before All Hallow's Eve. I played the prologue, curator scene, and then a little of the main story:

 

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As someone who used to be more technically oriented - as a child I would take all of my toys apart and put them back together - I felt like my knowledge of how to build a PC was lacking. I have replaced graphics cards, added slot devices, boosted RAM, and and added internal drives and such a few times, but not for many years.

PC Building Simulator is a risk-free way for me to dip my toe back in that world. It's a bit clunky but fun when you get the hang of it. I start with the basic tutorial and then begin the game's story mode, where you have to build a repair business back up one job at a time. Be sure to stick around for the rap song about how important it is to select the right PC components:

 

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If you follow this site, you know I love a good Artifex Mundi hidden object adventure. The Secret Order: Return to the Buried Kingdom is NOT that game.

You don't expect great story or voice acting from these titles but this is sub-par even for the genre (and some, a rare few, have been quite good in this department). Apart from one new-ish puzzle type involving fractured pattern matching, the game is a rehash of puzzle types and story tropes you've seen before, done much better.

Don't get me wrong - I finished the game and it was OK. But I'd recommend pretty much any other Artifex Mundi game over this one:

 

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

While our whole family loves all of the Borderlands games, we do NOT love them all equally. Borderlands 3 has been far and away the most fun, engaging, satisfying, and - at times - absolutely rakkshit crazy.

Psycho Krieg and the Fantastic Fustercluck, the fourth and final entry in the Borderlands 3 DLC Season Pass, definitely lands in this last category. It blends in an unhealthy dose of Psychonauts as you descend into the psyche of a psycho:

 

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




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