Seven 2018 ID@Xbox Games You May Have Missed (And Should Go Play Now)

By Mark Delaney, 3 months ago
The game release calendar hardly has any quiet periods anymore. Past doldrums like January and the western hemisphere summer months used to provide for brief respites for gamers looking to catch up on their backlogs, but nowadays such a cooldown period hardly exists at all. If there does remain one such month, however, it must be July. Whereas June and August have lost their distinctions as quiet months over recent years, July still manages to maintain it — for now.

With a quiet few weeks ahead, now is a good time to look back on some great ID@Xbox games you may have missed over the past six months. Here are a few favorites of ours we recommend you play while you can.

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter

Review screens

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is an early narrative adventure game that outdoes some of its later counterparts in ambition. That ambition is sometimes misguided and ultimately problematic for the storytelling, but a moving final scene with a major reveal salvages the overall story. Mixing in lots of different game mechanics and puzzles is an interesting pre-Edith Finch look at the genre. It still looks gorgeous now four years on from its original release, and it delivers a strong sense of time and place. It's worth checking out if you tend to like "walking sims."

Download from Microsoft Store

Gorogoa

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What Gorogoa lacks in length, it makes up for in originality. Explaining the ingenuity found in the puzzles is no simple task, as they must really be experienced first-hand to be completely understood. From the charming illustrations to the unique puzzle design, Gorogoa is truly a top-notch representation of quality over quantity.

Download from Microsoft Store

The Station

10/01/18 - Screens

How much you enjoy The Station will come down to how soon you see its ending coming, as it's likely you will see it earlier than intended by the developer. In that case, you may still take away a memorable experience from the game, if you can forgive its derivative tale and enjoy it as a narrative adventure mystery with a bit to say about our role in the universe. It doesn't show or say anything that other science fiction tales haven't shown or said already, but if you're relatively new to the genre or don't mind rehashing previous themes, The Station is worth its short stay. Plus, it's a 20-60 minute achievement completion.

Download from Microsoft Store

Darkest Dungeon

Darkest Dungeon

To say Darkest Dungeon is a challenging and satisfying RPG doesn't seem like nearly enough praise. The sheer amount of customization — 15+ different classes, seven abilities per character to choose from, equippable trinkets, and much more besides — makes for a highly involved, appetizingly deep adventure that can be approached with many different play styles. The psychological and stress aspects add something unique too. All the while, the roar of the excellent narrator commentates the success and failures of the player as they progress through intricately hand-drawn environments and battles with sound design tailored to perfection.

Download from Microsoft Store

Tesla vs Lovecraft

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Twin-stick shooters can often either lose their charm quickly or provide some addictive gameplay, so it's fortunate that Tesla vs Lovecraft fits into the latter thanks to its fast-paced and gratifying design. The story is an odd one, but it doesn't detract from the monster killing, whether you're on your own or with a friend. However long you choose to play Tesla vs Lovecraft, genre fans will no doubt have a blast with revisionist history's dynamic duo.

Download from Microsoft Store

Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice

Hellblade

Hellblade is forever cemented as something special. Senua is fierce and imperfect in a way that will have you rooting for her like few characters ever garner. Her journey is pretty much unceasingly filthy, violent, tragic and horrific, yet it's not a story just of suffering, but also one of perseverance. Senua is a remarkable character who instills all of her energies into the player in such a way that will never be forgotten. Perhaps above all others on this list, it's a must-play.

Download from Microsoft Store


Earthlock

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Chances are you already own Earthlock and may not even know it. It was originally released a few years ago under the name Earthlock: Festival of Magic. The studio behind the game, Snowcastle Games, was underwhelmed by their own output so they reworked a whole bunch of what left them dissatisfied and re-released it this year. Anyone who already owned the turn-based RPG was eligible to get the updated version for free — and that was likely most of us as the original was a Games with Gold title at launch. If you appreciate turn-based JRPG mechanics built with some western sensibilities, don't miss it.

Download from Microsoft Store



ID@Xbox releases come out fast and furious every week, so it's likely even we have missed some gems. You tell us: what should we catch up with while we have a few quiet weeks on the new release calendar?
Mark Delaney
Written by Mark Delaney
Mark is a Boston native now living in Portland, Oregon. He's the Editorial Manager on TA, loves story-first games, and is one of three voices on the TA Playlist Podcast. Outside of games he likes biking, sci-fi, the NFL, and spending time with his family. He almost never writes in the third person.