If you weren’t already aware, we’ve been attempting to highlight five of our favorite indie games each month on Xbox One via our Youtube Channel. I’ll be the first to admit, I’ve been chronically inconsistent with keeping up with this in a timely manner, but consider this a relaunch. We want to make it easier for you to find quality indie games on Xbox One. With some weeks having close to 15 different releases, it’s almost impossible for even the most ardent fan to keep track of every game that comes out. Thankfully, our team plays literally every single one of those games. We will make sure you don’t miss a hidden gem. For those of you who want details on every game that releases we have our Quick Tastes and reviews, but those of you who just want to know about the best of the best. Welcome back to Five Must Play Xbox One Games.
Last month has a wonderful variety to it. Overcooked 2 is a fantastic co-op experience and works great both as a local and online party game. Dead Cells intertwines a Metroidvania and a deep, fast-paced rogue-lite. Brawlout brings another Smash Bros-style platform brawler to Xbox. Strange Brigade takes on the weird in a wonderful and exciting shooter. Bad North is minimalistic and addicting with how it refines the RTS genre. All five of these games are some of the best of their respective genres, and they are easily worth your time and money.
Overcooked 2 might possibly be the most fun I’ve ever had throwing fish across a room. It’s definitely the most fun I’ve ever had washing dishes. If you haven’t checked out the first Overcooked, Overcooked 2 pushes the game even further with the addition of online co-op. The game has a few new modes, and features and overall is just a perfectly crafted recipe for fun. Overcooked 2 takes the job simulation genre and turns it into an arcade, party game experience. Players must work together to keep the kitchen running smoothly while all sorts of issues pop-up. Keeping orders straight and dishes washed can be difficult enough without the level taking place on moving rafts. It’s a genuinely zany and exciting time and perfect for families and friends willing to risk hating each other afterward.
Dead Cells took a few rounds to click for me. Explore, loot, kill, die, repeat; it felt very much like what I was used to with the rogue-lite genre. Suddenly though, I was discovering new weapons opening up new playstyles. What had once felt like a tedious treadmill turned into an elegant dance. My prisoner became a magic-wielding engineer throwing traps down as he dodged lunging enemies. He felt powerful. No longer constrained. The tower became mine as I explored and found new areas I’d never seen. Bosses fell at my feet. There was clearly some magic at work here. Every design choice feels deliberate and well executed. My prisoner has found a playground to explore, and it’s now me that’s captivated by this game.
Brawlout can be described without referencing Super Smash Brothers. I doubt it ever will be though, as it’s hard not to see the clear inspiration and love that came from that franchise when you look at Brawlout. Its fast-paced arcade fighting style is executed nicely and full of unique original characters, as well as cameos from a handful of modern indie classics (including Dead Cells!). The games six original fighters are incredibly unique offering their own playstyles. Each of these had multiple variants, some of which change things up drastically. I’m talking about you “totally not street shark” shark. While the games AI can be lacking at times, and it doesn’t bring the same polish or depth that Smash does, Brawlout is an incredibly fun multiplayer experience and a great option for a fighting game on Xbox One.
Strange Brigade from Rebellion Developments takes place in the 1930’s on a fictional quest to stop Seteki, the Witch Queen. With an over the top radio broadcast presentation from a cheeky narrator, Strange Brigade puts four heroes into chaotic action as they face supernatural enemies. Players will search for treasure and explore exotic locations as they kill hordes of undead. The game features a co-op campaign as well as a horde mode. With puzzles, traps and creatures behind every turn, Strange Brigade is sure to hold your attention in this Third Person Shooter.
Bad North takes minimalism and makes it both elegant and incredibly complex. Players defend an island with upgradeable armies from waves of Viking enemies attempting to take over. The controls are simple. Move your armies to the tile you want them to be on, and they will do the rest. The game has almost rogue-like qualities to it both in the randomization, difficulty and permadeath. Decisions matter. Sacrifices will need to be made. Can you defend your land?