The ID@Xbox program has reached a pretty rad milestone today with their 500th game release. It would be pretty safe to say there have been some awesome games during that window, including a few recent “Must Buy” scores given to Thimbleweed Park, Death Squared, Yooka Laylee and The Sexy Brutale. The XBLA Fans decided to get a bit nostalgic and highlight a some of our personal favorite games. Don’t forget you can win some awesome ID@Xbox games here!
Christine Mitchell, Senior Staff Writer: Oxenfree hit the Xbox One store January 15, 2016, and for me is the one game I keep going back to. It’s a point and click style adventure game, about a group of friends who visit a deserted military island for an overnight beach party. Like all good sleepovers, the chat soon turns to the supernatural and the crew go off to explore the nearby caves, where it is rumored certain radio frequencies can cause supernatural events. Whilst there are puzzles to solve, the main draw is the story and conversation choices you can make throughout. I won’t give away any spoilers, but things get genuinely spooky with plenty of mystery and multiple endings for players to explore. The dialogue is smart and snappy and is sure to strike a chord with millennials. Imagine if Donnie Darko and Stranger Things hooked up with Mean Girls. It’s also got one of the best soundtracks on any game. In fact, I’m off to go and listen to it right now.
Nathan Hubler, Senior Staff Writer: Furi arrived on the Xbox One store December 1, 2016, and the game’s combat system has stuck in my memory since release. The story focuses on The Stranger after he is freed from prison by The Voice. He embarks on a journey to slay the jailer and leave the prison for good, but there are many difficult fights on the horizon if escape is to happen. Furi is an action game where the bulk of the gameplay occurs in multi-stage boss fights that demand a mastery over the responsive control system. Each bosses abilities vary wildly, and they require different strategies to take down. The boss fights are segmented by brief walks between locations where the story is delivered alongside a haunting composition. The story segments don’t offer much in terms of gameplay they are beautiful to look at, and the story is interesting throughout. Suffice to the Furi’s fluid combat system is still on my mind and the only way I can gain the satisfaction the game’s combat delivers is by starting yet another save file.
Derin Loe, Contributor: Inside released on Xbox One on June 29, 2016, and was one of my favorite games of 2016. Inside is a 2D puzzle platformer that has the player controlling a young boy who, without any explanation, makes his way to a large mysterious facility where numerous disturbing activities are occurring throughout the facility. The game has no dialogue at all and doesn’t bother trying to tell the player a story through words but instead through the setting and gameplay itself. Inside does a great job in immersing the player in its world and letting the player slowly unravel some of the secrets of the facility. The puzzle and platforming mechanics are spot on, and the satisfaction of solving a puzzle and continuing the boy’s journey is very satisfying. The game also contains one of the more surprising and memorable ending segments I’ve encountered in a game, which left me contemplating what I was actually doing throughout the game. There really isn’t anything I would change about Inside, it isn’t perfect, but it is no doubt one of the best games available on Xbox One.
Maxen, Contributor: Originally releasing on PC in February 2016, and hitting Xbox One through ID@Xbox in early May, Superhot has been one of my favourite games in recent time. It’s a first-person shooter with a significant twist: time only moves when you do as the player. Superhot takes everything you know about the FPS genre and forces you to rethink it, and that makes it a game worth including in a best-of ID@Xbox list. This isn’t run-and-gun shooting; this is stop-think-shoot… or maybe stop-think-throw, because throwing your shotgun as a projectile is a completely valid strategy. Bullets will shatter your glass-like enemies, and thrown objects stun them long enough for you to approach and finish them off. From those mechanics, the game builds out a fairly short story in which you play a build of a hyper-addictive game called Superhot; yes, in Superhot, you play as a kid who plays a game called Superhot. The game justifies it in its story. Also included are enough gameplay modifiers to keep you engaged long beyond the story ends, including endless waves or modes where suddenly time doesn’t stop just because you do.
Nathan Bowring, Senior Staff Writer: Rocket League released on Xbox One on February 17, 2016, and it may be my favorite multiplayer game of all time. The unconventional sports title pits two teams against each other in a game that follows the basic rules of football/soccer – you got to knock the ball into your opponent’s goal while preventing them from doing the same. The twist is that every player is a tricked out car, and you got to drive, jump and boost your way around the field. It’s a deceptively simple setup that few will truly master but is incredible fun at any skill level. Every five-minute match is a white-knuckle adrenaline rush to see which team will rack up the most points. Your thousandth match will be just as thrilling as your first, and you’ll always want to play one more. Thanks to steady support from the developers, it has only gotten better since launch. Content updates have added everything from new customization items to spectacular new game modes, and there’s still more to come. While I’ve played and loved many ID@Xbox releases, Rocket League is the only one that constantly has me coming back for more.