22 Indie Games Are Launching On Xbox Game Pass

Microsoft pulled out all the stops during their E3 2019 Press Conference showcasing a total of 60 games.

Twenty-two of those games are indie titles, all of which will be available on Xbox Game Pass at launch.

A handful of the games really stood out to me. Which? Well, Blair Witch, Blazing Chrome, Riverbond, Star Renegades and AfterParty which I covered a while back here on Nitchigamer.

The full list can be found below:

ID@XBOX Games Shown at E3 2019

  • Dead Static Drive
  • Star Renegades
  • Afterparty
  • Way to the Woods
  • Creature in the Well
  • Killer Queen Black
  • Undermine
  • Pathologic 2
  • Lord of the Rings: Living Card Game
  • The Good Life
  • Blazing Chrome
  • Spiritfarer
  • TABS: Totally Accurate Battle Simulator
  • Secret Neighbor
  • Supermarket Shriek
  • Blair Witch
  • Unto the End
  • Night Call
  • Riverbond
  • Felix the Reaper
  • Ikenfell
  • Totem Teller

It is important to note that both Riverbond and Supermarket Shriek are available on Game Pass right now! The other titles are set to release later this year.

As a Game Pass subscriber, I will add more than a few of these to my library. I hope you do too!

Next up, of course, is Nintendo’s E3 Direct. We’re hoping to see some rather unique games on show there.

Desert Child game

Racing RPG Desert Child Due Out Q3

The heat is exhausting out here, the only time you get shade is when the sun sets and then, you still want to be under an umbrella. For me, well I just get on this hoverbike over here and ride, for pleasure, for pay; it makes no difference.

Racing RPG Desert Child Game

The hot air turns cool. Of course, it can get pretty hot then let me tell ya – but when I ride, it’s like, what’s the word, Zen, you know… Free. It’s then I forget about the earth and its bullsh… ha, sorry kids, its nonsense. That’s not the life for me; the life for me is up there, Mars; and I’ll do whatever it takes to get there. Me and my trusty Judy here, my hoverbike.

Desert Child game
Dine on a range of interplanetary cuisine with sweet buffs to help you win

Hell, I’ll race, hunt bounties and deliver drugs; whatever it takes… Oh, you don’t like that? Listen, kid, you may snarl away to yourself as you’re reading this on your phone, tablet, but out here you do what you can for a buck. Breaking the law? Nah man, it’s survival. It’s the difference between having a meal and rummaging in the bins for scraps.

To me, I see as I’m playing some RPG, life-sim, racing game; the more points I get, the better the ranking, the bigger the taking. Man, I sometimes see the scores with my very own eyes I get that absorbed in it. Pfft, don’t look at me like that, I’ve got rent to pay and noodles to eat. I might even customize I, Judy, here.

Desert Child game
Race, shoot, and get better! Designed for replayability, with secrets that keep you coming back

I know you don’t understand but look, kid, if you want to survive out here you should do the same, earn what you can and get your ass to Mars.

You’ll see me soon kid, by Q3 you’ll understand and if you see me, you’d better shoot first kid; like I said, just think you’re on your PS4, Switch, Xbox One or PC… It makes it easier.

Desert Child game
Hunt bounties, deliver drugs, throw races – do anything you can to earn cash

Desert Child, that’s who I am. And that’s who you’ll be”.

Cuphead Review: A Devilishly Good Time [Xbox One]

Cuphead takes a classic tale of moral propaganda and turns it into a romp through 1930s era animation that will both delight and challenge in equal turns. The tale follows the titular Cuphead and his unfortunate brother, Mugman, who are enjoying a good time at the Devil’s Casino until one misguided roll of the dice ends with a contract on their souls. But, the Devil tells the now damned duo they might be able to get out of their contracts if they can collect on other souls before their time is up. You can choose to play alone as Cuphead, or bring along a friend to aid you as Mugman during your treacherous journey.

A World Brimming with Bosses

The layout of worlds in Cuphead is fairly simple. You can select from a few run-and-gun levels, or pick form a plethora of battles with devious baddies whose soul contracts you now need to collect. Defeating bosses opens up new sections of each world and eventually allows you to move on to the next. Sounds simple enough, but this dance with the Devil is anything but slow and steady.

On a difficulty scale from Mega Man to Dark Souls, Cuphead hits much closer to the former. To succeed, practice and determination are key because death is practically guaranteed, but difficulty lands a little south of rage quitting. That isn’t to say boss battles don’t offer a very real challenge, but I rarely felt that I wasn’t able to make some progress with each run. It was this keen balance of punishment and progress that kept me aching to try again even after multiple failures. If you fail to complete a fight or stage, the game presents you with a meter showing how close you were to your goal. Depending on how you are doing, this can be both an encouragement or an indicator that it might be time to take a short break before another attempt.

Each boss has multiple attack stages, with an additional stage added if the game is played on Regular difficulty. However, the battles in Cuphead are dynamic enough that players cannot win simply through rote memorization. For example, in some cases, a boss can have varied versions of one attack stage. A particular battle involved a stage where the boss transformed into a zodiac character. I died before completing that stage and the next time around she transformed into a different member of the zodiac, catching me off guard with new attacks. Often, though, bosses follow a set of transformations that can be memorized, though getting through them is anything but simple even with some foreknowledge. Attack patterns can change within stages, and you often find yourself needing to battle against numerous peripheral attacks while at the same time avoiding main attacks from the baddie itself.

Boss battles are truly a sight to behold and a challenge even for a seasoned platform/run-and-gun aficionado. This is partly due to the intensity of the fights. During one encounter, I had to avoid a train while also dodging glowing horseshoe attacks from a clown riding on a donkey held up by a string. Sounds crazy, but aside from the spot-on 1930s visual aesthetic, Cuphead also solidly replicates the sheer bizarreness of the cartoons of that bygone era. I fought frogs that turned into a slot machine pitching coins at me, and a woman who became an airplane that became a terrifying version of the moon. And that is only a small, incomplete sampling. Somehow, it works. I never questioned the wacky and often unpredictable directions boss battles would go. The whole world is bright and bouncing, sometimes sharp and sinister, life and movement that I can only describe as what Jazz music must look like if animated.


An Arsenal of Abilities & Upgrades

During the course of your battles you will earn coins that allow you to purchase different types of shots that can be equipped during battle. You can even equip two different shots and toggle between them. Each comes with both a plus as well as a minor downside. For example, one shot gives a wider bullet spread and allows you to aim backward, but offers only average damage unless used while aiming behind you. Another allows greater damage but requires more precision. You can also purchase charms that can be equipped as add-on effects or life extenders. For example, early on I purchased a heart that gave me an additional hit point. It, however, also slightly lowered my attack power. The extra hit point saved me more than once, so the slightly lowered attack was worth the price.

The most important move in Cuphead’s arsenal, though, is the Parry. This allows you to jump off of pink-colored objects that appear throughout a level or boss fight. During battle, this allows for more dynamic movement, but it also charges up your Super Meter which, when full, allows you to discharge a number of powerful attacks.