Grim Legends 3: The Dark City is the latest in Artifex Mundi's hidden object series on consoles (also available on PC). This one reminded me of certain elements from the Marvel universe: Incarceri Stones are pretty close to Infinity Stones, and the land of Lichtenheim sounds a bit like a realm that Thor might watch over. The trial portion of the game is pretty short, only about 12-15 minutes of play - ending with a villain escaping inexplicably via a (plot)hole in the roof that he might easily have entered by.

No matter as story and voice acting have never been the strongest reason to play these games - it's the puzzles, and there are a variety of types to enjoy:

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I really enjoy Destiny (both the original and the sequel) to a point. I'm not big on multiplayer or raids that take half a day or more to complete. But I enjoy a good story and shooting bad guys in a sci-fi setting. If other people happen to be around to help and share the experience, all the better.

I could really have used a little help beating the first mini-boss in Destiny 2's Warmind expansion, but in the end I prevailed:

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I never got into the Just Cause series but Just Cause 3 is changing that. I tried the game during a free Xbox Live Gold weekend and purchased the whole shebang for $9 including all of the DLC (just $6 if you only want the base game).

I'm still getting the hang of the grapple mechanic and my hilariously poor use of the wingsuit is bound to entertain, as are the awesome explosions that bust out every few minutes:

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Late Shift is an interactive movie that's been compared to Choose Your Own Adventure books (which I gobbled up as a kid). Honestly, some of the early choices don't seem to make much difference but later on I believe they change various outcomes.

This represents about half of the playthrough so there's still a lot to unlock (warning: adult language is prevalent):

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Blackwood Crossing just looks like one of those games that I'd like. It apparently has a very emotional payoff (for me, Bastion still is the one to beat in that department) and I can confirm that the slow pace of walking in the game is a bit of a drag.

That said, it's interesting and very surreal, and I think I will enjoy finishing it:

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Blinx: The Time Sweeper from the original Xbox (now backward compatible on Xbox One) may be one of the cutest cat games ever. It also has a difficult camera (typical of platformers of its generation) and the inability to remap or invert look, so I spend much of the time swinging the camera around the wrong way. Maybe this is by design - it would be so much easier if I had more control, and I'd be less likely to depend on the time control dynamics.

Either way, it's still adorable and generally more fun than frustrating:

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The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind is one of my favorite RPGs of all time. Something about wandering around this open world adventure to the strains of Jeremy Soule's arguably best score ever is deeply embedded in my gaming memories - so much so that I recorded an entire podcast about it. Oblivion and Skyrim are great, but I'll always have a soft spot for this corner of Tamriel.

Now, thanks to the magic of backward compatibility, you can get a taste of the original Xbox game and its music all in one burst (also character creation, basic training, and the start of your first quest):

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Among the Sleep is one of those games I've wanted to play for years but put off until I was in the right frame of mind, which is apparently the result of finishing The Girl on the Train (the book, not the film). The idea of playing as a two-year-old is both compelling (will it be like that part in BioShock 2, you know the one) or just survival horror with a child in jeopardy (no thanks).

Last night I finally took the plunge, and you can learn from some of my misguided efforts where the start of the story intends to take you and how to get there faster than I did:

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I don't play on PlayStation 4 very often, so when I do it's generally for a very good reason. Horizon Zero Dawn is so good that I finally figured out how to stream from PS4 to YouTube. The game has a solid open world exploration dynamic that starts with an emphasis on stealth but can evolve into other combat styles depending on how you invest skill points. The story is pretty great too.

The first 30 minutes covers the main tutorial and back story leading up to the first opportunity to really free roam:

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Another Artifex Mundi hidden object game, and you know I'm in. It actually took me a week to record a stream I could save, so I actually played the start of Enigmatis 3: The Shadow of Karkhala some 5 or 6 times.

So you know this stream is a solid tour. And, yes, I pretended to make a few extra mistakes not to fool anyone but to ensure the game didn't go by so fast you couldn't tell what was going on:

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There's a new Artifex Mundi hidden object game coming out soon, but I thought Subject 13 might help scratch that puzzler itch until then. It appears to be The Room, with its puzzle boxes and hidden codes, blended with your typical puzzle adventure.

If it weren't for the clunky walking animation and awkward interface, it would be pretty good. The price is right, though: just $3 on Xbox One with Deals with Gold or $7 without Gold:

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

As a fan of Re-Volt, famously used to beta test the original Xbox Live service, I'm always on the lookout for the next good miniature car racer. Table Top Racing: World Tour had mixed reviews but looked promising. Best of all, it was only $5 via Deals with Gold on Xbox One.

Alas, based on my first 30 minutes (plus a little time to beat the first championship), this isn't it. Gameplay is more random than I'd like, tuning your vehicle helps you win back some control but effects vary depending on the type of challenge. Definitely a mixed bag (look at Mad Tracks, available on Xbox 360 and Xbox One via 360 backward compatibility, for something better):

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

South Park: The Fractured But Whole is something of a mixed bag but overall a solid follow-up to The Stick of Truth. I purchased the Gold edition expecting I would want the DLC, and I'm happy I did. The new bonus story From Dusk Till Casa Bonita plays off the excellent Robert Rodriguez action flick (and more recently, TV series) From Dusk Till Dawn and what many consider the best episode of the South Park TV series, Casa Bonita.

In the first 30 minutes, you will NOT get into Black Bart's Cave. But you will enter the restaurant, battle Vamp Kids, play Skee-Ball and Shooting Gallery games for prize tickets, and enjoy a new playable class and enlist a new teammate - both of which carry over to the main game:

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Rime is an attractive puzzler with no dialogue that I found on Xbox Game Pass - you're just a character who must figure out through context how to progress through a visually stunning world.

I made a few mistakes but ultimately prevailed in this first 30-minute walkthrough - learn the basics and, in a few spots, what not to do:

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Crackdown is one of our favorite games of all time. Something about feeling your powers grow from bunny hops to being able to leap tall buildings in a single bound made this game an amazing experience.

I originally uploaded my cloud save thinking I'd want to pick up where I left off a decade ago. But I had more or less beaten the game, leaving just a few hidden orbs to find. When the game was announced as hitting Xbox One via backward compatibility last week, I realized I wanted to start anew and feel my powers grow again. Alas, Crackdown does not permit you to simply start a new game and deleting the cloud save proved tricky. It turns out you need to access the Xbox 360 "blade" interface via a game running in back compatibility (press the two buttons on either side of the center Guide button to open and use the Manage Storage option there).

If only the fun stopped there. My next few attempts at streaming via Mixer failed. It's too bad, since my first 30-minute run went really well - showing some pitfalls as well as quick victories in the first few battles. It turns out that Mixer sometimes forgets your save VOD setting so if this happens, the fix is to toggle it off and then back on again.

This run still went pretty well. You'll see the settings screens, how to exit the agency garage, where to quickly secure a supply point, the first mini-boss, a bunch of agility orbs that greatly increase my jumping distance, and where to go to take out the second Los Muertos general:

A few weeks later, I've maxed out my agility and decided to take a run at ascending the Agency Tower. It took a few tries but I made it. The voiceover comment when I reached the apex - priceless. Then I plunged toward the water and missed it by feet:

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

I love a good racing game, the more mayhem the better. Split/Second looked very much like a Burnout clone, and in fact delivers a fulfilling racing dynamic - sort of like Mario Kart but instead of sending Koopa shells after your enemies, you trigger remote explosions that'll take them out if you time it right.

The tutorial was pretty meh but covered the basics of drifting to generate explosive opportunities. The first actual race was awesome! There's another race (which proved much more challenging, so much that I played it twice) and then a bonus time trial level:

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

Assassin's Creed Chronicles: India is another in a series of side-scrolling stealth/action titles in the Assassin's Creed franchise. It's also free with Games with Gold for the next few weeks.

This isn't my first time at the Assassin's Creed Chronicles rodeo, but you wouldn't know it from watching this First 30 Minutes play through. You will learn the basics of jumping, hiding, distracting, pickpocketing, and takedowns. I went a little long so that I could show how to beat a section that was giving me trouble:

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Assassin's Creed: Origins was a Valentine's gift for GrrlGotGame. What can I say, she loves to kill stuff (in games). And the Assassin's Creed series is one of her favorites, especially the Ezio saga. And this one has the best rep since Ezio hung up his wrist-mounted shivs.

After she was through with the start of the game, I gave it a go. Here you'll get the basics of combat, how to find your way out of the stupid opening cave (eventually), where to invert aiming, your first stealth slayings, and an eagle's flight:

 

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I'm starting to become a wee bit Internet famous for my adoration of Artifex Mundi hidden object games. So when I saw that Nightmares From The Deep 3: Davy Jones joined the console lineup today, I dove right in.

Here's the first 30 minutes (don't worry if you haven't played prior games in the series - there are no significant spoilers):

 

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

Shadow Warrior is a reboot of the first-person shooter/slasher originally built on the 3D Realms Duke Nukem engine with a new story and a modern engine and sensibilities.

Not to say it's not still highly offensive, not to mention bloody as hell (hence the age gating). I've been meaning to pick it up for some time - so when it showed up in the Games with Gold lineup, I readily grabbed my katana and started hacking away:

 

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




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