Microsoft

Planet Coaster (Xbox Series X)

It’s odd to think menu music makes an impact on a game, but Planet Coaster’s mellow guitar strings and exited kid’s choir feels right. Planet Coaster is a simulation about happy places, and that catchy, hummable tune sticks in the brain even when amid the ambient shrieks, cheers, and mechanical whirring inside the parks. Tone… Continue reading Planet Coaster (Xbox Series X)

Microsoft

Watch Dogs: Legion (Xbox One)

Recent real world reports revealed Donald Trump’s administration performed forced hysterectomies on immigrants, a story that compares to the blathering fear mongering over illegals and terrorists in Watch Dog: Legions. A privatized police force roams the city, guns almost always drawn, leering checkpoints scanning every Londoner as they pass. Given the number of cameras, there’s… Continue reading Watch Dogs: Legion (Xbox One)

Microsoft

Star Wars: Squadrons (Xbox One)

It’s a misfire to see the post-Return of the Jedi Empire so flush with diverse faces. While the industry pushes for inclusiveness, that message trickles down and places all genders and races onto the side of a directly Nazi-esque regime. In brief, one-sided dialog exchanges, hearing phrases akin to real world authoritarian power grabs is… Continue reading Star Wars: Squadrons (Xbox One)

Microsoft

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 & 2 (Xbox One)

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater made skate vernacular common knowledge – ollie and kickflips broke from the culture and into mainstream use. But more so, Pro Skater emboldened an entire era of punk. Its eccentric art, anti-authority bent, and music encapsulated not only skating, but the shared community around it. A remake saps that energy. Pro… Continue reading Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 & 2 (Xbox One)

Microsoft

Madden NFL 21 (Xbox One)

Coaches pace Madden 21’s sidelines holding branded Microsoft Surface tablets. That’s accurate. Surface’s became indelible to the NFL after announcers were shamed for incorrectly calling them iPads. But Madden 21 isn’t the real NFL. It wants to be; the NFL licenses says as much. This year’s Madden releases alongside a global pandemic, of which football’s… Continue reading Madden NFL 21 (Xbox One)

Microsoft

Battletoads (2020, Xbox One)

The Battletoads trio spend much of this reboot/reset/sequel/follow-up attempting to regain their popularity in a haze of fourth wall-shattering humor. It’s legitimately funny, frequently so, and the art style coincides with modern animation; Battletoads wouldn’t be out of place on Cartoon Network. By the finale, they come together, defeat evil, and shuck their quest for… Continue reading Battletoads (2020, Xbox One)

Microsoft

Destroy All Humans (2020, Xbox One)

Destroy All Humans’ remaster comes, partly so, at the right time. Less a parody of ’50s sci-fi cinema than it is satire of American post-war culture, the Furon Empire’s invasion pokes holes in the “America was great” nationalist pandering. Destroy All Humans’ military is run by gun-happy dolts, small town mayors speak like JFK but… Continue reading Destroy All Humans (2020, Xbox One)

Microsoft

Super Mega Baseball 3 (Xbox One)

Teams in Super Mega Baseball 3 don’t have home cities, at least in their names. Much is suggested in the stadiums though. Some squads base their operations in lower rent districts – that’s evident by the advertisers lining the warning track. Say, a lawyer service called “Bogus Docs: Creative Bookkeeping” for fields in working class… Continue reading Super Mega Baseball 3 (Xbox One)

Microsoft

Streets of Rage 4 (Xbox One)

When brawling through Wood Oak City’s prison and police station, the level’s end comes in the commissioners office. In anger, the corrupt leader smashes his desk, revealing a hidden briefcase full of cash. Things changed for Streets of Rage. The series began with Axel, Adam, Blaze – all detectives – fighting against the criminally-infested, rotting… Continue reading Streets of Rage 4 (Xbox One)