Just as shops are starting to stock Halloween bits and bobs, so Game Pass is starting to show the first signs of Halloween.
We have the spooky-inflected Beacon Pines (Console and PC), the gelatinous Slime Rancher 2 (Early Access – Console, PC), and the many-legged Spiderheck (Cloud, Console and PC). All are out today and available from the Game Pass sections of the Microsoft Store.
Beacon Pines is a good place to start, mainly because we have dusted off the little-used 5/5 review paddle and held it aloft for this wonderful little game. It’s Twin Peaks by way of Stranger Things, but with animals in place of the schoolkids. Expect a narrative adventure that tinkers with a mechanic called ‘Charms’. These are keywords that are found in the game’s dialogue and journals, and they unlock new dialogue options and angles of inquiry. It’s a clever little approach to the narrative adventure genre.
Still on the fence? Let resident reviewer Gareth entice you a little more: “You will adore Beacon Pines from start to finish, mostly as you get hooked by the impressive and unusual narrative. Ultimately it’s a game about the power of story and the decisions you make when choosing different narrative paths, but it’s helped along by the warmth of the characters, ensuring you’ll want to invest time and emotion into the hunt for the perfect ending.” He even went on to thank the developers for making it, which isn’t something you see every day.
Next up is Slime Rancher 2, which emerges in Game Preview form (Early Access on other platforms). The original Slime Rancher was a cult hit of the highest order, with players nurturing and cross-breeding their slimes, and now we have a sequel to get us shaking with excitement like, well, jelly. It’s that original title which will be leaving Game Pass at the end of the month too.
This time round Beatrix LeBeau finds herself on Rainbow Island (as an older gamer, the phrase Rainbow Island gives us a little nostalgic twinkle), with new jellies, new ancient technologies to unearth, and a dark secret pervading it all. You can even build a conservatory for your little gummies.
Finally, Spiderheck is making an eight-legged run to the line for ‘Best Named Game of 2022’. ‘Spiders with Laser Swords’ is the tagline, and it’s all we need to get us hyped. This is a physic-based brawler that’s got its sights set on ridiculous local co-op shenanigans. Gather some inebriated mates and start tearing each other to shreds in Tron-like neon arenas. It’s bound to cure your arachnophobia.
There’s a few more still to come this month on Game Pass. Grounded (Full Release) is happening on September 27th (Console, PC, Cloud), while Moonscars arrives on September 27th (Console). Valheim (PC) is also planned for September 29th.
Which of these Halloween teasers gets your vote? Let us know in the comments and on our social media channels.