xbox game pass

A couple of things connect today’s Game Pass releases. The first is quality: both of the launches are currently sitting at ‘Overwhelmingly Positive’ on Steam, as PC was their first home. The second connection is more tenuous: it’s punk versus classical. 

Exapunks (PC) is the first of today’s additions to the service, and Opus: Echo of Starsong – Full Bloom Edition (Console and PC) is the second. 

It may have ‘punks’ in the title, but we were cheating on that connection: Exapunks is more concerned with hacking than it is safety pins through the nose. It’s the latest from developers Zachtronics, who also brought SHENZHEN I/O to Game Pass this month. Seems they’re close collaborators now. 

If you’ve played a Zachtronics game, you know what you’re getting. An intricate, complex but still beautiful strategy game that emulates real-world vocations. It chucks you in at the deep end, giving you the ‘phage’ a fatal disease and then tasking you with a single hack that will unlock the antidote. You can hack everything, from banks to universities and factories, using your Execution Agents, with the aim to bring the network under your control. 

What we love about Zachtronics games is how they don’t just limit themselves to the task at hand. You can read in-game ‘zines to find out new hacking approaches, or you can hack gaming terminals to play a spot of ПАСЬЯНС or HACK*MATCH, two minigames that have been specifically created for Exapunks. You may have the phage, but it doesn’t mean you can’t stop for some R&R. 

Opus: Echo of Starsong – Full Bloom Edition, meanwhile, is a completely different speed. It’s been receiving gushing praise from PC reviewers, tossing about phrases like Game of the Year. The title might be familia, as the Opus series has been ongoing for some time, but to this point it has been mostly locked to PC and Switch, rather than Xbox. We’re happy to have it. 

Opus: Echo of Starsong – Full Bloom Edition is a visual novel crossed with an adventure game, and it has an elegiac sci-fi feel. It tells the story of a world in conflict, as people hunt for meteors that emit a starsong. You play a young astronaut, looking to make a name for yourself by claiming one of these meteors, and on the way you find a young girl who can sing her own starsongs. The journey takes you to ancient places, as you find the secret behind the phenomenon. 

What else, you might ask, is coming to Game Pass this month? On August 30th, Commandos 3 – HD Remaster (Cloud, Console, and PC), Immortality (Cloud, PC, Xbox Series X|S), Ubisoft’s Immortals Fenyx Rising (Cloud, Console, and PC) and Tinykin (Console and PC) arrive. It’s only one more day of releases, but it’s a decent haul.

Games are leaving the service too, of course. On August 31st we lose Elite Dangerous (Cloud and Console), Hades (Cloud, Console, and PC), Myst (Cloud, Console, and PC), NBA 2K22 (Cloud and Console), Signs of the Sojourner (Cloud, Console, and PC), Spiritfarer (Cloud, Console, and PC), Twelve Minutes (Cloud, Console, and PC), Two Point Hospital (Cloud, Console, and PC), What Remains of Edith Finch (Cloud, Console, and PC) and World War Z (Cloud, Console, and PC).

What’s on your playlist? A bit of punk, or some classical? Let us know in the comments or on our social channels.

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