PC Game Pass Exploration: March 2023
Posted on March 30, 2023 by Aywren
One of my goals this year is to try to get as much out of my PC Game Pass subscription as I can. So during the month of March, I vowed to try at least one new game a week. Here’s how this turned out for me!
Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion
I unexpectedly enjoyed this game quite a bit. In fact, I wrote up a whole post for it. I left it installed on my PC just in case I get the itch to try it out with a controller. I think it would be better served without keyboard and mouse.
Potion Craft: Alchemist Simulator
Potion Craft was a game that was on my wishlist – both Steam and Switch – for quite a while. It’s also the case of I’m so glad I tried before I bought it.
Overall, Potion Craft is a fun game. You gather reagents, discover potions, sell potions in your shop, and work to upgrade your shop. There’s a little mini-game about whether you take gold from the dubious shoppers in exchange for a hit to your shop’s reputation. And, of course, trying to figure out what potion each customer needs.
Where it fell flat for me was the potion discovery mechanics. There’s a huge, winding maze-like map that you have to traverse using the materials you gather and buy, obscured by the fog of war until you move into unknown areas. The problem is, the more advanced potions require a TON of materials to discover, and failure swipes everything you put into that search… leaving nothing to craft the actual potions for your clients.
I put a few hours into this game, but after struggling with the potion discovery map, just put it down. I didn’t find that element fun, but it was required to move forward in progression.
I was a little sad this was the case, but it is what it is. Game Pass let me try it, and I discovered I probably wouldn’t have been happy had I bought it.
Zoo Tycoon Ultimate Animal Collection
I was so disappointed in Zoo Tycoon Ultimate Animal Collection that I forgot to take a screenshot.
Looking at the reviews on both Game Pass and Steam, I’m not the only one. The game was some confusing mish-mash of attempting to be third person zoo keeper interaction game that can flip into a top-down normal view you’d expect from a tycoon game.
There is very little customization in terms of building your zoo. It’s basically plugging pre-built pieces into the map, then attaching paths between them.
I got through most of the tutorial before I decided I’d rather spend my time playing Planet Zoo given what I saw. I’m sure this might be fun for a younger player, but I just didn’t see the appeal when there are far better zoo game options out there.
I tried Kracken Academy!! because it was on my to-play list and it is leaving on March 31. I figured I might as well see what it was about – it didn’t look like the kind of game I’d pay for. And I was right.
It wasn’t a bad game. I put a few hours into it to get the jist of what it was about. I did like that it tried to emulate the Majora’s Mask concept of the world ending in three days, and your character having to go back in time to make progress to stop it.
It was quirky. Maybe too quirky… because it was hard for me to connect and care about any of the characters in the game. Being that it’s a story-driven adventure/visual novel with lots of characters introduced, it seemed to care more about funny plot points and situations than it did about developing characters beyond stereotypes.
Maybe that’s what the game was setting out to do. If so, then it just wasn’t really for me.
I thought it was unique, but couldn’t vibe with the humor. Some of the constantly-used sound effects annoyed me, and I felt some of the music (especially the day track) would have been better off muted.
Anyhow, I played until the first time skip to give it a solid chance, then set it aside. It’s not one I’m going to race the clock to beat by tomorrow, even though I see it’s supposed to be fairly short.
Game Pass saved me a total of $57.97 – that’s taking out the price of subscription – on games that I tried this month. I determined that I enjoyed one game more than I expected, took another game off my wishlist entirely, and moved two more games up to “just didn’t vibe” categories.
I did go through my to-play list yesterday and weeded off games that I put on there as a whim, however. I did some research into the ratings of the games – both on Game Pass and Steam – and determined if I’d just thrown them on there because I was curious, or if I’d actually seriously want to play them.
The problem is that many of the games on my list are much longer time investments – RPGs and the like – that I know I’m not going to have the time to dip into. I have enough of those on the Switch. Trying out a game a week is not the best approach for these. Especially since you can get halfway through a game and then see it’s leaving the service at the end of the month. I’m antsy about putting that kind of time into anything just to see it leave before I can finish it.
I want to hold on to my Game Pass sub, though, because there are shorter games I want to try such as Coffee Talk 2 (coming soon) and Return to Monkey Island. For me, Game Pass excels in the shorter games. But I’m starting to feel a bit worn on the try it and dump it approach I’ve taken as of late. So I’m going to have to think about what to do with it.