April 2017 Games With Gold

April 2017 GWG

Time sure is flying.  It’s time again for this month’s games with gold from Microsoft.  This month’s games seem to be a bit on the dark side:

  • Ryse – Son of Rome – We got this one with our XBox One and haven’t played it yet.  It was fairly heavily advertised pre-release for its graphical prowess.  We’ll see how it stands up.
  • Walking Dead – Season Two.  I don’t like the Walking Dead TV series and zombies just aren’t my thing.  But I love just about anything Telltale puts out and The Walking Dead series is no exception to that rule.  The story telling is amazing and it plays like a “choose your own adventure” game in that your decisions drastically alter the future of your game.  I have played season one and I’m looking forward to adding season two.
  • Darksiders looks to be a post-apocalyptic game involving demons and the end of time.  I don’t know that I’ll play this one.
  • Assassin’s Creed – Revelations – You can’t go wrong with an Assassin’s Creed game, so I’ll definitely be adding this one to the backlog.  I’m not sure what it’s about, but I’ll give it a shot.

March 2017 gwg

March came up on me pretty quickly, so I thought I’d post Microsoft’s games with gold for the months.  There are two titles that intrigue me, and two that I’ll likely play at some point.

Layers of Fear looks like a horror game, which isn’t typically my favorite genre.  (Silent Hill is an exception!)  Evolve is a pretty popular game on Twitch, so I’ll likely try it.  I already have Borderlands 2 and have been playing it quite recently, but if you haven’t, definitely pick it up!  It’s a really fun RPG with some FPS elements, but don’t let that scare you.  I’m terrible at the genre, but I can survive well enough.  I’m not sure what Heavy Weapon is, but it looks like something my husband will like.

I missed last month’s here’s what we missed.  I don’t really know much about this one, but Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime looks somewhat unique and I’ll definitely be trying it out.  It looks like a fun little indie title.  Monkey Island 2 looks funny, and I’m always up for a laugh while playing a video game.

You still have time to download:

Project Cars, which looks like a fairly standard race game, and Star Wars, the Force Unleashed.

If you have an XBox One, be sure to download them all!  If you have a 360, you get Monkey Island 2 and The Force Unleashed.

Feb 2017 gwg

Compilation Games – SEGA Genesis Collection

Genre:  Compilation
Platform:  PSP, XBox 360 (Genesis)

Recently, I did an article on AtGame’s SEGA mini.  It is just so-so.  I think a much better deal would be to purchase one of the compilation games that I am going to discuss now.  I own two of them – The SEGA Genesis Collection for the PSP and Sonic’s Genesis Collection.  These are both winners and you can’t go wrong with them.

They both contain all of the classics for the system.  The XBox 360 game has 49 games, some of which you have to unlock.  I actually like the fact that you have to unlock the games as it makes you play games that you may not otherwise.  For example, I wanted to unlock Phantasy Star 1, but I had to reach a certain objective in Sonic the Hedgehog first.  I’m not a huge fan of Sonic, but I did have fun trying to hit that objective.  As with every XBox 360 game, there are a multitude of achievements and you get ratings for each game.  Fun stuff!

The PSP game has 33 games.  Again, some are unlockable.  I haven’t spent a ton of time with this version, but it does have the classics you’re likely familiar with – Altered Beast, Golden Axe, Vectorman, Sonic, Streets of Rage, Phantasy Star, Ecco, etc.  I prefer the XBox version, but this one is great because you can take the games with you.  Of course, I’ve got my GCW Zero, so I just tend to take that as I have just about every Genesis game ever made on it.  But still, this is a more “moral and legal” option.


It’s that time again – geez, time is flying.  It’s time to discuss November’s Games with Gold from Microsoft.  Next month, we’ll get the following games for free:

  • Super Dungeon Brothers
  • Secrets of Monkey Island, Special Edition
  • Murder, Soul Suspect
  • Far Cry 3 – Blood Dragon

The only one that I know anything about is the Secret of Monkey Island.  The Monkey Island games are always funny and entertaining, and I expect this one to be the same.  As for the rest, I’ll download them and check it out.  I’ve got quite a backlog of Games with Gold alone, not to mention the seemingly hundreds more around the house for other systems.  I need more play time!


October is bringing some good games to us for free through Microsoft’s Games with Gold.  Here they are:

-Mega Baseball.  I don’t know much about it other than it’s a baseball game.  I am a fan of baseball, and since MLB (Major League Baseball) seems to have an exclusive contract with Playstation, I don’t get to play many on the XBox.  Any baseball game is welcomed.

-The Escapists.  I am a big fan of Prison Architect, where I’ve spent so much time trying to keep my prisoners in, that I think that a game where you try to break out will be a lot of fun.  This one has been on my radar for some time.

-MX ATV Reflex.  I have a couple of these games that came with my PSP, but I’ve never played them.  I’ll probably pick this up as a “when I’m bored” type of game.

-I Am Alive.  I had heard about this one a long time ago but then forgot about it.  It’s a survival game, which is a genre I haven’t really gotten into.  I’ll pick it up just because it’s free.

As for last month’s games, I have been hooked on Earthlock and you’ll likely see a post about it before too long.


Hidden Gems – Harry Potter + Order of the Phoenix for XBox 360

Genre:  Action-Adventure
Platform:  XBox 360

I am a fan of the Harry Potter books and movies.  I wasn’t too sure about playing the games, though, because video games based on movies are notoriously bad.  I picked this one up, anyway.  It was the first Harry Potter game that I had tried.  I was pleasantly surprised and this makes it a hidden gem.

If you are a fan of the Harry Potter series, you will really enjoy this game.  It follows the story of the movie very well, but it lets you set the pace of the story.  You could finish this game in about 8 hours if you wanted.  However, as a bit of a completionist, I did every side quest, played every mini-game and collected every achievement (except for the one that is bugged).  There are a lot of really fun mini-games and things to collect in this game.  My favorite was marbles.  It could be difficult at times, but was a lot of fun.  It also let you have full run of Hogwarts, which felt like a very large and comprehensive environment.  The colors in the game are a bit drab, but I believe it was intentional.  The graphics are also a bit dated at this point, but it’s still quite playable.

Along your way through the story, you have your fellow Hogwarts crew to help you out.  You will do tasks for them and they will return the favor.  In the end, you will fight “He Who Shall Not Be Named” and hopefully come out victorious.

If you’ve not played this, I would recommend you try it out!  Beware, however, that other platform versions of this game are not the same.  For example, the DS version of the game seems to only have the story portion of this game, which makes it a lot less fun.

Genre:  Music/Rhythm
Platform:  XBox 360

I have made my love of music/rhythm games known through my post about Rock Band 3.  I have gone back and started to play another game in the Rock Band series, LEGO Rock Band.  This is a cute game and I think it was designed specifically for the younger fans.  It has a “super easy” difficulty, which I’ve not seen anywhere else.  The song list is so-so, but it is still a lot of fun to play.

You can sing, play drums, bass or lead guitar.  It does have a story mode and is pretty cute.  At one point, you even get to meet LEGO Queen and play as LEGO Brian May.  It is a fairly consistent story format for Rock Band games.  As you play, you collect money (studs in this game), fans and stars.  You can use your studs to buy new items, including new forms of transportation.  New transportation means new venues, which means more songs.

One thing I don’t like about this game is that it makes you replay a lot of songs.  In one sitting, I played one particular song three times, which is too much repetition for my taste.  I’m going to finish the story mode so I can rack up the achievements.  Overall, it’s an ok game, but I’m not in love with it.  If you’re a fan of the music genre, you’ll like it.


Stinkers – Zuma Deluxe for the XBox 360

Genre:  Arcade
Platform:  XBox 360

I love Zuma.  It has entertained me for 100’s of hours on my PC or laptop.  This is a great game.  It’s very simple – you shoot colored balls at the other colored balls to match at least three and clear them.  So I was excited to play it on my XBox 360 quite a long time ago.  FAIL.  This is a terrible port of a game.  Of course, you use your 360 controller.  However, the controls are just awful.

You need to use the thumb sticks to control the cursor, but it is really hard to use.  I don’t understand why they chose to make this game difficult.  You have to hold the position with your thumbs to shoot the ball, but it requires a fair amount of pressure from your hand.  This means that it is slow and painful.

I was really good at Zuma on the PC using a mouse.  With this version of the game, I am horrible.  I can’t get past the third level.  Which means that this game is no fun.  I do not recommend anyone play it as you will be frustrated and disappointed.