With so many smaller titles hitting Xbox One every week, it’s difficult to cover them all. While they may not be blockbuster experiences with the marketing to boot, these games should pique the interest of people looking for short, unique titles. This week, I’ve round up my thoughts on The Escapists 2, Redout: Lightspeed Edition and Time Recoil.
If you’re a fan of The Escapists, then you should fully enjoy its sequel, now complete with online and local multiplayer. It doesn’t break the mold or truly innovate on its predecessor, but being more of the same isn’t necessarily a bad thing. There’s just something about breaking out of increasingly difficult prisons packed full of crazy encounters and situations that makes you lose track of time. Complete with a tutorial level and ten additional prisons, The Escapists 2 provides a satisfying amount of content. Even on the first prison, it’s not easy or quick to escape, and there are just so many activities that can be accomplished, like training your strength in the gym or doing favors for other inmates—just make sure you stick to your schedule so the guards don’t become suspicious.
Developed by 34BigThings, Redout: Lightspeed Edition is a colorful racing game featuring anti-gravity hovering vehicles that effortlessly glide across the tracks. Its futuristic yet low-poly art style may be the best aspect of Redout, because I found the tracks fairly forgettable. While the controls themselves are responsive, there is a mechanic that makes racing less enjoyable. Just by scraping up against a wall, your vehicle’s health deteriorates until it is destroyed and you respawn. This wouldn’t have been a problem if it was easily avoidable, and though health does regenerate if you avoid grinding the walls, I rarely completed a single race without dying at least once, especially when racing faster vehicle classes. You can purchase passive and active powers for your vehicle with your earnings from every race—including some that thankfully increase your vehicle’s health—but most of these are just your average abilities that you’d expect, like speed boosts. Even though I’m not a fan of the vehicle’s integrity meter, Redout is intense, fast-paced, and commendably emulates the arcade racers that it took inspiration from.
Time Recoil is a top-down shooter where killing slows time. In theory this would be incredibly fun, but the controls just miss their mark. It’s a little difficult to aim accurately with a controller, making luck just as important as skill. Still, spraying a ton of bullets and raining terror upon your enemies through walls makes for chaotic and fun gameplay. Once you’ve finished the rudimentary tutorial level, you’ll get a sense of the game’s narrative and your motivation. The city of Paris is in ruins, and your character-Alexa-can safely time travel with the help of some quantum technology. With this ability, she must travel to different years in order to stop Dr. Time from wreaking havoc on the rest of the world. Time Recoil’s sci-fi nature definitely adds some personality to it as you unlock different abilities, but it also hinders you in other ways. For instance, in the beginning it is explained that the reason you can only travel with a pistol and not a more substantial weapon is because heavier metal objects cause a disturbance when time travelling. Once you get used to the less-than-accurate controls, Time Recoil becomes an addicting experience.
Out of all of these games, The Escapists 2 is the one I would recommend the most. Still, each of them has their own unique appeal and could be the perfect game for the right audience depending on what you are looking for.