Xbox sales: TA Team Picks (September 30th)

Tom West - September 30th 2021

This week's Xbox sales have split us with widely varying adventures, from 2D worlds with mammoth completion times, to dark, post-apocalyptic worlds that ask you to cut your running time — and enemies — into bite-sized chunks. Heidi is planning on some wacky weirdness, Kes is slaying 2D monstrosities, Luke is planning on punching people... once, Sean is dreaming of lighting fast futuristic combat, and Tom is coming to terms with the knowledge that he enjoyed a fighting game. It's a week of picks that begs you to give in to that adventurous calling in your heart, unleash your inner beast, and revel in the glory that comes from slaying your enemies.

In this latest sale, it’s Balan Wonderworld I’ve got my eye on. Any game that describes itself as full of wacky weirdness has to be worth a look, and that’s even before you find out about Balan Wonderworld’s Tims — tiny fluffy chick-like creatures born out of happiness. I have to admit, the Tims are a big part of Balan Wonderworld’s draw for me, but the rest of the game sounds pretty interesting too. It’s based around the Balan Theatre and the bizarre land of Wonderworld, and from the sound of things, it’ll be up to two heroes — Leo and Emma — to deal with the less pleasant side of Wonderworld. A villain named Lance has trapped Wonderworld visitors inside their own hearts (I don’t know either) while making monsters out of their negativity. Leo, Emma, and of course the Tims, are charged with freeing these lost visitors and restoring peace to Wonderworld. Balan Wonderworld promises an adventure of vibrant, wacky weirdness, and stood out to me most in this sale — plus, it’s 50% off!
BALAN WONDERWORLD

Over 80 different costumes open up all the action you could want! Welcome to a wondrous all-action show, the likes of which has never been seen before!

Kes — Terraria

It’s been so long since I played Terraria. When most people tried to rope me in, they always said that it was like Minecraft in 2D. Now, that is a pretty dope description, but there is something quite a bit more to it that I cannot quite put my finger on. You roam the grassy terrain collecting enough materials to build armours, swords, and shelter. Over time, you build a little village fortress filled with townsfolk that flock to you to save themselves from the monsters that roam the night. Building yourself up to even become self-sufficient is quite the task on your first time through. Bear in mind that a completion takes 200 hours, so you are going to be learning the ins and outs of Terraria's systems if you are going for it. This game is deep in systems and rich in addictive gameplay loops. You go mining, monster slaying, or resource managing, then you build and deal with the townsfolk, then you sleep. So what is your target? Well, slaying all the amazing and varied bosses of this universe, of course! Each one requires a different tact, different items, and a bit of puzzling. I didn’t get super far, but friends have told me it becomes a Herculean effort even in a shared world. That value for money for a great game is just too sweet to pass up by my books. If you haven’t peeked at Terraria, do so now while it is at the cost of a ramen soup with fresh noodles, spring onion, chilli paste, pak choi, grilled chicken, egg, and a bit of broccoli.
Terraria

The world is at your fingertips as you fight for survival, fortune, and glory. Delve deep into cavernous expanses, test your mettle in combat, or construct your own city - the choice is yours! Now with more content than ever before - 5,000+ items, 400+ enemies and 20+ bosses to battle! Blending elements of classic action games with sandbox-style creativity, the Terraria adventure is truly as unique as the players themselves!

I love fighting games and One Punch Man is incredible, so this unlikely tie-in game was always gonna be on my wishlist. I played the beta a little before launch and didn’t really get on with it at all, but after picking it up last time it was on sale a few weeks back, it actually made much more sense as a full game. You make and play as your own custom hero, working alongside famous characters from the series as the events of the show play out around you like a sequence of skits. Upgrading and swapping between different powers means you quickly get stupidly powerful, and there’s just enough depth to the actual fighting — which feels like a lot of the non-FighterZ shonen fighters from recent years, which is to say decent — to make it interesting and satisfying whether stringing together combos of your own or weaving around those of your opponents. There’s a tag system in the game so you can team up with and fight as other heroes to take on groups of foes, and the way it works is really neat. Most fights begin as one-on-ones, but enemies can call in backup and other heroes in the area might come to your aid. An on-screen indicator shows how long it’ll take for these extra heroes and/or villains to join the fray, and certain actions and items may speed up the arrival of an ally or delay a weakened foe from calling in support. Decking an opponent just before their buddy arrives always feels great, as does a clutch save from one of the Hero Association’s finest (or Mumen Rider) when you’ve had your face beaten into the pavement.

Said timed tag system is also the ingenious method used to balance Saitama, the series’ titular hero who is inherently way too OP to feature in a fighting game under normal circumstances. He takes much longer to arrive than other heroes, sure, but if and when he does turn up, he’s a walking win button that just deletes enemies in a single blow. It’s amazing to think that nobody has been able to make a good Superman game in the history of gaming due to the main character being too powerful, then these guys just come right out and smash it first try. Crazy. A Hero Nobody Knows isn’t the best fighter out there (and Tom has a much stronger one for you just below), but nor does it need to be — it’s solid enough in battle to get by, and the rest of the stuff that surrounds it offers a truly entertaining way to put your own character into this amazing universe. The standard version is still inexplicably full price, but the Deluxe Edition (which adds a handful of extra costumes and characters) is currently 85% and has never been cheaper. That is good.

ONE PUNCH MAN: A HERO NOBODY KNOWS Deluxe Edition

The Deluxe Edition includes the following:

- Full Game
- Character Pass (Season Pass)
- Terrible Tornado (Pajamas)
- Genos (Arms Mode) Outfit
- Speed-o'-Sound Sonic Outfit
- Hellish Blizzard (Fur Coat)
Note: Progress through the Main Mode is required for access to items related to characters.

The first "One Punch Man" game for console and PC finally makes its debut!

Sean — Ghostrunner

There isn’t a lot I wanted to shout about from this week’s, other than a few obvious picks and games I’ve already chosen for this series before, so I’m picking something I am yet to play and extremely excited to check out. I’ve heard nothing but good things about Ghostrunner since its launch last year. The action-platformer, which is set in a dark, post-apocalyptic cyberpunk world, has you playing as a sword-wielding cyber ninja who awakens after being thrown out of a skyscraper with no memory of who he is. You are then tasked with making your way from the bottom of the megastructure to the very top to discover who you are and to confront the evil Keymaster. To climb the tower, you have to make your way through a variety of high-risk platforming sections at speed — if you’re too slow, you’ll die. You’ll need to utilise the Ghostrunner’s lightning-quick reflexes to slice down enemies in your path as you grapple hook, sprint, leap, and dash from platform to platform at breakneck speeds. Ghostrunner looks like a wild time just from gameplay videos alone, and I can’t wait to get involved. What makes Ghostrunner even more appealing this week, aside from its super cheap $11.99/£9.99/€11.99 price tag, is that the game received a free Xbox Series X|S upgrade earlier this week, which bumps up the frame rate, adds a ray tracing fidelity mode, improves load times, and more.
Ghostrunner

Ghostrunner offers a unique single-player experience of fast-paced, violent combat, and an original setting that blends science fiction with post-apocalyptic themes. It tells a story of a world that has already ended and its inhabitants who fight to survive.

If there is anything in this world that I didn’t think I’d ever do, it’s recommending a fighting game. Not because I have anything against the genre, but mostly down to my dreadful skills causing me to flail around hoping my attacks will connect with something — or in most cases, just stand there like a meaty punching bag. SoulCalibur VI on the other hand is so amateur-friendly that I found it to be an extremely enjoyable romp, which I would have missed if it weren’t for Game Pass.

The most prominent aspect of SoulCalibur VI is the Libra of Soul game mode, blending the fighting genre with RPG elements. It’s awesome fun, offering you quests as you move about the world’s map, collecting new weapons that change up your fighting style. Of course, the sheer power of the character customisation options is surely a winner, meaning you can look as wacky as you want while whooping someone into submission. Libra of Soul is perfect for beginners and slowly gains momentum as you work your way through the mode. The game also offers a single-player campaign mode, and for those of you with a lust for pain… multiplayer. SoulCalibur VI: Deluxe Edition is currently on sale for a sleek 80% off, its lowest price yet, and seeing as it recently left Game Pass now is the perfect time to purchase and finish it.

SOULCALIBUR VI Deluxe Edition

A digital deluxe edition of SOULCALIBUR VI that includes the season pass!

Anything here taking your fancy, or have you got your eye on something else? Let us know in the comments!