Xbox Sales: TA Team Picks (March 10th)

Tom West - March 10th 2022

There are some fantastic games available for discounted prices in this week's Xbox sales, so the TA news team went on their weekly rummage to find, what they think, are some bangers for you to consider. It's another week that has given us a chance to draw a varied selection of titles. From shooters and mutant-destroying post-apocalyptic games to vibrant and uplifting stories that fill your heart with song, we've got five pick-ups that could be perfect for your library.

Heidi — Wandersong

I absolutely love Wandersong, which deftly ties together a bright and beautifully colourful art style with an affecting story about saving the world through music. Wandersong is a platformer and puzzler where we play as a bard, who interacts with the world through song — to the delight or extreme annoyance of that world’s inhabitants. It’s made clear that we’re not some fabled hero, but nevertheless we set out to save the world by learning more about the Earthsong. We meet a wide variety of characters, and explore everything from loss to joy, and from mermaids to coffee. It’s accessible to all, even those (me) who aren’t musically gifted in the slightest. It really is a magical adventure, which comes complete with a wonderful soundtrack that’ll stick with you after you’ve finished the game. I’d give this game a 10/10 and would happily buy it full price — so it’s even better at a discount. Hang on, I just double-checked — Wandersong is 75% off and under £5! That’s just crazy. Seriously, if you’re looking for a bright adventure or a beautiful story, you can’t go wrong with Wandersong.

A musical adventure where you use singing to save the world! Play as a silly bard who embarks on a globe-trotting journey to learn about the mysterious Earthsong, said to prevent the universe’s imminent end. It's up to you to sing your songs, unlock the world's secrets and make new friends!

Kes — Machinarium & Creaks Bundle

Machinarium is really, really good. I don’t know what Creaks is, but I’m sure it’s good too. In fact, I have so much trust in Czech studio Amanita Design from Machinarium that I know it is, I just haven’t played it yet. Now that is impressive, because Machinarium came out in 2012 (on PS3) and all that trust has been carried forward to 2022. The game is about a little robot boy called Josef who is flung on a scrap heap. He must reassemble himself and get back to the city. It’s a point-and-click adventure and puzzles are the name of the game. It is pretty easy-going — mostly object interaction-based stuff or small mini-games — but the real object of your attention should be the incredible artwork. It’s surrealist, mind-melting stuff that would fit just fine in a Dalí gallery. Buildings bend and twist in and out of frame at askew angles, clocks dominate scenes, and the tessellating patterns make mad things happen to your eyes. Throw in a wonderfully touching story, a sublime soundtrack, and of course those easy Machinarium achievements and you have a two-hour must-play.
Machinarium & Creaks Bundle

Machinarium is the award-winning independent adventure game developed by the makers of Samorost and Botanicula.

Help Josef the robot to save his girlfriend Berta kidnapped by the Black Cap Brotherhood gang.

The ground starts shaking, light bulbs are breaking - and something rather unusual is happening right behind the walls of your very room. Equipped with nothing but wit and courage, you slowly descend into a world inhabited by avian folk and seemingly deadly furniture monsters.

From the creators of indie classics Machinarium and Samorost comes Creaks, a new puzzle adventure game that delights the senses with its hand-painted visuals, precise animation, eerie sounds, and an eclectic original score from Hidden Orchestra. Proceed at your own pace at figuring out the solutions to dozens of carefully designed puzzles, explore the mansion for hidden paintings and uncover the great secret.

Luke — Hatsune Miku Logic Paint S

As a big fan of both the Project Diva and Picross series, this was always going to be a day-one purchase for me, and I already worked my way through all of the Hatsune Miku Logic Paint S achievements when it came out back in January. For those new to the world of nonogram puzzles, these absolute time vampires are all about using numerical hints to colour in sections of a grid and eventually reveal a hidden picture. It might take a few puzzles for the logic behind the system to click, but before long, you’ll be speeding around even the larger grids and solving tricky puzzles in no time. It’s immensely satisfying to see it all start to come together, and even more so when you can crack the more challenging ones with no hints or assists at all. Fortunately for newcomers (and/or folks who are just here for Miku), that kind of perfection isn’t required for clearing the puzzles, or even for the achievements, and with no fail state per se, you could theoretically just brute force every puzzle in the game by clicking on nearly every square. A painful and tedious route to the completion, sure, (and one that saps the fun out of the game) but it’d get the job done. At 40% off, this great little puzzler will Miku-Miku you (for reals).
Hatsune Miku Logic Paint S

"Hatsune Miku Logic Paint -MIKULOGI-" has evolved!
Hatsune Miku Logic Paint S is now available on the Microsoft® Store!

Sean — Metro Saga Bundle

If you haven’t played the Metro games, firstly, shame on you. Secondly, do yourself a favour and pick up the Metro Saga Bundle, which is 70% off this week, bringing it down to just $17.99/£14.99/€17.99. In it, you get three of the finest first-person shooters out there: Metro 2033 Redux, Metro: Last Light Redux, and Metro Exodus, as well as both of Exodus’ two DLC expansions. The Metro series is set in a post-apocalyptic Moscow where humans are forced to live underground in the city’s metro tunnels as the outside world has become uninhabitable. You play as Artyom, a man who is asked to join a group known as the Rangers to track down mysterious creatures known as the Dark Ones, who have been attacking various settlements within the metro network. The first two games are very linear first-person shooter experiences that have you fighting your way through packs of mutated creatures in the pitch-black metro tunnels before coming across a station settlement — the atmosphere in the tunnels is quite unlike any other FPS and it makes sure you’re always on edge. Metro Exodus, the third game in the series, does away with the linear format and places you in several vast, open sandboxes, though there are still a few linear moments from time to time. Exodus is probably my favourite of the three as it has a bit more variety in terms of gameplay when compared to 2033 and Last Light. As for achievements, all three games have some pretty tough achievement lists, though Exodus will be the one that puts up the biggest fight.
Metro Saga Bundle

The Metro Saga Bundle includes all three games in the critically acclaimed Metro series - Metro 2033 Redux, Metro: Last Light Redux and Metro Exodus Gold Edition (featuring all bonus DLC)

Tom — Insurgency: Sandstorm

Although Insurgency: Sandstorm doesn't reach the same dizzying heights as other more notable titles in the FPS genre visually, it makes up for it with incredible sound design and intense tactile gunplay. I've always been a sucker for first-person shooters (or 'shootybangs,' as our esteemed leader Luke likes to call them), and the chaotic nature of large-scale firefights makes for some of my favourite video game experiences. Sometimes, though, it's nice to get stuck into something like Insurgency: Sandstorm, which does away with large-scale warfare in favour of smaller-teamed tactile gameplay — and I've never felt so anxious when playing a shooter before. Bullet damage is ramped up enough to allow the game to straddle the line between arcade and simulation, so a couple of well-placed rounds will have you kissing the dirt. That knowledge, combined with some of the most impressive sound design elements I've come across to date, makes Insurgency: Sandstorm a ridiculously intense game to play... and it makes it an incredibly satisfying experience.

If you've just rushed to buy the game, you've already made your first mistake; to succeed, you need to know how to take things slow, check corners, correctly use cover to your advantage, and keep your ass out of open areas. If you can handle not running around quick-scoping everybody, you'll have an absolute blast with this. The current sale has 25% knocked off the price, but to be honest, Insurgency: Sandstorm is well worth its full price, so any discount is a bonus — Maximum Games recently released an update that fixed the unobtainable Insurgency: Sandstorm achievements, so now is a great time to play and finally complete the game.

Insurgency: Sandstorm

Battle in the war-torn environments of a contemporary conflict through a series of intense co-op and PvP multiplayer modes. Feel every bullet and fear every impact in fierce close quarters combat as your team fights toward victory.

Is anything here doing it for you, or will you be getting yourself a different slice of awesomeness from the sales? Let us know down in the comments!