Thursday, July 15, 2021

The XBox Game Pass Chronicles Volume 2: Multiplayer

 With the pandemic in pause mode for a bit longer here in Minnesota, all my rowdy vaxxed friends come by every few weeks or so for some in-person local multiplayer. And so the Local Multiplayer section of Game Pass was thoroughly explored, with mixed results.


There was a time when Team17 were the kings of local multi with the Worms series, until a string of lacklustre releases or the march of time or both made us all stop caring. Golf With your Friends isn’t a BAD minigolf game, but it’s not as fun as a local multiplayer game as it looks like it is from trailers showing primarily online modes.

The local modes are turn-based and controller-passing, which is fine except that everyone not going first can learn how to play a hole by watching other players go before them. The classic mode’s first course is a mix of pretty standard minigolf holes and then quirky holes with tricks like water jumps or spinning barrels with holes in them. It’s fine but it is VERY casual and not particularly exciting. Other modes might be better.


This is an action-strategy competitive game with a very Towerfall or Battleblock Theater vibe. Two teams of four compete in a 2D pixelly battleground to complete one of three objectives before the other team. My vision sometimes gives me problems with games like this if the playfield is too large or the characters are too indistinct or the pace is too quick, but KQB isn’t too bad on any of those fronts so I was able to manage.

The biggest limitation with local online play is that, well, the teams are 4 each and most systems only support 4 controllers and most people only own four controllers, so it’s 2v2 with bots in a couch-based setting. But I’m hoping to get better at it and explore strategies and modes and whatnot.


Tetris has been a multiplayer staple for decades, so it’s odd that Tetris Effect took this long to add multiplayer modes. There’s a versus mode, but it’s only limited to 2 players, which is pretty disappointing since there’s lots of 4-player Tetris modes throughout history. 

There’s also a three-player cooperative mode, which is more interesting. You battle AI opponents as a trio with your own individual boards but at various times and for various reasons, your three boards combine into one giant board that all three players take turn dropping pieces into. And of course, it’s still Tetris Effect, so all the music and particle effects are there, even if there’s no VR mode on XBox. Not bad.


Didn’t get a chance to try Hotshot Racing (retro low-poly arcade racer) or Totally Reliable Delivery Service (zany indie game whose unplayability is the draw, I think) but we’ll see how those go.

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