TA Team Picks (October 13th)

Microsoft is offering discounts on plenty of titles for Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Xbox 360, and PC in the Xbox Store this week. Come check out the selection of titles the TA news team recommends…

It’s that time of the week again when we scour the Xbox sales and find a selection of games we think are worthy of your time. As with every week, there are currently discounts on a range of titles across Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Xbox 360, and PC.

Heidi is tasking you with understanding the private lives of a group of mutated citizens, while Luke is interested in what the hands of fate have in store for you. Sean plans on taking you across a desolate world, and Tom puts you behind the wheel of extremely large vehicles.

Bargains from the latest Xbox sales


Heidi — Mutazione

I was actually hoping this one would crop up soon so I could choose it for my sales pick. I thought Mutazione was one of the nicest gaming surprises of this year (it actually came out for Xbox in 2021, but I was apparently late to the party) and I really enjoyed it. I remember watching gameplay videos before getting it and thinking, ‘will I like this? It looks like it’s just walking around and talking to people.’ And to be fair, a lot of what you do is walking around and talking to people — and it’s fantastic!

Mutazione describes itself as a “mutant soap opera” — if this is the case, I clearly need to watch more soap operas; I was completely carried away by the story and definitely had some ‘oh dang! Let me put the controller down and process this,’ moments when the story had a sudden twist. We play as Kai, who’s come to stay with her ill grandfather. Mutazione is made up of a small and extremely tight-knit community — an apocalyptic meteor strike, and the strange mutations it caused in survivors, left the town isolated from the rest of the world, meaning Mutazione’s community had to rely on each other. Despite this closeness, secrets, mysteries, tragedies, and resentments lurk under the town’s friendly exterior. The community welcomes Kai, and we learn more about the residents as we join in with everything from band performances to private arguments. Mutazione beautifully explores themes of grief and love, and there’s a half heart-warming, half-melancholy aspect to the game. The dialogue and pacing of the story is one reason why “just walking around and talking to people” is so much fun in Mutazione (on an unrelated sidenote, the sound effects for each character’s dialogue must surely feature in an ASMR video somewhere) and you really do feel like you’re invested in this small town’s story. The characters are all engaging, and the game keeps you moving on without losing its mysterious atmosphere.

Checking in with all the characters and learning about them is a key part of the game; another is its gardens. We collect seeds throughout the game and populate gardens with them. Each garden has a theme, and different seeds add to different themes — when you sing the matching growth song to that theme, you can watch the plants grow before your eyes. Each plant has its own music to add to the collective song, and the end result is a haunting, echoing musical garden — you can lose a lot of time just listening to each song you create. The world of Mutazione is beautiful, and full of immersive ambient sounds. It’s not an action-packed game, and there technically isn’t much to do, but living in Mutazione feels like a beautiful, calming, melancholy experience that’s unlike any other game I’ve played this year — I have waffled on about this game for a while now, and I know I can’t hog too much of the article, so I will just say that even though I’d happily play through the game again, it is also possible to complete it very quickly, which is something to bear in mind if you’re planning on just one playthrough and would prefer a longer game. Since it can be shorter, recommending it while it’s on sale feels like a good compromise.



A mutant soap opera where small-town gossip meets the supernatural. Join Kai as she arrives in the mysterious community of Mutazione to care for her ailing grandfather. Discover scenic hangouts, magical gardens, new friends, and old secrets… They can survive an apocalyptic meteor strike, but can they survive their small-town drama?


Luke — Hand of Fate 2

Having loved the original to bits, I was always going to be all over Hand of Fate 2 considering how many improvements the sequel brings to the table. In the same vein as the first one, this quirky fantasy game takes the form of a tabletop adventure as you explore maps made up of unique location and event cards. Certain cards offer permanent rewards for successfully resolving them, typically new equipment or the ability to build that card into your deck to add it to the random encounter pool on your next adventure — great if it’s one that offers a reprieve from more challenging events, or has powerful rewards that could help get your next outing off on the right foot. This board game-esque format gives way to action-packed battles when fights kick off, and this is much slicker than the original game’s somewhat clunky combat, somewhat like a simpler version of the free-flowing Batman Arkham melee system with a few fantasy tricks up its sleeve in place of gadgets.

Bringing this all together — along with a variety of chance- and skill-based mini-games that can sway the course of the action — is the game master, the enigmatic Dealer, who returns with another captivating performance, narrating the action and lamenting your shortcomings with supportive eloquence and withering words aplenty. Given what a step up this sequel is compared to the first game in just about every way, it’s a real shame we’ll likely never see a third Hand of Fate, as the developer Defiant Development cancelled all new projects back in 2019. Raise a toast to a team that was just hitting its stride by grabbing this, its finest work, for its lowest-ever price on Xbox at 70% off.

Hand of Fate 2

Hand of Fate 2

A new hero rises to challenge the Dealer in Hand of Fate 2! Master a living boardgame of infinitely replayable quests – unlock new cards, build your adventure, then defeat your foes in brutal real-time combat!

Draw your cards, play your hand and discover your fate!


Sean — Far: Lone Sails

If you’re a consumer of all things Game Pass, you may have played the excellent side-scrolling adventure game Far: Changing Tides, and if you’re looking for more of the same, I recommend picking up its older brother, Far: Lone Sails, for just $7.49/£6.24/€7.49 this week. Far: Lone Sails has you pilot a hulking and rickety land vessel across a desolate landscape, and it’s your job to keep the vessel’s engine in check while also ensuring you have enough speed and momentum to carry you forward through the game’s bleak world. It’s a delicate balancing act. You will need to constantly keep feeding the engine fuel to build up steam and speed to get you up steep inclines, but you’ll also need to be wary of how much steam is building up, as too much will cause an explosion, leaving you stranded in the middle of nowhere. While the ongoing resource management and looking after the vessel’s various systems is a bit of a chore, it’s highly enjoyable, especially once you get into a rhythm — I couldn’t put it down once I’d familiarised myself with how everything works and what I needed to do to progress. However, the game doesn’t let you get too comfortable or build up too much of a flow. On your travels, various obstacles will block your path, and it’s up to you to leave the comfort of your vehicle and solve the problem. These puzzle-platforming sections break up all of that resource management and offer some respite. As for the achievements, Far: Lone Sails is pretty easy, though there is a speed run achievement and another that requires a bit of grinding to complete.

FAR: Lone Sails

FAR: Lone Sails

Traverse a dried-out seabed littered with the remains of a decaying civilization. Keep your unique vessel going, overcome numerous obstacles and withstand the hazardous weather conditions. How far can you make it? What will you find?


Tom — Monster Jam Steel Titans

I’ve picked Monster Jam Steel Titans once before, I believe, but it’s definitely worth a second mention, especially when it’s better than its sequel by a fairly large margin. It gives you the opportunity to jump behind the wheel of many of Monster Jam’s most popular teams, such as Grave Digger, El Toro Loco, Max-D, and more. You begin with a basic training truck, but as you compete in a large number of arenas in time-based, destruction, and skill modes and race against other drivers in races and cross-country battles, you begin building your collection of trucks pretty quickly. Each truck can be upgraded with buffs to their statistics to help them perform better on and off the track, and a number of colour variants can be unlocked. While the crux of the game is based around performing in completions and working your way through the ranks to compete in the world finals, there is a quickplay menu that gives you the opportunity to play about in each mode to earn experience. Plus, there is an open world split into various biomes, each of which has hidden collectables to find. The open-world portion of this game is more of an added extra than the more forced areas in Steel Titans 2, which I personally prefer. Here, it’s pretty much all about performing awesome tricks, which is exactly what drew me to the real-world sport in the first place. The Xbox Store is offering this game with a 60% discount, which makes it a perfect time for you to jump in and give it a go yourself. It’s not an overly difficult completion, if a bit grindy at times, but I found I enjoyed my entire journey collecting the Monster Jam Steel Titans achievements, and I think you would too!

Monster Jam Steel Titans

Monster Jam Steel Titans

Real Trucks. Real Action. Monster Jam! Monster Jam Steel Titans delivers the complete Monster Jam experience for everybody to enjoy!

Will you be adding any of these games to your collection, or have you found something more alluring? Drop a comment below and let us know!

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