Some notes on games I spent a few hours on recently:


I heard a surprising number of mentions of PowerWash Simulator on the Waypoint podcast, as a chill relaxing game, and it was available on Game Pass, so I figured I’d give it a try.

Or at least my memory is that it was described as a relaxing game, but I might be misremembering; I won’t exactly say it was stressful but I also didn’t find it all that chill? Too much time spent looking for spots to get complete coverage on one part of what you’re washing, and also navigating around took more time than I would have liked; my guess is that it controls better with keyboard and mouse rather than controller?

And my guess is also that the main plus of the game is that it will be happy to pat you on the head and tell you that you’ve done a good job. Which can be nice! But that wasn’t what I was particularly looking for, so I stopped after an hour or so.


Bastion was our VGHVI game for September, so I replayed it. It was interesting to return to it after having played Hades; the two games have, unsurprisingly, a lot in common, but, also unsurprisingly, I liked the studio’s later game quite a bit more.

And my feelings about Bastion were pretty similar to what I felt about it when I first played it a little over a decade ago: it feels like it’s probably doing things that I would like, but somehow I didn’t feel like digging into it enough to really come to an opinion about it? So I honestly have no idea whethere it’s saying anything interesting about the themes in the game or if it’s just gesturing at ideas without much substance.

It encourages you to loop through the game again after playing it; I feel like that’s the intended experience, and that I would have gotten more out of it on the second and subsequent loops. Partly because I’d be able to re-evaluate early bits of the plot and settings in light of later events; but also because I’d be able to play the game more on autopilot, and pay more attention to aspects of the game beyond the combat. Which, I think, the designers are aware of: in particular, a decent amount of the narration happens while you’re navigating through the world and (probably) fighting, and so it’s natural for the player to not be paying close attention to that the first time? An interesting choice.

But, for whatever reason, I decided not to loop through it again. Probably if I’d made the choice myself to revist the game, I would have done a second loop, but as it was I was mostly getting it out of the way for discussion before moving on to something I was more interested in.

This looping structure is also in conversation with the structure in Hades; in the newer game, the loops are shorter (especially at the start), and so of course you’re going to go through at least a few of the loops? Which, as a corollary, means that each loop in Hades reveals much less of what’s going on; those two factors combine to make it natural to keep on going for several loops instead of stopping after one. (And, to be sure, Hades gives you lots of other reasons to keep going; the loops are worked into pretty much every aspect of the game.)

Anyways, happy enough to have returned briefly to Bastion, I had a pleasant time and we had a good discussion, but I definitely didn’t dig deeply enough into the game to be able to really think about it.


Venba is a game about growing up as an Indian immigrant in Canada. Basically a visual novel; there’s a cooking mini game, which the game uses to tell the story.

And it’s really lovely! Not sure if I would have played it if it weren’t on Game Pass, but it was there, and I’d heard that it was both quite pleasant and short, so I gave it a try. Moving story, I enjoyed the cooking game and I thought it worked well in context. I don’t have aton to say about it or anything, just that I’m glad that it exists and that I gave it a try. And that I’m glad that Game Pass exists and makes it easier for folks to try out games like this.

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