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As Dusk Falls' Couch Co-op Makes a Medium Thriller More Memorable

As Dusk Falls' Couch Co-op Makes a Medium Thriller More Memorable

As my wife and I played through Us Dusk Falls, a tense new interactive thriller that recently launched on Xbox Game Pass, we would regularly turn to each other on the couch and say, "Coin flip. "

In Us Dusk Falls, up to eight people playing together in a local co-op can simultaneously vote on what the game's characters should do next. Think Black Mirror: Bandersnatch mixed with Jackbox's multi-player multiplayer brand of trivia. Similar to the Jackbox game, you don't even need a controller - you can just use your phone (though you'll need to download a companion app).

Much of the story of As Dusk Falls revolves around a hostage situation at a motel, and as you might expect, the decisions can be very difficult. In one instance, we had to choose between pointing a gun at someone or dropping it to the ground. Generally, the election with the most votes is the one the character will actually make, although some major decisions require full consent. If there is a tie, the game will randomly choose between the options.

Throughout our games, we relied on this "coin flip" regularly to add some unpredictability. Will a character act calmly or succumb to pressure? I almost always chose the safe route, but sometimes my wife would make more chaotic decisions about what would happen. In other cases, some choices will be equally good or bad - so we will mutually decide to split the vote and let the character "make the decision". These coin flips stress me out, but they also helped the characters make their choices like real people.

While it was a refreshing way to play a narrative-driven game, it's not an entirely new idea. Supermassive's 2017 thriller Hidden Agenda likewise turned a gritty drama into a party game. But I hope more sports take a similar approach. In the case of As Dusk Falls, playing with my wife would have turned into a more memorable experience, like a B-movie thriller plot. There are also a lot of branch routes, so we have a good excuse to return to the game.

And while my wife and I beat Us Dusk Falls in about seven hours over the course of a few evenings, we still have plenty of great couch co-op games on Xbox Game Pass that we can turn to next. Earlier this year, for example, we had a blast with the first few hours of Nobody Saves the World, a dungeon crawler where you play as all kinds of creatures and characters and mix and match their powers. Huh. Huh. It didn't actually launch with a local cooperative; Instead, we made it with him on the TV and with me on Xbox Cloud Gaming on my laptop. Since the feature was officially added in April, we're ready to go back.

Our Xbox Game Pass co-op backlog is stacked with other potential things to play. My colleague Andrew Webster has already written about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge and how it captures the essence of the classic arcade game. I downloaded the puzzle game Escape Academy after reading a review for Ash Parish - My wife and I have never had a physical escape room, but I think we'll have a lot of fun with the game's virtual ones. I'm excited for Halo Infinity's split-screen multiplayer to (finally) come out so we can explore Zeta Halo together.

The rate at which Microsoft adds games to Xbox Game Pass, that co-op backlog will almost certainly continue to grow. But someday, I want to return to Us Dusk Falls with a bigger group: I wonder how the story can play out with eight people who decide to flip the coin together.

The first phone of anything doesn't live up to the immense hype that the company generated ahead of its launch. The lights and glyph notifications on the back panel are not a total gimmick though they are more of a fashion statement than anything.

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