When Bug Fables: The Everlasting Sapling joined Xbox Game Pass last week, we got stupidly excited. Some of us here have already played the game on our Nintendo Switches over the years, but now the ability to re-experience the game again, complete with better visuals and achievements? It's like a dream come true.
Jumping out of the realm of Xbox for a moment to give you a bit of backstory, Bug Fables essentially feels like a spiritual successor to the cult classic Paper Mario series. No, not the new ones. We're talking about the classic titles that hit the Nintendo 64 and GameCube, which were surprisingly deep RPGs that packed a lot of humour, heart, and depth into their combat systems. While recent entries in the Paper Mario series have failed to live up to those classics, Bug Fables shines bright, attracting us like a moth to a flame.
In a generation filled with fantasy RPGs, containing brooding protagonists and dark atmospheres, Bug Fables is a breath of fresh air. Its charming pop-up book aesthetic is immediately eye catching, and is accompanied by the unusual setting of everyday areas, but from the perspective of a bug. As you control your party of three - Vi, Kabbu, and Leif - you'll encounter what are seemingly normal environments, but from their point of view. It's just as fun to see where you'll go next as it is to play the game.
But what makes it one of the best RPGs on Xbox right now? It's simply offering something not many other games are. Like we mentioned before, we're in an era of dark and brooding RPG stories right now, filled with complex systems and intricate mechanics. Bug Fables scraps a lot of that, but still has enough depth to keep even the most hardcore of RPG players invested.
It's consistently funny for a start, filled with inventive ideas, and moves at such a pace it's hard to put down. Its combat also keeps you engaged too, with attacks that demand you to perform quick-time events on each turn. The better you are at these, the more damage you'll throw at your foes, encouraging you to up your game in every battle. It also pushes back when it needs to as well. Bosses demand a true tactical method of defeating them, and as a result, prevent you from getting too relaxed into the combat.
There's just a charm that sets it apart from other RPGs on Xbox Game Pass. We're not saying it is the best, but it's up there. Many have criticised it for borrowing too much from classic Paper Mario games, but Xbox owners may never have got to experience those. There's a reason Nintendo fans have rallied behind those classic instalments, and if this is the closest we'll get to an experience reminiscent of Paper Mario, that's fine by us.
Have you checked out Bug Fables: The Everlasting Sapling on Xbox Game Pass yet? Let us know in the comments below.