The following is a review by Ellery Woods Parker III, who is joining the Complete Xbox Team. Open Roads is, available on Xbox Series X|S & Xbox Game Pass.

Bottom Line Up Front

The game immediately hits you with a unique art style that melds detailed environments with Saturday morning cartoon characters—think old school Scooby Doo.  Pair this with the narrative and gameplay, and you’ve got yourself a movie collaboration between Lifetime and Hallmark: part wholesome, part family drama.  The story kept me interested in wanting to know more about the family mystery I uncovered.  And although the game fades in the last 30 minutes, this 5-hour experience is a great game to pick up in-between your longer pursuits.  The game is played to experience the story so you won’t find any challenge to the gameplay.  What you will find, though, is a story told in a way that leaves you wanting to find out more.



You play as Tess, a teenager in 2003.  As someone who was 20 in 2003, the nostalgia was a welcomed joy.  Printed out turn-by-turn directions, the colorful iMac, and library book due date stamps flooded my emotions and brought back so many memories.  This was an unexpected highlight of the game for me!

As you and your mom are packing up to move, you uncover what appears to be mysterious letters hidden away and you’re able to convince her to follow the clues to uncover the truth.  Your adventure takes you to your mom’s childhood summer home and a Canadian house boat.  Exploring your environment provides details about your family, usually followed up by engaging with your mom to know more, if you choose.  Subtle details of your family can be discovered just by being curious.  For instance, looking at my grandma and mom’s prescribed medicine effortlessly adds context to the story, and their life.

There is a distinctive part in the story about 30 minutes before credits are rolled.  For me, this would have been a perfect ending point.  The choice to continue on and tie up all loose ends dragged the story on and caused a lackluster finish to the adventure.


Gameplay Mechanics


There is one overlying objective in the game: uncover the truth about the hidden letters found in your grandma’s attic.  The micro-objectives, written in a notebook, help you along your journey.

The notebook-style approach to documenting objectives was clever and fit in with the early 2000’s vibe.


You move around the world in first person, picking up and examining items of interest.  When moving from examining an object to moving around in first person, the transitions sometimes weren’t smooth and the point of view jumped around for a second before smoothing out.


There isn’t much when it comes to accessibility, but one of the options I appreciated was the ability to choose “auto advance” or “require input” for the dialogue.  As someone who is a slow reader, this was a huge win for me!



  • Replayability

I am not one to re-watch movies, and since this game reminds me of a movie, there isn’t much replayability value in it for me.  If you loved the experience and are one to watch movies again and again, you might find yourself putting in extra hours of playtime.

  • Art Style

The choice to combine two different art styles in the game was a great design choice.  Having hand drawn characters helped the game feel like a movie I was a part of.

  • Audio
    • Score/OST: Only now, as I write this, have I realized there wasn’t much music. And I also have just realized that I didn’t miss or need it either.
    • Sound Design: What immersed me in the game was the story, but I can’t help but think about what the experience would be like with a more robust sound design.
    • Voice Acting: The voice acting was really good. Opal, Tess’s mom, is voiced by Kerri Russell.  When I think of Russell, I think of Felicity, which in turn makes me think of the early 2000’s.  Once again, the dev’s were on brand with the time period.
  • Achievements
    • 16 for the 1k Gamerscore
      • I acquired 11/16 during my playthrough


The £17 price tag is great for those who value story and is a must-play for those who have Game Pass.  I can’t say I thought too much about this game when I wasn’t playing it, but continued to pick it over the handful of other games I am currently working through.


review by Ellery Woods Parker III

  • 80%
    CX Score - 80%



  • Well Written Story
  • Art Style
  • Voice Acting



  • The last 30 mins
  • Sometimes choppy transitions

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