Microsoft’s Game Pass service is easily worth the price of admission. Many might balk at the concept of having their video game library locked behind a subscription service, but the fact is subscribers get access to an incredible selection of titles spanning from indie darlings to triple-A blockbusters for a surprisingly affordable monthly fee.


Related: Everything You Need To Know About Xbox Game Pass

With such a dizzying array of fantastic titles on display, it can be a daunting task deciding which ones are worth a player’s time. Given that the cost of entry is taken care of with the subscription fee, the most pressing matter is determining the best use of your hard drive space. Thankfully, the diamonds of this collection are readily apparent. Here’s a look at the greatest games that Xbox Game Pass has to offer.

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The selections listed here will include games available on EA Play, which is included with a subscription to Game Pass Ultimate.


Halo: The Master Chief Collection

The Rookie from ODST, Master Chief in Halo CE, Noble Six in Reach

Approximate Game Length N/A
Genre First-Person Shooter
Developer 343 Industries
X|S Enhanced Yes
File Size 118 GB (November 2022)

The adventures of the Master Chief have never been as accessible as they are in the Master Chief Collection. This gathering of Halo games is the definitive collection of 343 Industries’ endeavors to immortalize the series. Not only is every mainline Halo game (not counting Halo 5: Guardians) included, but the fantastic Halo 3: ODST and Halo: Reach were added as well. From beloved campaign co-op to thrilling Firefight matches to iconic multiplayer modes, the Master Chief Collection has it all. Anyone who thinks of themselves as a Halo fan should consider it a must-play from Xbox Game Pass. And for those who have never completed the Master Chief’s saga, there is no better way to finish the fight.

Pentiment

pentiment pc scriptorium lit candles andreas guy pietro talking

Approximate Game Length 17 Hours
Genre Historical Narrative Adventure
Developer Obsidian Entertainment
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 10 GB (November 2022)

Looking at gameplay pictures of Pentiment is not enough to fully grasp its charm, though it does showcase the artistic style you’ll find throughout the game. To boil down Pentiment to its genre as a simple narrative adventure is a disservice to what Obsidian Entertainment has made here. We’ve long known Obsidian to be masters at crafting immersive storylines and grounded dialogue, and they showcase their skill here by choosing one of the most unique time periods and settings in the history of gaming.

You play as an artist learning to become a master at a Benedictine monastic church, and while that might sound like an environment that is as dry as a dusty old book, it is artfully (pun intended) brought to vivacious life thanks to Obsidian’s narrative talents. We don’t want to spoil too much, but if there was ever a game you needed to risk playing even though you knew nothing about it, it’s Pentiment.

Somerville

Exploring The Highway In Somerville

Approximate Game Length 4 Hours
Genre Adventure
Developer Jumpship
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 10 GB (November 2022)

If you’re a fan of games like Limbo and Inside, then elements of Somerville will definitely appeal to you. The game is highly atmospheric, imparting its story to you wordlessly through small character actions and background events. However, there are a few key differences between what you find in Somerville and what we’ve experienced in, let’s say, Inside. Rather than playing like a 2D puzzle platformer, Somerville adds an extra dimension a la Little Nightmares.

In addition to that, you have companions with you in the form of your family and your dog. It’s a very short game, so diving in and losing yourself in this harrowing story about some sort of alien invasion is not a huge ask. It’s the perfect game to play when you want some light puzzles (and chase sequences) with excellent environmental storytelling.

Prodeus

Prodeus Sprites vs Models will make gameplay feel smoother

Approximate Game Length 8 Hours
Genre First-Person Shooter
Developer Bounding Box Software Inc.
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 2 GB (November 2022)

It feels like an egregious error to have not included Prodeus here sooner. Launched in early access, the unbridled potential of this modern take on the beloved “boomer shooter” genre is palpable from the moment you open the menu. If you have a fondness for the look of Doom (1993) but wished it was as speedy and relevant as Doom Eternal, Prodeus is the game you have been waiting for.

Details on the plot are scarce; you’re more or less thrust into missions where you have to destroy demon-looking aliens or alien-looking demons. But the story doesn’t matter. Prodeus is all about the rush of gunplay. You hurtle through levels using the variety of weapons at your disposal a la the original Doom. Even though it’s in early access, it feels incredibly polished already. Prodeus is a rush of fun that any fan of first-person shooters needs to play.

Vampire Survivors

Divano in Mad Forest in Vampire Survivors

Approximate Game Length N/A
Genre Roguelike
Developer Poncle
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 2 GB (November 2022)

On paper, Vampire Survivors is one of the simplest games you’ve ever heard of. You move your little Castlevania-esque character across a screen, slowly accruing power-ups that activate automatically to attack the increasing swarms of foes that shamble about you. That’s basically the whole game. But my god if it isn’t the most engrossing thing you could be playing right now. Easy to dive into, hard to leave, Vampire Survivors is this year’s best roguelike.

Originally on PC, it has become available on Xbox consoles as well. It is an ingenious addition to the Game Pass library. All too often you might find yourselves wondering what big time investment you should install and play next from within the catalog of games available on Game Pass. Vampire Survivors possesses the digestibility of a mobile game with the polish of an arcade classic.

Amnesia: Collection

Amnesia The Dark Descent Elevator

Approximate Game Length N/A
Genre Horror Adventure
Developer Frictional Games, The Chinese Room
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 5 GB (November 2022)

Technically speaking, Amnesia: Collection comes with three games: The Dark Descent, A Machine for Pigs, and Justine. And while certain titles within this collection are definitely more memorable than the others, as a whole, they are all fantastic horror additions to the Xbox Game Pass library. The Amnesia series redefined what it meant to be a small, indie horror game. Despite not possessing the same budget as a triple-A title, The Dark Descent captured our attention and terrified us by masterfully using what elements it could.

An intriguing narrative is laid out before us through amazing voice acting and well-written, in-game notes. And the atmosphere is second to none. The occasional jump scare is doled out in perfect measure, so the tension of wandering through the dark is punctuated by spikes in fright. The first game is a stand-out title, and the entire collection is worth the time it takes to creep through the haunting storylines just so you can experience the phenomenon that is and was Amnesia.

Soma

Soma game

Approximate Game Length 10 Hours
Genre First-Person Horror
Developer Frictional Games
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 16 GB (November 2022)

Frictional Games is largely known for their wildly popular indie horror title, Amnesia: The Dark Descent. And while Soma did not reach the same levels of Let’s-Player popularity, it shows definite improvement and more polish than its predecessor. The level of story-telling in Soma is so enhanced, replaying The Dark Descent feels disappointing in comparison. Questions of consciousness and morality are expertly presented to players alongside all the horror and unnerving atmosphere you would expect from one of Frictional’s games.

Trapped in the deepest recesses of the ocean after an apocalypse has wiped out the rest of humanity on the surface, the premise alone is terrifying. But the darkened corridors, haunting environments, and emphasis on running instead of fighting all contribute to making Soma one of the best horror experiences you can try.

Persona 5

Joker's MAsk from Persona 5

Approximate Game Length 100 Hours
Genre JRPG
Developer Atlus
X|S Enhanced Yes
File Size 39 GB (November 2022)

Persona 5 is decidedly Cool.

Mechanically, it doesn’t stray far from conventional JRPG elements, but it’s such a flashy game, with so much style and panache, it feels remarkably modern. It goes to show how far art direction can go in making a game world come alive. The story follows a group of high school students, each with their ambitions and plots, working together to curb the wicked intentions of the surrounding adults. Despite its staggeringly long runtime, it still feels like a spoiler to go into much more detail than that.

Suffice to say the plot of Persona 5 is gripping (and rich enough to support a sequel in a completely different genre) which is no surprise considering Persona 5 is already a game that walks between genres, including JRPG, social/romance sim, and even some light adventure elements. Even with its daunting length and traditional riff on the genre, Persona 5 is an absolute must-play and a marquee release for Xbox Game Pass.

Scorn

placing hand in terminal to open door

Approximate Game Length 7 Hours
Genre First-Person Horror Puzzle
Developer Ebb Software
X|S Enhanced Yes
File Size 18 GB (November 2022)

Scorn is a difficult game to categorize as it incorporates elements of walking simulators, horror games, puzzle games, and first-person shooters into one, uniquely atmospheric title. Since it’s so tough to pin down, it’s very likely players will approach Scorn expecting one thing and getting another.

However, if you walk into Scorn and just let the game do its thing, you’ll find it to be one of the most interesting experiences within the Xbox Game Pass library. There is no dialogue expounding an intricate story for you, no lore documents hidden in the crevices of the environment for you to read, and no hints if you get stuck in a certain section. While this might sound daunting, it’s actually one of the best things about the game.

The lack of hand-holding allows you to explore your surroundings, with only guesswork and the barest of theories to help you piece together the “story” of this decrepit, alien world. And we haven’t even mentioned the visuals of this place. Largely inspired by the work of H.R. Giger, every landscape, corridor, and enemy type just screams biomechanical grotesqueries. You may spend more time staring at what Scorn’s textured doors and wriggling keys look like than actually using them.

Immortality

immortality key art

Approximate Game Length 5 Hours
Genre FMV Narrative Mystery
Developer Sam Barlow, Half Mermaid
X|S Enhanced Yes
File Size 26 GB (November 2022)

Immortality lists a few important content warnings before players even start the game. Take heed. It’s an adult game, and it doesn’t skirt around its mature themes.

Immortality is a video mystery thriller set in the world of film production, and it could easily be ruined for some players with even slight spoilers. Other than taking time to make sure it’s a game that’s appropriate for you, go in blind: the joy of Immortality is in unraveling its plot and many mysteries.

With that said, the mechanics of Immortality are pretty straightforward. At the outset players are presented with a series of video clips that can be scrubbed forwards and backward. At any point, players can pause the footage and click a part of the frame to be shown another clip with a similar person, pattern, or object. And that’s it — no more details

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey

Assassin's Creed Odyssey Statue In The River

Approximate Game Length 45 Hours
Genre Action Role-Playing
Developer Ubisoft Quebec
X|S Enhanced Yes
File Size 75 GB (November 2022)

Odyssey takes Assassin’s Creed into the era of Greek antiquity, giving players the opportunity to explore the “pre-history” of the franchise’s central conflict between the Assassins and Templars through the eyes of an exiled Spartan warrior-turned-mercenary. To frontload the obvious caveat, it does iterate on the action-RPG roots set in Origins. While some may find that divisive, it’s hard to argue that it hasn’t been polished tastefully. While cementing the game in action-RPG territory does detract from the franchise’s stealth-action hallmarks, the sheer amount of variety introduced via varied weapons and combat skills is a welcome detour from the established Assassin’s Creed standards.

The setting itself is beautifully rendered. Whether sailing or journeying by horseback, Odyssey’s open-world take on Ancient Greece is vibrant, stunning, and packed to the brim with content. There is a lengthy main questline, of course, but the number of side quests, whether radiant or story-based, verges on the absurd — however, it’s hard to fault a game as ambitious as Odyssey for simply having too much to do. Needless to say, you’ll have a delightfully deep timesink on your hands.

Costume Quest

costume quest 1 game characters

Approximate Game Length 6 Hours
Genre Comedy JRPG
Developer Double Fine
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 1 GB (November 2022)

Costume Quest is a family-friendly RPG set against a lovable Halloween backdrop. It’s not a game loaded with complex systems or deep progression, but it more than makes up for that with cute characters and terrific writing. The game follows a cast of kids in their Halloween costumes on a nighttime adventure. Battles take place in turn-based instances with Paper Mario-style quick-time events to apply bonus damage or effects. But the best part is, of course, seeing the cast of characters take on their respective costumes’ abilities

Chock-full of easter eggs and collectibles, Costume Quest does have more than enough fun to unpack for anyone looking for a theme-appropriate weekend of gaming. Fans of Double Fine’s brand of quirky writing and joie-de-vivre should absolutely make room for their short foray into spooky season.

Chivalry 2

Chivalry 2 countering cavalry

Approximate Game Length N/A
Genre Multiplayer Hack-and-Slash
Developer Torn Banner
X|S Enhanced Yes
File Size 21 GB (November 2022)

Chivalry 2 is pandemonium. After a surprisingly thorough tutorial where the game teaches players how to expertly wield giant broadswords (naturally unwieldy weapons), players are entered into a team-based multiplayer siege or battle royale where all that training goes out the window. Chivalry captures the chaos of having 64 players with swords collide with each other and fight for survival. There’s nothing else quite like it.

Complete with a dedicated “scream” button, every player in a match is experiencing their own little piece of a loud, brutal, and sometimes silly medieval war. It can take some practice for any one player to make an impact on the larger battle, but even the most timid footsoldier will have fun laying siege to a castle.

metal hellsinger player downing enemies with the crossbow

Approximate Game Length 5 Hours
Genre First-Person Shooter
Developer The Outsiders
X|S Enhanced Yes
File Size 13 GB (November 2022)

Shooting demons to some rippingly good metal music is enticement enough to play Metal: Hellsinger, but having to do so to the exact beat of the music makes it a must-play of your Xbox Game Pass library. Other games have already tried this tactic of having players take actions to the tempo of their soundtracks, but few have felt as good as Hellsinger. Bear in mind, this is not some narrative-engrossing title like The Last of Us. If you’re playing Metal: Hellsinger, you’re doing it to shoot up hellish demons to some blood-pumping music, and that’s it.

It feels supremely satisfying, almost akin to the feeling you get from cleaning a muck-ridden surface in PowerWash Simulator. Obviously, the major difference is that Metal: Hellsinger is less on the relaxing side and more on the this-is-heckin-freakin-awesome side of things.

SpiderHeck

Leaping With A Laser Sword In Spiderheck

Approximate Game Length N/A
Genre Fighting Platformer/Brawler
Developer Neverjam
X|S Enhanced Yes
File Size 1 GB (November 2022)

Chaotic fun is the name of the game when you’re playing SpiderHeck. Picture a far more frantic and neon-looking version of Super Smash Bros., complete with little spider fellows and glowing weapons to pick up in the arena. It’s just so easy to jump into SpiderHeck, and it’s hard to put down.

Not only does it give you a chance to fight against buddies on your couch or online strangers, SpiderHeck features a PvE mode where you and a team work together to fend off robotic-looking opponents in the various map layouts available. Flying around the seemingly low-gravity arenas with your webs and scampering across unstable platforms might throw you off at first, but once you learn how to settle in with the chaos, SpiderHeck will have you hook, line, and sinker.

Slime Rancher 2

Slime Rancher 2 Cotton Slime

Approximate Game Length 9 Hours
Genre First-Person Simulation Farming
Developer Monomi Park
X|S Enhanced Yes
File Size 1 GB (November 2022)

Slime Rancher 2 is currently a game preview available on Xbox Game Pass, but fans of the original will find a lot to love here, even if the game is incomplete. Most of your favorite slimes have returned, along with some adorable new ones. For example, we now have Cotton Slimes, with adorable bunny ears and a proclivity to hop out of any enclosures you make for them unless you spring for high walls (and possibly the air net).

A couple of the systems have been reworked as well, but overall, this is the Slime Rancher you know and love. This is the game you’re going to sink hours into as you lovingly build your ranch up and explore the environs of Rainbow Island. It’s just a fantastic and delightful addition to your library.

Hardspace: Shipbreaker

Hardspace-Shipbreaker---a ship

Approximate Game Length 25 Hours
Genre Sci-Fi Sim
Developer Blackbird Interactive
X|S Enhanced Yes
File Size 3 GB (November 2022)

Despite its harsh setting and dystopian narrative, Hardspace: Shipbreaker is a ‘zen’ simulation that has players slowly disassembling spaceships. Without spoiling any of the game’s gripping plot, players find themselves at the mercy of an all-powerful mega-corp that needs near endless resources to fulfill its obligations. Each new objective introduces a new craft that needs to be slowly and meticulously cut down and sold for parts.

As the game progresses, players unlock new tools that make taking on bigger (and more dangerous) ships more viable. But make no mistake: Hardspace: Shipbreaker is always about, well, breaking ships (in space). It won’t be for everyone, but fans of desperate narratives or soothing gameplay (see: PowerWash Simulator) should make sure to give Hardspace: Shipbreaker a try.

Deathloop

Deathloop-Colt-Julianna-Xbox-Game-Pass-Bethesda-Arkane-Microsoft

Approximate Game Length 16 Hours
Genre First-Person Adventure
Developer Arkane Studios
X|S Enhanced Yes
File Size 36 GB (November 2022)

Microsoft’s acquisition of Bethesda has already reaped dividends, and the arrival of Deathloop on Xbox Game Pass is yet another trophy of the deal. Xbox Series X|S owners can now play Arkane’s highly stylized time loop title. Players are thrust into the confused mind of Colt Vahn as he wakes up on a beach only to realize he’s been stuck on an island that is going through a recursive loop every day. His job? To break the loop.

Several elements of Arkane’s immersive sim formula can be found in Deathloop, but a lot of them have been streamlined to make way for a PvP experience. Other players can invade your game as a character named Juliana, who is intent on preserving the loop. It’s a fun title, and one that signals Arkane’s willingness to experiment with the genre they are so well known for.

Ni No Kuni: Wrath Of The White Witch

A cutscene featuring characters in Ni no Kuni Wrath Of The White Witch

Approximate Game Length 40 Hours
Genre JRPG
Developer Level-5
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 25 GB (November 2022)

Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is a love letter to JRPGs. It borrows from Dragon Quest, Pokemon, and Final Fantasy and weaves some of their most cherished ideas into a classic story of fantastical creatures, grand kingdoms, and wrathful witches. Not only is it a near-perfect encapsulation of 30 years of JRPGs, but it’s one of the most gorgeous games ever made, thanks to the art and animation of Studio Ghibli (also known for their incredibly rich and lush world-building).

While Ni No Kuni may not reinvent the wheel or evolve the genre, it is a game that wears its heart on its sleeve, and nails everything it sets out to achieve. There are a lot of games that try to capture the magic of mid-90s console role-playing, but Ni No Kuni set the bar for JRPG nostalgia in 2013, and it has yet to be topped.

Gorogoa

Gorogoa - Listen to the Ringing around Specific Objects - The Boy finds a fruit in the garden

Approximate Game Length 2 Hours
Genre Puzzle Game
Developer Annapruna Interactive
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 2 GB (November 2022)

Gorogoa is a picture-puzzle game like no other. Modeled after simple children’s books like “Where’s Waldo” and “I Spy,” Gorogoa takes a very simple premise and injects it with visual splendor and spectacle. In it, players will interact with a series of 2D square panels, all of which are interconnected either in theme or physical space. If this all sounds a bit trippy and ‘heady,’ it’s because it is. Gorogoa is more interested in surprising its audience in unexpected ways than in having them follow a strict series of gameplay rules or formulas. The end result is a fascinating and novel experience worth seeing through to the end.

Sunset Overdrive

Cover of Sunset Overdrive

Approximate Game Length 12 Hours
Genre Open-World
Developer Insomniac Games
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 26 GB (November 2022)

A lot of players will never be able to get past Sunset Overdrive’s ‘attitude’ — it’s ripe with corny fourth-wall-breaking humor and zany antics. But it would be a shame to dismiss Sunset Overdrive, because its dazzling art style and speed make it one of the more propulsive open-world games available on Game Pass. Of course, this should come as no surprise from the makers of Marvel’s Spider-Man for PlayStation who cut their teeth on traversal mechanics and design here with Sunset Overdrive.

Sunset Overdrive regularly takes advantage of its own best elements (the game’s traversal mechanics and bright colors) to create some jaw-dropping levels with over-the-top setpieces. It has more than a handful of must-see moments.

Mirror’s Edge

First-Person View on top of a crane hanging over the edge of a tall building. Image credit: dice.se

Approximate Game Length 6 Hours
Genre First-Person Platformer
Developer DICE
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 6 GB (November 2022)

The original Mirror’s Edge was a breath of fresh air, with a one-of-a-kind aesthetic that expertly guided players through its stylized world. The game puts players in the shoes of Faith Connors who is parkouring her way across rooftops and corporate buildings couriering messages from one end of the map to the other.

Mirror’s Edge is a game that demands players to repeat and perfect its stages, prioritizing speed and style. And while first-person platformers are often derided for being hard to parse, years later Mirror’s Edge is still a blast to play and a feast for the eyes.

Kameo: Elements Of Power

Kameo cover art

Approximate Game Length 12 Hours
Genre Action-Adventure
Developer Rare
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 6 GB (November 2022)

When Kameo was first released as a launch title for the Xbox 360, it was derided for not ushering in a new generation of adventure gameplay — which, to be fair, it didn’t. That being said, Kameo is an excellent addition to the pantheon of games modeled after 3D Legend of Zelda titles.

While it didn’t set a new bar for the genre, it’s a delightful family-friendly(-ish) experience with some really novel gameplay ideas and mechanics. In Kameo, players can transform between different magic creatures, each with their own puzzle, combat, and movement abilities (not wholly dissimilar from the mask variations in Majora’s Mask). Anyone looking to scratch that Zelda itch should at least give Kameo a try.

Unravel

Unravel

Approximate Game Length 6 Hours
Genre Puzzle Platformer
Developer Coldwood Interactive
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 3 GB (November 2022)

Where Unravel really thrives is in its impressive presentation. Everything from its visuals to music and beyond are gorgeous without being one-note. And crucially, Unravel is a game that can be enjoyed by anyone comfortable using a controller to steer their player (in this case a lovable yarn doll named Yarny), from one edge of the screen to the other.

It’s a game that players can feel at home with, a fairly by-the-numbers 2D puzzle platformer in the style that has players jumping between obstacles and solving physics-based puzzles. Its plot can feel a bit heavy-handed, but the sum of its parts makes Unravel one of the best physics-based platforms from the last decade.

The Gunk

Exploring the world in The Gunk

Approximate Game Length 5 Hours
Genre Adventure Platformer
Developer Thunderful Games
X|S Enhanced Yes
File Size 9 GB (November 2022)

The Gunk didn’t make waves when it first released as it was a short platforming experience that didn’t push boundaries. However, there is a beauty in its straightforward nature. It is an easily approachable game that feels like the equivalent of a familiar movie you can watch while turning your brain off. It doesn’t give players much in the way of excitement or a riveting narrative, but it also doesn’t ask much of you. If you’re looking for a short game you can complete in one or two sittings, The Gunk is the perfect choice, as both its story and gameplay contribute to its digestible nature. All you have to do is uncover why the planet Becks and Rani landed on got overcome by the titular “gunk” in a short platforming adventure with light puzzle-solving mechanics. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.

Coffee Talk

Coffee-Talk-Episode-2-visual-novel-officer-and-horned-character

Approximate Game Length 5 Hours
Genre Visual Novel
Developer Toge Productions
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 662 MB (November 2022)

Visual novel games are a bit of a rarity in the Xbox Game Pass library, so it’s cause for celebration when we get one on there. Players can delight in being the coffee-brewing patient listener for all of the fantastical customers who walk through their door in Coffee Talk. Gameplay mostly rests on your conversational skills, but it’s a laidback experience that can serve as a nice change of pace from the usual fare you see on Game Pass. And seeing what Seattle would feel like if it was inhabited by “monsters” from popular fiction is as exciting as a fresh-brewed pot.

ClusterTruck

Trucks exploding as more trucks drive by in an icy level in Clustertruck

Approximate Game Length 3 Hours
Genre Indie Platformer
Developer Landfall Games
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 472 MB (November 2022)

Usually, platformers have you running and jumping over stable surfaces as obstacles and dangers throw themselves at you. ClusterTruck makes the surfaces you’re on half of the danger. This hilariously intense platforming experience has you leaping over and onto speeding semi-trucks. As you ramp up speed, the trucks begin ramming into each other, creating fiery explosions and teeny pockets of “safe” trailer space for you to land on as you rush to the finish line. In short, it becomes a clustertruck. Despite the frantic energy of the game, it’s a short title that won’t leave you feeling drained. Plus, there are sweet abilities you can unlock along the way that will have you excited for hurtling past the next truck.

Two Point Campus

Two Point Campus - Managing staff

Approximate Game Length N/A
Genre Management Simulation
Developer Two Point Studios
X|S Enhanced Yes
File Size 3 GB (November 2022)

Few management sims come close to approaching the breadth of freedom and building options that are offered in EA’s The Sims series. That said, Two Point Hospital and the more recent Two Point Campus are solid contenders. Giving players a more fine-tuned experience, developer Two Point Studios has crafted one of the most engaging (and entertaining) management sims currently available with the release of Two Point Campus, and its status as a Day One launch on Xbox Game Pass only sweetens the deal.

Manage a school of your choice by diving into budgets, organizing extracurriculars, and monitoring tuition. You can make one of the best educational institutions the world has ever seen, or you can give in to chaos and breed a learning place that focuses on fun, laziness, or medieval madness. Your choice!

Cooking Simulator

Cooking Simulator Cutting Board Recipe

Approximate Game Length 10 Hours
Genre Cooking Simulation
Developer Big Cheese Studio, GameBoom VR, Forever Entertainment S.A.
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 8 GB (November 2022)

Though many might consider the simulator genre to be a bit of a joke, it’s nothing short of surprising how phenomenal a lot of them have turned out to be. The Farming Simulator series has become a collection of premier simulation games, even having a bit of an esports following to them. Goat Simulator’s zaniness is legendary at this point. And who can forget the sheer, satisfying awesomeness of PowerWash Simulator (also on Xbox Game Pass).

Cooking Simulator follows in this fine tradition by taking the stresses and joys of running a kitchen and putting them into an enjoyable simulator game. Follow along with a variety of recipes and keep your establishment in fine working order as the game progresses. Cooking Simulator isn’t breaking any boundaries, but it’s a decent addition to the Xbox Game Pass library.

Watch Dogs 2

Watch dogs 2 (1)

Approximate Game Length 20 Hours
Genre Open-World Action
Developer Ubisoft
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 33 GB (November 2022)

Watch Dogs released to lackluster results, but its sequel improved on the first’s mechanics in such noticeable degrees that it is by far the better game. Now available on Xbox Game Pass, Watch Dogs 2 is a hilarious “hacking” sandbox where you can cause mayhem in a slightly futuristic San Francisco as part of an activist group known as DedSec. Though the game attempts to tackle a few serious subject matters regarding technological overwatch and privacy, that’s not why you should be playing this game. When Watch Dogs 2 is at its best, you are causing mass chaos to accomplish your objectives and pulling it off to perfection. Ditching the somber tone of the first game was the best thing the series could have done, and while there are still a few issues plaguing Watch Dogs 2’s narrative, it’s still a fun time.

Dicey Dungeons

Approximate Game Length 15 Hours
Genre Deckbuilder Roguelike
Developer Terry Cavanagh
X|S Enhanced Yes
File Size 905 MB (November 2022)

Dicey Dungeons’ easy-to-learn (but hard-to-master) gameplay loop will be familiar to fans of modern deck builders like Slay the Spire or Roguebook. In it, players climb their way between floors winning battles and collecting cards/gear to give themselves an edge going into a final confrontation.

Related: Best Xbox Game Pass Games For Kids

The key difference in Dicey Dungeons is that every ability has a cost attributed to dice rolls, so players will need to consider the probability of their rolls as they manage their arsenal. It’s an incredibly charming take on the genre, and has a wide variety of characters, combinations, and playstyles to learn and explore.

Donut County

Farm with the sign

Approximate Game Length 2 Hours
Genre Puzzle Game
Developer Ben Esposito
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 561 MB (November 2022)

Donut County is an oddly satisfying puzzle game in the vein of quirky puzzlers like Katamari Damacy. Its mechanic is simple: players control a small hole that can be moved underneath objects in the world — anything small enough will tumble into the abyss and be gone forever. It’s a simple premise but players young and old can enjoy gobbling up the world around them making the bottomless pit bigger and bigger.

Not only that, but Donut County has a colorful cast of characters, clever dialogue, and an altogether fun world to explore. It’s a short title that doesn’t overstay its welcome, making an easy recommendation for anyone looking for a unique novel game to spend an afternoon playing.

Inside

Inside Window Courtyard

Approximate Game Length 3 Hours
Genre Puzzle Platformer
Developer Playdead
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 2 GB (November 2022)

Inside puts players in control of a small boy trying to escape an oppressive and violent world. It’s hard to understate how visually arresting Inside’s visual design is, with harsh black accents and shadows overcasting almost every vignette in the game’s 3-4 hour playtime. The story is told silently, barring a few unforgettable setpiece moments that help unpack the game’s bizarre plot.

Combine all this with developer Playdead’s now-signature morbid puzzle solutions and carnal audio design, and you get an unmissable experience that fans of 2D puzzle games absolutely must play, assuming they can handle its intense and violent world-building.

As Dusk Falls

as dusk falls taken hostage in the motel

Approximate Game Length 7 hours
Genre Narrative Adventure
Developer INTERIOR NIGHT
X|S Enhanced Yes
File Size 51 GB (November 2022)

If you were a fan of the cooperative, narrative-driven stylings of The Dark Pictures Anthology and wondered how that formula would look when transposed into a hard-hitting drama, then this is an absolute must-play for you. As Dusk Falls follows the existential entanglement of several peoples’ lives during and after a bungled robbery turned hostage situation, and every decision has the potential to carry far-reaching ramifications.

Speaking of decisions, you’ll be making quite a few of them — the game’s primary mechanics revolve around decision-making, after all. And if you’re playing with friends (of which you can invite up to a staggering eight, total) As Dusk Falls has a few other delightful tricks up its sleeve. Decisions are made by vote, and if you wind up with a tie, the game randomly decides for you. But if you’re strong-willed and averse to that brand of chaos, each player gets a limited number of “overrides” that allow them to bypass the majority vote. If that wasn’t enough to sell you on it, the game’s story is deeply, deeply branched, with every decision and quick-time event outcome possibly sending you careening down an entirely different path from the other. If you’ve got a few friends and a few hours to kill, do yourself a favor and check it out.

PowerWash Simulator

powerwash simulator stegoscore

Approximate Game Length 22 Hours
Genre Pressure Cleaning Simulation
Developer FuturLab
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 4 GB (November 2022)

Who would have thought that a game about cleaning up dirty locations and mud-encrusted vehicles could be so damn satisfying? Perhaps you’re thinking, “But GameRant, how could a game simulating an actual day job provide one with a tingly feeling of absolute zen when it revolves around such mundane and taxing labor?” Well, dear reader, the real answer is that PowerWash Simulator needs to be experienced in order to fully communicate the release of blasting grime off the side of you friend’s grandma’s filthy bungalow, or seeing the sun touch the surface of a recently-scrubbed sidewalk for the first time in a decade.

Though this beautifully simplistic game would be hard pressed to compete with a title like God of War or Elden Ring, it’s the kind of game that only comes along once in a lifetime. It’s not the game anyone asked for, but it’s the game that everyone needs.

Escape Academy

Escape Academy_20220714194527

Approximate Game Length 4 Hours
Genre Puzzle
Developer Coin Crew Games, Coin Door Crew LLC
X|S Enhanced Yes
File Size 2 GB (November 2022)

There is a hidden joy in the puzzle-solving that goes on when you and a group of friends are trying to make your way out of an escape room, and Escape Academy captures that in a video game format. It’s not just your average puzzle game though. It is abundantly clear that Coin Crew Games has gone out of its way to make a game experience that truly embodies the kind of thinking that goes into a real-life escape room.

Of course, the core concept of an escape room lends itself to video game mechanics pretty easily to begin with. But Escape Academy’s charming aesthetic and the visual-novel-like interludes establishing the narrative really tie the experience together into something wholly unique. Add in the fact that you can tackle the puzzles in co-op, and you’ve got several well-spent hours ahead of you.

Road 96

road 96 setting sun

Approximate Game Length 7 Hours
Genre Open-World, First-Person Narrative
Developer Digixart
X|S Enhanced Yes
File Size 13 GB (November 2022)

There are few games quite as ambitious as Road 96, it’s a game that weaves a branching dialogue narrative with procedural generation to create a one-of-a-kind role-playing experience. That ambition creates some uneven sections, but it succeeds more than it misses.

It’s a game steeped in political discourse, that has youth trying to escape their country through the game’s namesake: Road 96. Unlike most narrative adventures, the player’s character isn’t guaranteed to survive the ordeal, but the cast of characters encountered along the way each have their own plots that move forward with each escape attempt.

House Flipper

House-Flipper-fully-renovated-pink-and-blue-kitchen

Approximate Game Length 11 Hours
Genre House Remodeling Simulation
Developer Frozen District, Empyrean, Ultimate Games
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 6 GB (November 2022)

It’s happened to all of us. One of your friends that’s managed to break into the brutal calculus of the real estate industry phones you up and says, “You know what’d make a great video game? My actual day job.” Sarcasm aside, said fictitious friend is actually… not too far off the mark.

House Flipper brings the satisfaction of cleaning and organizing a house to players without the physical exertion. It caters to everyone’s inner neat freak in a way that few games can. And while the tedious nature of picking up trash, cleaning floors, arranging furniture, and knocking down walls occasionally overstays its welcome, there’s a certain degree of fulfillment to be reached once you’ve achieved your vision for the given property

Citizen Sleeper

Citizen Sleeper Header Promotional Artwork Main

Approximate Game Length 10 Hours
Genre Narrative Adventure
Developer Jump Over The Age
X|S Enhanced Yes
File Size 1 GB (November 2022)

Citizen Sleeper is a sci-fi narrative adventure with light RPG and survival elements. The game’s storytelling is the core of the experience, with branching narratives and limited time to complete questlines. At the outset, players pick from a few different character archetypes that dictate their background and specialties.

As familiar as all these genres and mechanics might sound, Citizen Sleeper is a hard game to describe because of how liberally it borrows from such a wide variety of genres. Players familiar with visual novels and modern tabletop games will find a lot of familiar mechanics ideas and mechanics sprinkled throughout. And the game manages to find a perfect balance of gameplay challenges without interrupting the plot.

Far Cry 5

FarCry5, riding ATV's down a hill with deer

Approximate Game Length 20 Hours
Genre Open-World First-Person Shooter
Developer Ubisoft
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 46 GB (November 2022)

Far Cry 5 is set in a massive world to explore, full of threats from wildlife, baddies, and the environment itself. Far Cry’s greatest joy is the way all of these obstacles intersect — creating one-of-a-kind emergent stories where players need to survive. And best of all, Far Cry 5 can be played co-op online.

While Far Cry 5 may not depart much from previous games in the franchise, it is set in the States, which is a far cry from the jungles and mountains of the last two installments. That alone helps Far Cry 5 stand out from its predecessors, and give fans another excuse to jump back into the fray.

Dead By Daylight

Dead by Daylight - Survivors in the Garden of Joy

Approximate Game Length N/A
Genre Asymmetrical Multiplayer Horror
Developer Behaviour Interactive
X|S Enhanced Yes
File Size 53 GB (November 2022)

This has long been a glaring omission on our list, and we are quite aware of it. Dead By Daylight is one of the most popular asymmetrical multiplayer games currently available, and even though it possesses humble indie origins, it has quickly become a title to be reckoned with. Games like Friday The 13th or Evil Dead: The Game are quickly compared to Dead By Daylight for following a similar formula.

Players can either play as the Killer or the Survivors. Killers are monstrous creatures (some from popular existing IP) that have supernatural abilities to help them in their quest to capture and sacrifice the four Survivors. Survivors need to turn on generators in order to escape the area and win the match. While Dead By Daylight is straightforward enough to explain, the thrills and terrors of chasing your victims or fleeing from pursuit will keep you coming back for more.

NINJA GAIDEN: Master Collection

ninja gaiden sigma battle ryu

Approximate Game Length 30 Hours
Genre Action
Developer KOEI TECMO Games
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 12 GB (November 2022)

In the event that you initially missed out on the hype, this neat, 3-game compilation spanning 2007’s Ninja Gaiden Sigma to 2013’s Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge is a must-play. Following the exploits of ninja extraordinaire Ryu Hayabusa (and friends), the Ninja Gaiden series is a hallmark for action-adventure games that doesn’t compromise on difficulty — it’s far from the most hardcore action game you’ll ever get your hands on, but don’t expect it to hold your hand through the learning curve.

Though “ninja” might have you convinced you’re getting into a stealth-action title, come geared up for a no-holds barred brawler. Slick, high-speed combos against multiple enemies are the order of the day for the most part, in addition to wall-running parkour shenanigans and the occasional frustrating boss fight. That said, it certainly sets a bar for combat-centric action games that many contemporary titles struggle to match.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge

Fighting enemies in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Shredder's Revenge

Approximate Game Length 3 Hours
Genre Arcade Beat ‘Em Up
Developer Tribute Games
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 1 GB (November 2022)

Pick up your TMNT nostalgia and get ready for one of the most gratifying retro beat-em-ups to hit the Xbox Game Pass library. You and up to five other players can engage in totally radical brawls on the streets as the titular Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles take on the Foot Clan. Shredder’s up to his usual evil plots, and only a quartet of pizza-loving land turtles can bring him down. The fighting action will bring to mind games like Streets of Rage 4, and as you and your friends line up combo after combo, you’ll want to replay this title over and over again. Which you’ll kinda have to do if you want to enjoy this game for more than two hours since the game itself is so short. Cowabunga!

Assassin’s Creed Origins

Assassin's creed origins

Approximate Game Length 30 Hours
Genre Action Role-Playing Adventure
Developer Ubisoft Montreal
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 49 GB (November 2022)

Though some may not look at Assassin’s Creed Origins too fondly, none can deny it’s the Assassin’s Creed game that shook the series’ foundation to its core with new combat innovations and RPG characteristics. Ancient Egypt is massive and gorgeous, making the tons of side quests available to you enjoyable solely by being able to traverse across such a glorious landscape to find them. And Bayek’s journey and connection to the Assassin brotherhood is engrossing to discover as players get a glimpse at the origin of this most secretive of organizations.

TownScaper

A crowded town on the water built in Townscaper

Approximate Game Length N/A
Genre Casual City-Builder
Developer Oskar Stålberg
X|S Enhanced Yes
File Size 413 MB (November 2022)

It’s easy for new players to tell in the first two minutes if TownScaper is going to be a cute novelty or a full-time obsession for them. TownScaper uses remarkable procedural generation technology to let players create complex 3D cities in minutes by filling in cells on a grid. Depending on how each cell is filled in (horizontally or vertically) buildings will take on a unique shape. In practice, creating a city in TownScaper feels like using a paintbrush to create stunning villas, and that makes it hard to put down.

Umurangi Generation

umurangi generation special edition

Approximate Game Length 3 Hours
Genre First-Person Photography Adventure
Developer ORIGAME DIGITAL
X|S Enhanced Yes
File Size 1 GB (November 2022)

Umurangi Generation puts players in the shoes of a photographer tasked with a series of objectives in each level (think Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater checklists). Each photography challenge is a puzzle unto itself, but the real meat of Umurangi Generation is the impressive non-verbal storytelling. Without spoiling anything, the story accelerates quickly and packs quite a punch. The game doesn’t have too many levels, but each stage is entirely unique and asks players to think creatively about how to navigate the space and solve each challenge.

Quantum Break

quantum break xbox one banner title

Approximate Game Length 12 Hours
Genre Third-Person Shooter
Developer Remedy Entertainment
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 83 GB (November 2022)

When it came out, Quantum Break wasn’t met with glowing praise by the wider gaming community. It’s packed with live-action full-length TV show episodes that bookend each of the game’s chapters — all of which feel in service of business decisions, not creative direction. Still, setting all that aside, Quantum Break looks great, has a lot of fun superpowers to toy around with, and tells a fun story (albeit an often silly one). Like many Xbox exclusives (See: Ryse: Son of Rome and ReCore) from the early Xbox One era, Quantum Break is an oft-ignored but worthwhile single-player adventure.

Dead Cells

dead-cells-queen-and-the-sea-guide-beating-the-queen

Approximate Game Length 20 Hours
Genre 2D Roguelike
Developer Motion Twin
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 1 GB (November 2022)

Dead Cells is one of the most finely-tuned 2D action-platformers ever made, following in the footsteps of classics like Castlevania and Spelunky. The game has players collecting new abilities and powers throughout a given run with the objective of clearing the entire game in a single run. It’s not for the faint of heart, but with enough perseverance, Dead Cells is an incredibly rewarding game to play through. With pixel-perfect controls and precision, Dead Cells is an absolute must for fans of the genre.

Pac-Man Museum+

Pac-Man Museum+

Approximate Game Length N/A
Genre Arcade
Developer Now Production
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 1 GB (November 2022)

One of the most enduring arcade games in the world is Pac-Man. The iconic, yellow, pellet-eating character has seen his way through more game iterations than we can count, and Pac-Man Museum+ localizes the best of the bunch in one collection. This title compiles fourteen games from the franchise for you to dive into over and over again. Part of the joy of Pac-Man is its endless replayability, and having different samples of the series from over the years is a great way to honor its legacy. This is also a day one Xbox Game Pass launch, which means subscribers should definitely take advantage of this most bountiful of inclusions.

Dragon Age: Inquisition

dragon age inquisition morrigan

Approximate Game Length 50 Hours
Genre Third-Person Shooter
Developer BioWare
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 45 GB (November 2022)

Despite being the third game in the Dragon Age franchise, Inquisition is effectively standalone — and a fantastic starting point for fans of massive open-world RPGs. Inquisition is steeped in the complex lore and world-building RPG fans expect from high fantasy games like Skyrim and Witcher. And needless to say, all this is matched with BioWare’s lauded dialogue and conversation systems, making it easy to spend countless hours exploring a still-stunning fantasy world.

Farming Simulator 22

farming simulator 22 golden field grain mill

Approximate Game Length N/A
Genre Farming Simulation
Developer GIANTS Software
X|S Enhanced Yes
File Size 24 GB (November 2022)

Do you know what the world needs more of? It needs more Farming Simulator games. No, not joking. There is no game that combines the semi-relaxing nature of farming with the actual stress of trying to make everything work successfully as well as the Farming Simulator series. Throw in a dash of hilarity at some of the mistakes you will inevitably make, and you’ve got yourself in for one heck of a good time. Farming Simulator 22 is the latest in the franchise, and it’s a joy to have it in the Xbox Game Pass library. Though Farming Simulator 19, with all the work that has gone into it over the years, is still a fan favorite, Farming Simulator 22 has more room to grow. If you’re looking to toil away at an engaging farming sim, you know where to go.

Trek To Yomi

trek to yomi player finishing enemy

Approximate Game Length 5 Hours
Genre Side-Scrolling Adventure
Developer Leonard Menchiari, Flying Wild Hog
X|S Enhanced Yes
File Size 7 GB (November 2022)

Trek to Yomi is a uniquely stylized side-scrolling hack-and-slash that’s sure to please your inner samurai. Borrowing heavily (and unabashedly) from the cinematic stylings of Akira Kurosawa, players assume the role of warrior-in-training Hiroki and embark on a revenge quest after bandits ravage his village and slay his mentor in cold blood.

In terms of gameplay, Trek to Yomi somehow manages to be both satisfyingly and deceptively simple — the one real system at play here is the combat. Hiroki starts with two very straightforward moves, light and heavy attacks, as well as the ability to block. However, the gradual incorporation of various combo moves and the ways in which these mechanics interact weave a sort of rhythm that’s easy to get lost in for several hours at a time. Frame-perfect blocks result in parries, certain combinations stun enemies as a set-up for visceral finishing moves, and varying sets of enemies keep the learning curve active-yet-manageable. Pair this with the black-and-white film grain rendering alongside a pulpy historical Japanese backdrop, and you have a tight little indie experience that’s well worth venturing into.

This War Of Mine

this-war-of-mine-scavenging

Approximate Game Length 12 Hours
Genre Survival Simulation
Developer 11 Bit Studios
X|S Enhanced Yes
File Size 3 GB (November 2022)

Subverting typical military glorification in favor of a grounded human experience, 11 bit studios puts you into the shoes of day-to-day civilians trying to navigate the ravages of urban warfare in This War of Mine. On its own, TWoM is successful enough in putting together a thinking-man’s survival simulator, but it’s the context that really makes this game stand out from the crowd.

You’ll confront food and supply scarcity, sickness, and of course, the more direct threats of active combat zones — and even then, survivors just as desperate as you are can present as much of a threat as dubiously hostile soldiers patrolling the city. You’ll inevitably confront uncomfortable and difficult decisions as you weigh the safety and survival of your group against the odds, but that’s more or less the point. Games that revolve around warfare tend to present one side as the definitive enemy. TWoM presents war itself as the all-encompassing antagonist, and brilliantly so.

Octopath Traveler

Octopath Traveler cast

Approximate Game Length 60 Hours
Genre Retro-Inspired RPG
Developer Square Enix
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 3 GB (November 2022)

If you’re an oldschool JRPG fan pining for the 16-bit goodness of yore, then Octopath Traveler is an unabashed love letter with your name on it. True to its title, Octopath Traveler has you swapping perspectives between eight unique characters, each with their own distinct storylines, quests, and skills, in the fantasy setting of Orsterra.

RELATED: Pro Tips For Playing Octopath Traveler

In terms of the gameplay itself, it’s everything a retro JRPG fan could want — turn-based combat, charming pixel art, and a grand 60+ hour campaign that’ll keep you busy for the foreseeable future. That said, it’s all tied together with just the right amount of modern convention, with the primary example being its departure from the conventionally 2D presentation of a typical oldschool RPG into 2.5D environments. This approach makes for a unique artstyle that leaves a lasting impression, to say the least. Even if you’re not an old fogey looking to relive the RPG magic of the ‘90s, Octopath Traveler is well worth the price of admission. Which… you know, is basically free if you’re already a Game Pass subscriber.

Bugsnax

bugsnax-character-chasing-strawberry

Approximate Game Length 8 Hours
Genre Action Adventure
Developer Young Horse
X|S Enhanced Yes
File Size 9 GB (November 2022)

Bugsnax is one of the best modern adventure games that people of all ages can enjoy. Full stop. It’s part Muppets, part Pokemon, and all heart. (And the game’s voice cast is incredible at bringing the game world to life).

After crash-landing on a mysterious island, the player finds themselves faced with a new species (Bugsnax) and a loveable cast of grumpy characters (Grumpus). Most of the game is spent reuniting the Grumpus by solving puzzles to catch their favorite Bugsnax in clever ways, while trying to solve the mystery of the Bugsnax’s mysterious origin — which does not disappoint.

7 Days To Die

Art from 7 Days to Die

Approximate Game Length N/A
Genre Open-World Survival Horror
Developer The Fun Pimps
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 3 GB (November 2022)

Developer The Fun Pimps has been diligently building onto this ambitious survival-horror project since 2013. It’d already been through several iterations before landing on consoles in 2016, and its arrival on Game Pass makes it more accessible than ever before. In a nutshell, 7DTD is a “hardcore survival” take on Minecraft. Players are plopped right into the immediate aftermath of the zombie apocalypse and expected to make the most of it via sets of deeply layered crafting and building mechanics. And when we say “hardcore survival,” we mean hardcore survival.

Aside from the ever-present threat of roaming zombies, you have to contend with a relentless food and water meter, a wellness gauge that can decrease your overall health and stamina if you don’t take care of your person, and a grueling day-night cycle that has you literally counting the minutes until the sun rises. 7 Days To Die doesn’t care if you just started the game and you don’t know what’s going on. It will throw you into situations where you get food poisoning from what you’d initially presumed were bunches of tasty, ready-to-eat berries or you fall into a punji pit you’d forgotten you just built because the nights are too dark to see anything without a light that will instantly attract a horde to your position. In short, it’s a very fun game and you should play it.

Doom 64

Doom 64 Unmaker Fully Upgraded

Approximate Game Length 8 Hours
Genre First-Person Shooter
Developer NightDive
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 279 MB (November 2022)

Seeing a touched-up version of Doom 64 pop up alongside Doom Eternal’s 2020 launch was a surprise, to say the least. Chances are that even dedicated Doom fans had to give this one a miss thanks to it being relegated to the Nintendo 64 — a problem well-fixed by its recent port, and even further remedied by its inclusion on the Game Pass roster. It’s very much a straightforward classic Doom experience, but the lighting, ambience, and more puzzle-forward level design lend it a more contemplative vibe over the thrash-metal stylings of the 1993 original. It even comes with a neat bit of additional content tying it to the events of Doom 2016 and Eternal, “canonizing” it, in a manner of speaking. Whether you’re an old-school Doom fan that never got to check it out over its restrictive choice of consoles or a new fan looking for a taste of the old days and a sneaky lore treat, Doom 64’s more than worth a download.

Far: Changing Tides

far-changing-tides-4

Approximate Game Length 5 Hours
Genre Action-Adventure Walking Sim
Developer Okomotive
X|S Enhanced Yes
File Size 2 GB (November 2022)

Far: Changing Tides is a standalone sequel to Far: Lone Sails. Both games have players taking control of a pilot (or captain) who has to steer a ramshackle steampunk boat with little-to-no fuel that feels like it could break at a moment’s notice. It’s an incredibly somber game where any new obstacle feels oppressive, daunting, and eerily beautiful.

The gist of this 2D adventure game is propelling the boat from start to finish (left to right) by finding fuel scattered about, solving puzzles to remove blockades, and keeping any wind in the ship’s sails at all costs. Ultimately, keeping the ship moving forward feels a bit like cooking in Overcooked! — where there is always one more level to crank than the player can get their hands on.

Life Is Strange: True Colors

life is strange true colors alex chen

Approximate Game Length 10 Hours
Genre Narrative Adventure
Developer Deck Nine, Square Enix
X|S Enhanced Yes
File Size 32 GB (November 2022)

Life Is Strange: True Colors is the fourth entry in the Life Is Strange series, and it wears a lot of the lessons learned across the previous entries on its sleeve. It still follows a character with some supernatural powers (this time an empath named Alex), but the game largely confines itself to a single small town, which gives the game’s setting some time to become a character in its own right. The game’s plot stays centered around the small town, which helps keep the entire plot grounded, and creates stakes for every character the player encounters (not just the leads).

True Colors doesn’t reinvent the Life Is Strange formula, but it’s an incredibly confident game, and shouldn’t be missed by anyone who enjoys any kind of narrative adventure game.

Lost In Random

Dicey and Even in Lost in Random

Approximate Game Length 12 Hours
Genre Indie Action-Adventure
Developer Zoink Games, Thunderful Group
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 8 GB (November 2022)

This gem of a game is available to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers courtesy of EA Play. Though its combat mechanics are nothing to cry home about, its environment and narrative makes Lost in Random a must-play title all on their own. Every outlet under the sun praises it for its Tim Burton-esque inspirations, but that recommendation alone does not do justice to the delightfully macabre nature of Lost in Random’s story. In a world where a person’s choices are determined by the roll of a die and where your main character is part of a twin-sister pair called Even and Odd, you just know a dark, twisted adventure is lying in wait around every corner.

Crusader Kings III

crusader kings 3 cross play

Approximate Game Length 80+ Hours
Genre Grand Strategy Game
Developer Paradox Development Studio
X|S Enhanced Yes
File Size 8 GB (November 2022)

It’s hard to imagine a game more complex than Crusader Kings 3. The grand strategy game puts players at the center of an interweaving military-political drama during the Middle Ages. Like the popular 4X franchise Civilization, the events of a Crusader Kings game will span generations, asking players to consider the consequences of their actions over many lifetimes, not individual years.

Unlike Civ, Crusader Kings is more of a historical simulation, and the lives of individuals inside a given Dynasty are detailed and have a big impact on the game’s events. Given the game’s staggering depth, players who are able to wrap their heads around the game’s many systems will be treated with a genuinely one-of-a-kind experience. But be warned, it will take a lot of tutorials, tool-tips, and mistakes to fully understand the game’s complexity.

Weird West

Fighting enemies and Jane Bell character in Weird West

Approximate Game Length 40 Hours
Genre ARPG-lite Shooter-Adventure
Developer WolfEye Studios
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 6 GB (November 2022)

The premise of Weird West is one for the ages. It’s got the light trappings of a CRPG with some of the immersive sim elements we all know and love from the co-creators’ previous work with Dishonored. However, if you’re worried that all sounds too menu intensive, Weird West has got you covered. Action follows more of a twin-stick shooter style, and the story progression follows a sort of anthology format.

RELATED: The Best Xbox Games Ever Made (According To Metacritic)

Honestly, Weird West is a mix of a lot of things, and to try and pin down exactly what it is does the game’s vision a disservice. While it might not excel at everything it is trying to accomplish, the ingenious nature of its genre combination is deeply intriguing. Plus, who doesn’t want to explore a world set in a darkly fantastical, Wild West setting, with posses to muster, cannibals to exterminate, homesteads to ransack, and pigmen to meet?

Tunic

tunic fox with sword feature

Approximate Game Length 15 Hours
Genre Action RPG
Developer Tunic Team
X|S Enhanced Yes
File Size 3 GB (November 2022)

Tunic’s cutesy polygonal aesthetic lends it enough charm from the outset, but despite appearances, this action-packed RPG is much more than a Zelda clone. Admittedly, it leans into that particular influence pretty hard. But reducing it to that comparison is pretty unfair considering the hodgepodge of gaming goodness it borrows from for its final product — Metroidvania and even Dark Souls-flavored combat figure into the mix in just the right proportions. And its vulpine protagonist tackles these challenges with adorable aplomb. So while Tunic might come across as an indie Legend of Zelda experience, it more than measures up to the expectations you’d have for its triple-A inspiration.

Shredders

landing a grab trick in powder in shredders

Approximate Game Length N/A
Genre Sports Simulation
Developer I-Illusions, Let It Roll
X|S Enhanced Yes
File Size 9 GB (November 2022)

From frigid mountaintops to snow-covered city rooftops to actual, legitimate snowboarding courses, Shredders’ environments take you across a snowboarder’s wintry dreamscape. That’s what this game is, in essence: a snowboarder’s dream. There are no complicated frills or over-tuned controls. Shredders is a straightforward snowboarding game, plain and simple. There is snow, there are boards, and also the music goes “womp womp woop woop,” so that much is totally on-point. Of particular note are the absolutely engrossing visuals of the snow itself. That may seem like a cheap commentary cop-out, but in earnest, something about seeing the spray of powder and the way your board carves discernible furrows into the packed drifts is absurdly satisfying.

Paradise Killer

Paradise-Killer-Visual-Novel-Xbox-Game-Pass

Approximate Game Length 12 Hours
Genre Narrative Mystery Platformer
Developer Kaizen Game Works
X|S Enhanced Yes
File Size 2 GB (November 2022)

There is no game out there quite like Paradise Killer. In a raw gameplay-sense, it’s a first-person platformer isolated to stunning neo vista. But the real meat of the game is its whodunit mystery that players solve by meeting the divine (yes, literally divine) cast of characters and tracking down their whereabouts on the island at the time of the murder.

Part of the game’s joy just comes from ‘vibing’ with the game’s 80s-inspired retro-futuristic aesthetic and music, while jumping around looking for clues to solve the overarching murder. Lots of conversations open up new angles of exploration or posit new theories for who’s to blame for the game’s central murder mystery. Anyone looking for something wholly unique absolutely needs to give Paradise Killer a try.

Middle-Earth: Shadow Of War

Middle-Earth Shadow of War Talion stabbing an Orc in the middle of a melee Cropped

Approximate Game Length 20+ Hours
Genre Open-World Action
Developer Monolith Productions
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 60 GB (November 2022)

Despite some controversy at launch, Middle-Earth: Shadow of War is a tremendously fun expansion to the fundamentals set up by its predecessor. Anyone who has played the original (or any of the modern Batman Arkham games), will feel right at home with Shadow of War‘s exquisite combat and character progression. While the game’s plot will largely only appeal to die-hard Lord of the Rings fans, the scope of the world and the franchises’ now-infamous Nemesis system make it stand out in a crowded genre. With a new Lord of the Rings TV show on the way, it’s never been a better time to revisit Middle-Earth.

Tel Vos The Elder Scrolls III Morrowind

Approximate Game Length 70 Hours
Genre Open-World RPG
Developer Bethesda
X|S Optimized No
File Size 1 GB (November 2022)

Leading with the obvious, it can’t really be said that Morrowind has aged gracefully — the graphics are more than a bit rough, and the UI can seem unapproachable to the uninitiated. However, it’s a distinct bit of old-school RPG charm that nicely emphasizes why The Elder Scrolls become an industry powerhouse, and it’s sure to settle your retro urges. Morrowind can certainly be a bit harsh, but it’s difficult to find a more immersive title in the Elder Scrolls series. With precious little in the way of fast travel and quest markers, players must really plot their journey from point A to point B when puzzling out a quest. The nearly-alien landscape and architecture of Vvardenfell feels atypical of average fantasy trappings, and the relatively unforgiving nature of its open-world and combat encounters can create a real sense of danger. It’s absolutely worth a trip, especially if you’re a fan of Skyrim that’s never ventured into the older titles.

Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy

guardians of the galaxy game characters

Approximate Game Length 20 Hours
Genre Action-Adventure
Developer Eidos-Montreal
X|S Enhanced Yes
File Size 43 GB (November 2022)

The Guardians of the Galaxy MCU film was a delightful addition to the now-gigantic roster of Marvel movies, and the game based on these beloved characters is an equal delight to experience. While you play as the heroes we know and love from the film, there are marked differences that help these characters stand on their own, giving us an engaging story wrapped in a marvelous world. Seriously, even if the narrative does absolutely nothing for you, the sheer stunning nature of the environments you are dropped in is enough to keep you engrossed. Various planets feature mind-bending topography and luminous colors at every turn. And just as your eyes are in for a treat, so are your ears. The soundtrack for Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy is top-notch, featuring fantastic licensed songs to play in the background as you and your team take down the galaxy’s biggest foes.

Kentucky Route Zero

Kentucky Route Zero Switch gameplay

Approximate Game Length 8 Hours
Genre Narrative Adventure
Developer Cardboard Computers
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 1 GB (November 2022)

Kentucky Route Zero probably has more in common with “The Great American Novel” than the Dungeons & Dragons text adventures it pays regular homage to. The game follows a group of misfits on a loose mission to find “The Zero,” a lost highway that doesn’t necessarily show up on a map. It’s a game made up largely of walking around and reading text descriptions and dialogue, and some point-and-click fans will gawk at the lack of puzzles.

Still, while it’s certainly a game that won’t be for everyone, fans of Disco Elysium, Pathlogic, or any films in David Lynch’s filmography should make sure to give it try. It’s a game that lives and dies by its writing and aesthetic — and on those fronts, it’s a modern masterpiece.

Doom (1993)

doom 1993 fps gameplay

Approximate Game Length 5 Hours
Genre First-Person Shooter
Developer id Software, GT Interactive, Nerve Software
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 504 MB (November 2022)

Does there really need to be an introduction here? It’s Doom. It’s the 1993 classic that revolutionized a genre, if not video gaming as a whole, with its pixelated depictions of high-octane ultraviolence and spherical meatball demons from the bad place below.

RELATED: Wildest Things That Doom Can Be Played On

The touched-up version Bethesda’s slapped onto Game Pass features some neat additions, such as a limited mod roster and split-screen cooperative/competitive play. If you’re looking for a nostalgic romp to further contextualize what makes Doom 2016 and Eternal such a big deal or a fun, easy-to-slip-into split screen FPS experience to entertain yourself and up to three friends for an evening, here’s your pick.

The Sims 4

Split grid with two screenshots of The Sims 4's Discover University Pack.

Approximate Game Length N/A
Genre Life Simulation
Developer Maxis, The Sims Studios
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 20 GB (November 2022)

Through the addition of EA Play, Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers can play the latest Sims entry in the series (at least until the long-awaited and highly anticipated Sims 5 gets announced). Though notable features were missing at launch, over time and with the power of meaningful expansions, The Sims 4 has become the game fans both deserved and needed. For the uninitiated, The Sims games are essentially “life simulators.” You guide your Sims through what would, otherwise, be the mundane shenanigans of every life — note the key term there, “otherwise.” Because life in The Sims universe is anything but mundane. Whether you’re cozying up with your vampire neighbors or literally trying to cheat the Grim Reaper out of his due when your Sim’s time is up, The Sims 4 makes the doldrums of daily living fantastic, hilarious, and downright fun.

Batman: Arkham Knight

The Batmobile in Batman: Arkham Knight

Approximate Game Length 20 Hours
Genre Open-World Action-Adventure
Developer Rocksteady Studios
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 47 GB (November 2022)

The original Batman game in the Arkham Trilogy, Arkham Asylum, set the bar for what fans should expect out of a superhero game. While Arkham Knight wasn’t as critically received as the first game — even for casual Batman fans, it still serves as a fantastic conclusion to the series.

Related: Best Third-Person Adventure Games Of All Time

Everything from the plot to the combat and visuals, holds up years after release, which is a testament to Rocksteady’s impeccable design. The game’s propulsive combo system is still second-to-none, and the story does a great job getting players up-to-speed (even if they haven’t played the first two games in the trilogy). Batman: Arkham Knight represents nearly a decade of innovation (and iteration) in the open-world superhero genre, and shouldn’t be missed.

Burnout Paradise Remastered

Driving down a dirt road in Burnout Paradise

Approximate Game Length 12 Hours
Genre Open-World Arcade Racer
Developer Criterion Software
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 7 GB (November 2022)

Burnout Paradise popularized the open-world racing genre, paving the way for award-winning games like Forza Horizon. The original version of the game was released back in 2009 —so, yes, it’s showing its age— but the remaster goes a long way to modernize it for the 21st century.

Despite its age, no game since has quite captured the sense of place and raw speed of Burnout Paradise. Crashes have an impact. And the lack of licensed cars means that vehicles can crumple-up on collision, and show wear-and-tear as the race drags on. Burnout still occupies a special place in the hearts of racing fans — and for good reason.

Lake

Lake - 2021

Approximate Game Length 6 Hours
Genre Indie Adventure
Developer Gamious
X|S Enhanced Yes
File Size 2 GB (November 2022)

The quiet simplicity and relaxing atmosphere of Lake makes it one of the hidden gems within the Xbox Game Pass Library. The story follows city-dweller Meredith Weiss as she takes a temporary job in a small lake town delivering mail. That, in essence, is what the game is all about. You control Meredith as she meets with the unique and endearing townsfolk, handing them their mail and discussing the inconsequential going-ons of their community. And just as Meredith views this as a much-needed break from the pressures of her city career, you as the player can relax in Lake’s undemanding gameplay. It feels like a break from the hectic multilayer offerings of many a triple-A title.

Broken Age

Vella and Shay from Broken Age

Approximate Game Length 10 Hours
Genre Point-and-Click Adventure
Developer Double Fine
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 2 GB (November 2022)

Broken Age is a ‘Coming of Age’ story in the vein of a Roald Dahl children’s novel; it’s whimsical, funny, and a bit dark in tone where appropriate. It puts players in control of two young characters at major turning points in their lives, and the player will need to swap between them to solve puzzles and progress both their narratives.

Mechanically, it’s a traditional point-and-click adventure game like The Secret of Monkey Island or Day of the Tentacle with plenty of modern touches that make the game far more approachable for a modern audience. Fans of the genre can still expect to combine items, and/or give them to other characters in the world, but the game’s presentation and dramatically improved user-interface, make the whole thing feel more cinematic than early games in the genre.

As an added perk, like so many games from Double Fine’s repertoire: Broken Age is an excellent game to play with the family (including kids) that will be fun for everyone to work through and solve (without the experience being too shallow for seasoned players).

Death’s Door

Forest Mother and children in Death's Door

Approximate Game Length 8 Hours
Genre Indie Action-Adventure
Developer Acid Nerve
X|S Enhanced Yes
File Size 3 GB (November 2022)

Reaping the souls of the dead has never been more charming or delightful. Death’s Door takes you on a journey alongside an employee of the Reaping Commission Headquarters, and while this might sound woefully boring, the engaging gameplay and intriguing narrative makes this a true adventure despite its bureaucratic premise. There’s a mystery here for you to uncover, but there is more to Death’s Door than its story. A fantastic art style coupled with straightforward combat controls ensures that anyone can immerse themselves in the wondrous environments. Death’s Door is an incredibly approachable game that goes over heavy subject matters with a great sense of humor. You might not have thought a little crow wielding magic and a sword would feel so memorable, but Death’s Door proves otherwise.

Maneater

Shark in Maneater

Approximate Game Length 9 Hours
Genre Sharky Action RPG
Developer Tripwire Interactive, Blindside Interactive
X|S Enhanced Yes
File Size 13 GB (November 2022)

They say there’s always a bigger fish. Sometimes that fish is a shark! Maneater is the premier shark simulation game of the decade. That may not be a rabidly competitive niche to take on, but nonetheless, it’s a pretty gripping concept. The game puts you in the shoes (or fins, rather) of a shark that’s out for revenge after the producers of a shark-hunting television program injure her and kill her mother. But in order to get big enough to exact your razor-toothed vengeance, you’ll need to evolve and unlock new abilities by… well, eating fish (and the occasional person), of course. However, you’ll encounter numerous obstacles in your violent aquatic endeavors — other predators and even shark-hunting bounty hunters will seek to obstruct your blood-soaked objective, but perseverance is key to a shark’s life in all things. Altogether, Maneater’s a rare simulation concept that’s absolutely worth checking into. If only to say you’ve been a shark.

Nobody Saves The World

nobody saves the world complete knife bros second challenge

Approximate Game Length 12-20 Hours
Genre 2D Action RPG
Developer Drinkbox Studios
X|S Enhanced Yes
File Size 1 GB (November 2022)

Nobody Saves the World is one of the most addictive classic action-RPGs on Xbox outside Diablo III: Reaper of Souls. While it may not last quite as long as other games in the genre, the gorgeous animation, colorful world, and propulsive quest system make it a must-play for fans of hacking-and-slashing.

Related: Diablo: Amazing Pieces Of Cut Content From The ARPG Classic

The biggest change to the formula is Nobody Saves the World’s clever progression mechanic. Instead of chasing a random number generator looking for gear, Nobody Saves the World has players completing a near-endless string of self-populating quests that encourage new gameplay styles and alternating abilities. It’s a loop that makes the game incredibly hard to put down.

Hitman Trilogy

agent-47-hitman-3

Approximate Game Length 70 Hours (All Games Combined)
Genre Action-Adventure Stealth
Developer IO Interactive
X|S Enhanced Yes
File Size 76 GB (November 2022)

Nothing combines badassery with absolute hilarity quite as professionally as the Hitman series. The Hitman Trilogy comes with Agent 47’s three mainline titles and provides hours of entertainment as players figure out the many different ways to eliminate their targets. The impressive agency with which players can carry out 47’s contracts allows for not only slick, high-profile staging of highly complex assassination scenarios, but accidental, emergent circumstances that necessitate on-the-fly improvisation.

From straightforward sniper-ing to utterly convoluted traps involving costumes, chandeliers, and… bananas, the various methods at your disposal in the Hitman games show the breadth of IO Interactive’s imagination.

Telling Lies

Telling Lies

Approximate Game Length 8 Hours
Genre Interactive Film
Developer Sam Barlow and Furious Bee
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 9 GB (November 2022)

Telling Lies is a thriller that has players sifting through live-action video clips of private conversations between characters who are unknowingly connected to each other. At its core, Telling Lies is a spy story, but its unique presentation and emphasis on the behind-the-scenes espionage make the entire story come to life in new and exciting ways. The game’s excellent cast and performances make peeping through clips and footage of every character’s most intimate moments feel voyeuristic and unsettling — and yet, the way the game’s plot unspools makes it an incredibly difficult game to stop playing. Don’t miss it!

Spelunky 2

Spelunky 2

Approximate Game Length 30 Hours
Genre Adventure Platformer
Developer Mossmouth, Blitworks
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 643 MB (November 2022)

Spelunky 2 builds upon the roguelike spelunking shenanigans of its predecessor with an array of new features, including new tools, new characters, and new traps. And even better, this sequel is also brimming with delightful cooperation — that’s right, you can now romp your way through treasure-laden caverns alongside friends. Just be wary of the numerous traps that lie in store for your intrepid explorers. Death is around every corner, be it death by lava immersion or hidden dart. However, don’t let fatal impediments stop you from enjoying Spelunky 2. This indie title begs to be replayed over and over again, packing a retro-inspired charm that’s unlikely to wane even weeks after you’ve picked it up.

Outer Wilds

Outer WIlds Moon Base

Approximate Game Length 16 Hours
Genre Sci-Fi Adevnture
Developer Mobius Digital
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 11 GB (November 2022)

Outer Wilds is one of the best adventure games ever made. Full stop. It’s an open-world sci-fi game that has players exploring a miniature solar system with a handful of handcrafted planets — each with their own mysteries to uncover. It may not be as expansive as other games about space exploration, but Outer Wilds captures the awe, anxiety, and grandeur of outer space better than just about any other game out there. It takes a little while to ramp-up, but once the clockwork nature of the world starts to piece itself together, it is a rewarding and altogether breathtaking experience.

Mass Effect Legendary Edition

mass-effect-legendary-edition-2

Approximate Game Length 100 Hours
Genre Third-Person Shooter/RPG
Developer BioWare
X|S Enhanced Yes
File Size 21 GB (November 2022)

The original Mass Effect trilogy is one of the most iconic RPGs ever made. However, you can see how poorly some aspects of the series have aged, especially when examining the first game. Never fear, these outdated elements have been rectified and polished in the Mass Effect Legendary Edition, which is now available to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers, courtesy of its inclusion in the EA Play library. Fans of the epic sci-fi trilogy can revisit Commander Shepard’s dire quest to stop the galaxy-consuming Reapers.This Legendary Edition comes with the whole package, including some majorly awesome DLC from each of the three games. If you want to experience the definitive Mass Effect experience, there is only one true way to do that, and it’s now available on Xbox Game Pass.

Among Us

An Emergency Meeting is called by a player in Among Us.

Approximate Game Length N/A
Genre Social Deduction
Developer InnerSloth LLC
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 751 MB (November 2022)

Among Us is the indie hidden-role game that could. Having swept into immense popularity due to its accessibility across platforms and omnipresence in streaming and YouTube communities, it was only a matter of time before it made the leap to living room consoles. It just took that extra step to plant itself on the Game Pass roster. The premise is simple — several players find themselves on board a spaceship (or remote research facility) and are provided with tasks to complete, ranging from cleaning out dirty vents to blasting asteroids out of the ship’s way. The catch? One (or more) of your crewmates is an imposter with the sole purpose or murdering you and everyone else. The game ends in one of three ways: the crewmates complete all tasks, the murderer is identified and ejected, or the imposters manage to wipe out the crew. The game’s best played with colleagues and friends, as there’s nothing more entertaining than knowing someone’s tells and desperately trying to suss out the truth when they claim they were on the other end of the level when a body’s discovered.

Mortal Kombat 11

Mortal Kombat 11 Scorpion Preparing For A Duel

Approximate Game Length 23 Hours
Genre Fighting Game
Developer NetherRealm Studios
X|S Enhanced Yes
File Size 46 GB (November 2022)

The latest chapter in NetherRealm studios’ time-tested arcade fighter, MK11 keeps the standard of deceptively deep mechanics and purely over-the-top violence in fine fashion. The single-player story mode picks up shortly after the defeat of Shinnok in Mortal Kombat X, and introduces a new antagonist in Kronika, a time-manipulating trickster of god-like power that’s looking to undo history itself — in other words, your typical baddie that’s about to break the world unless you beat up a slew of friends and foes to get at her. The cast consists of the usual roster of old favorites — from Scorpion to Raiden, the gang’s well intact. And there are a few newcomers as well: Cetrion pops up as a playable character this time around, and DLC packs introduce vibrant guest characters like Robocop, and even Rambo himself. The gameplay is as smooth as ever, and of particular note is MK 11‘s almost absurdly robust tutorial. It’s a must-play for newcomers to the fighting game scene, as the tutorials break down mechanics common across the genre in painstaking and illuminating detail.

Firewatch

Approximate Game Length 5 Hours
Genre Narrative Walking Simulator
Developer Campo Santo
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 3 GB (November 2022)

Part thriller, part mystery, and part romance — Firewatch is an unforgettable walking sim/radioplay that puts players in the shoes of a newly appointed lookout. The goal? Watch for fires.

Related: Best Walking Simulators That Everyone Should Play

Needless to say, the game’s actual plot is far more interesting than its logline. The creative team behind the game includes industry veterans, including some of the minds behind the first season of Telltale’s The Walking Dead. And with such a short time to complete, Firewatch is a must for anyone who enjoys a story-first experience. In terms of gameplay, Firewatch has players exploring the great outdoors, but like any great thriller, there’s a lot more happening than meets the eye.

Aliens: Fireteam Elite

Alien Fireteams Elite Feature Image Beginner Tips

Approximate Game Length 10 Hours
Genre Third-Person Shooter
Developer Cold Iron Studios
X|S Enhanced Yes
File Size 19 GB (November 2022)

Though nowhere near as terrifying as its distant cousin, Alien: Isolation, Aliens: Fireteam Elite offers a thrilling romp through the same universe. In Fireteam Elite, players are tasked with selecting one of four playable classes and mowing down hordes of the titular Xenomorph, complete with particularly problematic variations of the alien peppered throughout. It’s clear that this title in the Alien series takes its inspiration from James Cameron’s space-marine-laden film, and while shooting them down by the hundreds can certainly detract from the Xenomorphs’ “scare factor” significantly, they do certainly make for satisfying cannon fodder for you and your friends to chew through. The game features some basic-yet-solid progression mechanics in unlockable guns, attachments, and consumable items to continuously tempt you back into the fray. Altogether, it makes for a fun and engrossing cooperative experience.

Unpacking

Unpacking Teenage Bedroom Level

Approximate Game Length 3 Hours
Genre Zen Puzzle Narrative
Developer Witch Beam
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 672 MB (November 2022)

Unpacking follows one person’s life, from their first bedroom at their parent’s house, to their first apartment and beyond. In it, players unpack their entire life one box at a time, getting to know all their personal possessions and have the oddly-satisfying joy of placing each item where it’s supposed to go one at a time. It’s a very simple game mechanically, but it also packs a lot of narrative into a fairly short experience with little-to-no text or voiceover.

Unpacking is a perfect wind-down game for players who are looking for something more relaxed in gameplay and narrative, and it is an absolute hidden gem on Xbox Game Pass.

Stardew Valley

community center in stardew valley

Approximate Game Length 60 Hours
Genre Farming Sim
Developer ConcernedApe
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 1 GB (November 2022)

Stardew Valley is easily one of the most zen experiences to be had in its genre. That’s quite a statement when discussing farming sims, but really, it’s so much more than that. With dashes of dating sim and retro action-RPG thrown into the mix and sealed up in a charming 16-bit aesthetic, SDV tasks players with moving out to the countryside to restore their grandfather’s farm after inheriting it — as one does in a farming sim. Players grow crops, find romance, assist the locals with their various problems, dive into the mines to fight monsters and liberate riches, and more over the course of their stay in the Valley. But one of the best parts of Stardew is easily the relaxed sense of progression. At no point are players prodded to advance the storyline, they’re free to live as they please as they eke out a living selling turnips, raising goats, hatching dinosaur eggs, and bashing slimes.

Kill It With Fire

TNT placed around a toilet in Kill It With Fire

Approximate Game Length 5 Hours
Genre Spider Killing Simulator
Developer Casey Donnellan Games LLC
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 1 GB (November 2022)

Hate spiders? Kill them with fire. Or clipboards. Or high-powered magnum revolvers. You can kill spiders with a lot of different things, really, and Kill It With Fire showcases a whole gamut of spider extermination methods. Cast as a humble homeowner, the game tasks you with one fairly straightforward goal — kill the spiders infesting your abode by any means necessary. Players are confronted with increasingly complex extermination scenarios involving zany physics — spiders can hide beneath every nook and cranny, and keeping track of the various bits of furniture and decor you’ll overturn in pursuit of your arachnid adversaries is likely more pressing than the spiders themselves. Progressing through the levels will unlock a bevy of interesting implements of spider destruction. It’s a delightful indie jaunt that’s well worth killing a few hours for.

Mortal Shell

mortal shell finding eredrim shell

Approximate Game Length 15 Hours
Genre Action RPG
Developer Cold Symmetry
X|S Enhanced Yes
File Size 9 GB (November 2022)

It’s likely safe to dub Mortal Shell as the most souls-like of the Souls-likes, as the majority of the core gameplay elements are going to be immediately and intimately familiar to those steeped in FromSoftware’s iconic catalog. However, that isn’t to say it’s without its own distinct identity and nuances.

Related: Mortal Shell: Every Weapon In The Game, Ranked

One major facet that sets it apart is in the name — Shells. Players begin life in Mortal Shell as an overly tender slab of beef jerky but inhabit several different bodies, or “shells,” that have unique play styles and capabilities over the course of their venture. In addition to several other unique mechanics, players can expect a sharp execution of the other Souls trappings: parries and ripostes, bombastic boss fights demanding sensitive timing, and a decrepit, moldering world begging for a savior. Dark Souls fans are sure to find themselves at home.

Halo Infinite

Halo Infinite Sniper

Approximate Game Length N/A
Genre First-Person Shooter
Developer 343 Industries
X|S Enhanced Yes
File Size 85 GB (November 2022)

Anyone with access to a PC or Xbox console can play the online multiplayer component of the latest entry in the Halo series. Players can jump into a Big Team Battle or a ranked Arena match and have the time of their lives. Well-crafted maps, new weapons, and entertaining game modes keep Halo Infinite feeling fresh. It just caters to Halo fans in all the right ways. In addition to that, the campaign experience is available to Xbox Game Pass subscribers. It tells a more personal story that focuses on the Master Chief’s adventures on Zeta Halo, complete with an astounding open-world map that finally realizes the grandeur of a Halo ring. Halo Infinite’s campaign is something between a love-letter to the distinct charm of Combat Evolved’s more “open” segments (referring specifically to levels such as “Halo” and “The Silent Cartographer”) and the franchise’s many innovations since. The weapon sandbox has been revitalized and combat has never felt more evolved. Halo nostalgia is real, and Infinite completely satisfies it.

Forza Horizon 5

Koenigsegg Agera RS forza horizon 5

Approximate Game Length N/A
Genre Racing
Developer Playground Games
X|S Enhanced Yes
File Size 113 GB (November 2022)

The Forza Horizon franchise has always done an incredible job blending the appeal of arcade racers like Burnout with the realistic precision controls of the Motorsport games. Horizon 5 is no exception, and it just so happens to be one of the best-looking games available on next-gen consoles.

Like its predecessors, Horizon 5 has players exploring an open world and completing a wide variety of objectives and races. Mexico has no shortage of gorgeous locales to drive through while setting up for the Horizon Festival. It’s a game with so much to do — it’s almost too easy to pick a direction, start driving, and find something worthwhile on the Horizon.

It Takes Two

it takes two hazelight thank you

Approximate Game Length 11 Hours
Genre Action-Adventure
Developer Hazelight Studios
X|S Enhanced Yes
File Size 43 GB (November 2022)

It Takes Two is a fantastic game, but it’s a bit misleading to label it as a single game. It treads over so many genres, it feels like multiple games in one package. And not only does it offer more than you might expect, it provides subscribers with one of the best cooperative experiences of the decade. Players take control of Cody and May, a married couple on the brink of divorce. The two are magically turned into dolls, which of course leads to a variety of hijinks as they make their way through a now larger (and more dangerous) world. From sliding down pipes to escaping from vacuums to battling wasps, there are so many ripe opportunities for engaging gameplay, and It Takes Two takes advantage of them all.

Back 4 Blood

Back 4 Blood Cleaners around door

Approximate Game Length 5 Hours
Genre First-Person Shooter
Developer Turtle Rock Studios
X|S Enhanced Yes
File Size 55 GB (November 2022)

Nothing makes for a great time quite like fending off a horde of zombies alongside your friends. Back 4 Blood is an FPS shooter that has been clearly styled in the same vein as Left 4 Dead, which makes a great deal of sense considering Turtle Rock did develop the original zombie-slaying shoot ‘em up. Up to four players can team up to tackle a mission-based campaign, each of which ends up with the group fleeing into the relative safety of a safe room. There are even special types of “Ridden,” as Back 4 Blood terms its zombies, to contend with on the journey. The gunplay is crisp and satisfying — it makes a clear evolution from Left 4 Dead by incorporating attachments and ADS mechanics without sacrificing the loose, fast, and frenetic run-and-gun action. In a nutshell, if a zombie-shaped hole has been left in your heart since 2009’s Left 4 Dead 2, Back 4 Blood will occupy that space snugly.

Dragon Ball FighterZ

Dragon Ball Fighterz Character Tier List
Dragon Ball Fighterz Character Tier List

Approximate Game Length 6 Hours (Story Mode)
Genre 2D Fighting Game
Developer Arc System Works
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 7 GB (November 2022)

Dragon Ball FighterZ is a love letter to both the manga and anime of the beloved franchise. There is no shortage of iconic stances, animations, and easter eggs for Dragon Ball fans to sift through. It cannot be understated: FighterZ‘s visuals flawlessly capture the feeling of watching Dragon Ball. It also happens to be an incredible game in its own right.

Dragon Ball FighterZ is a 3-vs-3 tag battle fighting game. Like Marvel Vs. Capcom, players choose a team of combatants at the start of each match and can swap between them for combos. The fights are fast-paced, frenetic, and competitive. The game has an incredibly deep combo system (with some built-in auto-combos for players new to the genre) that includes all the polish fighting game fans expect from Arc System Works. A must for fans of the series and genre.

Pillars Of Eternity: Complete Edition

pillars of eternity battle of halgot citadel

Approximate Game Length 45 Hours
Genre RPG
Developer Obsidian Entertainment
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 14 GB (November 2022)

When you hear Obsidian’s doing a classically styled CRPG, it behooves any RPG enthusiast to sit up and pay attention. As mentioned, Pillars of Eternity was made in the tradition of true genre classics, like Baldur’s Gate and Icewind Dale, but takes place in an entirely unique setting as opposed to D&D’s Forgotten Realms. Pillars of Eternity’s richly detailed fantasy realm of Eora has a lore and mystique all its own. Players take the role of a “Watcher” — a spiritual medium of sorts that can interact with souls — as they investigate the mystery behind the Hollowborn Plague, an affliction that causes newborn children to be born without souls, rendering them stillborn for most intents and purposes. Obsidian’s penchant for imaginative writing and vibrant character work shines through the host of recruitable companions players will encounter while building their party, and the RPG mechanics themselves are deeply gratifying for theorycrafters and CRPG nuts.

Scarlet Nexus

yuito in scarlet nexus

Approximate Game Length 30 Hours
Genre Action RPG
Developer Bandai Namco Studios, Tose
X|S Enhanced Yes
File Size 19 GB (November 2022)

Flashy action is what Scarlet Nexus is all about. Players take on the role of Yuito Sumeragi or Kasane Randall, new recruits to the OSF, a task force dedicated to eliminating monstrous, supernatural-type creatures known only as Others. Powerful Psionic abilities and classic anime melee weapons make combat a bombastic affair. The best thing about Scarlet Nexus is how straightforward its gameplay and narrative can be for fans of the genre. It knows its identity; it knows its fans. If anything about Scarlet Nexus calls to you after your first few minutes of playing, you can rest assured that the remainder of the game will be just as enjoyable.

Superliminal

superliminal hallway

Approximate Game Length 3 Hours
Genre First-Person Puzzle
Developer Pillow Castle
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 11 GB (November 2022)

If there was a hole in your heart after you finished Valve’s Portal games, and no other title has been able to fill it since, then perhaps you should give Superliminal a try. Rather than utilizing portals and momentum as part of its puzzles, Superliminal is all about perspective. The way you perceive something leads to the solution. This might sound obtuse and vague, but it’s quite brilliant in execution. A small item can be made to seem as large as a house when you hold it just right. For instance, grabbing a soda can and holding it right in front of your face can make it seem larger than it really is based on perspective. Superliminal takes this idea and goes wild with it, leading to a number of mind-bending puzzles involving distance and light. It perfectly showcases how a different point of view can solve almost any problem. Though it is a very short game, it is an absolute must-play if you want a title that can turn your world upside down.

Monster Train

looking over cards in Monster Train

Approximate Game Length 20 Hours
Genre TCG Deck Builder
Developer Shiny Shoe
X|S Enhanced Yes
File Size 1 GB (November 2022)

Like Slay the Spire, Monster Train is a run-based deck-builder where players pick a starting character/clan and do their best to assemble the ultimate deck before a climactic showdown.

Monster Train’s claim to fame is a unique three-tiered floor system where players can set up their defenses and monsters to protect their core HP sitting at the top of the train. The system combines the best deck-builders with this unique mechanic, and an enormous number of different characters and abilities to give players a near-infinite number of strategies and combinations. Anyone riding the Monster Train will quickly find their route to an OP deck — and that’s half the fun.

Psychonauts 2

psychonauts 2 how long to beat

Approximate Game Length 16 Hours
Genre Platform-Adventure
Developer Double Fine
X|S Enhanced Yes
File Size 28 GB (November 2022)

Is sixteen years too long to wait for a proper sequel? Probably, yes. But that doesn’t make the result any less satisfying to experience. Psychonauts 2 hits with all the vibrance and zany, third-person action-platforming madness that solidified the original as a cult classic. Players once again control Raz Aquato as he continues to climb the ranks of the legendary Psychonauts. But this isn’t summer camp anymore; this is the big leagues. A new villain has arisen to plague the minds of everyone’s favorite psychics, but the familiar mechanics of the original game are back with greater polish. It’s fantastic to see a Psychonauts sequel that still carries the heart and charm of the original.

Quake

quake-remaster

Approximate Game Length 7 Hours
Genre First-Person Shooter
Developer id Software
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 1 GB (November 2022)

Put simply, Quake brought a lot to the FPS genre — it popularized fully 3D-rendered environments, internet-based multiplayer deathmatches, and a ton of other features that have become part-and-parcel to the genre as a whole. Its inclusion in the Xbox Game Pass library is a blessing for those who want to explore the early foundation of first-person shooters. Though the weapon sandbox is fairly straightforward, the breakneck speed with which players can move around maps is the highlight of the game. Fast-paced action is delivered whether you are competing in matches against other players or blazing through the story levels. The visuals of Quake, even in its remastered state, are rather dated, but the sheer entertainment value inherent in its mechanics is ageless.

The Ascent

the ascent gameplay image

Approximate Game Length 13 Hours
Genre Action RPG
Developer Neon Giant
X|S Enhanced Yes
File Size 19 GB (November 2022)

The Ascent mashes together several elements that get along swimmingly — the charm and action of a twin stick shooter meet the loot-heavy shenanigans and progression elements typical of isometric action-RPGs in a delightful cyberpunk setting. Players control “Indents,” so-called employees of a massive corporation as they work to pay off their contract’s debt. Up to four players can roam the gritty arcology of the planet Veles, engaging in shootouts with rival gangs or mechanized ferals.

RELATED: Best Indie Games On Xbox Game Pass

Combat in The Ascent is intuitive and never feels like a grind. If anything, despite the raucous, neon nature of the world, lighting up the streets of the metropolis with a handful of friends is simultaneously relaxing and exciting. The Ascent keeps players riveted with the entertaining gunplay without bogging them down in hard-to-learn systems. It’s everything one could want in a cyberpunk-themed game.

Gears Of War: Ultimate Edition

Gears of War Ultimate Edition Baird And Cole

Approximate Game Length 10 Hours
Genre Third-Person Shooter
Developer The Coalition
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 44 GB (November 2022)

The Gears of War franchise is emblematic of third-person cover-based shooters with a heavy emphasis on cooperative gameplay, but at this point, the original titles are starting to really show their age. This is what makes Gears of War: Ultimate Edition a fantastic get on Game Pass — it gives players a chance to experience the series’ roots with a fresh coat of paint and some great quality-of-life improvements. The graphics have been generally enhanced, enemies can be spotted, and weapons can be switched during mad dashes from cover to cover. But aside from these improvements, this Ultimate Edition lets players take a peek at the beginning of Marcus Fenix’s journey and reintroduces the chainsaw-action of the series’ staple weapon, the Lancer. What more could a Gears fan want?

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice

senua holding the skull of her lover

Approximate Game Length 7 Hours
Genre Action-Adventure
Developer Ninja Theory
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 19 GB (November 2022)

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is a gaming experience like no other. It manages to capture the trial of living with psychosis and tell a moving story at the same time. You play as Senua, a Viking warrior seeking to set her lover’s soul at rest by traveling to Helheim. Her journey is harrowing as the voices she hears in her own head plague her (and the player) with doubts and bits of advice. Grotesque hallucinations haunt every one of Senua’s footsteps. While her quest is grueling, and it often makes you question whether or not the whole venture is worth it, it culminates in one of the most satisfying endings in gaming history. Hellblade proves that battling your own demons is a fight worthy of recognition and esteem.

For Honor: Marching Fire Edition

A Samurai fights a Warden in For Honor.

Approximate Game Length 9 Hours
Genre Action Sword-Fighting
Developer Ubisoft Montreal
X|S Enhanced Yes
File Size 45 GB (November 2022)

Mash the combat system of a hack n’ slash RPG up with a fighting game and you wind up walking right into For Honor’s neighborhood. Featuring an over-the-top roster of vikings, knights, and samurai wielding an array of deadly weaponry, the combat might seem heavy-handed and bombastic at first — but scratch the surface and you’ll find nuanced movesets tempered by intuitive blocking and parry systems. The game comes with an appropriately hamfisted campaign mode, but the real treasure is its suite of multiplayer offerings: heart-pounding one-on-one duels, chaotic team battles, and even a few PVE bits all offer unique experiences of their own.

Golf With Your Friends

Approximate Game Length 11 Hours
Genre Casual Sports
Developer Blacklight Interactive, Team17
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 4 GB (November 2022)

Golfing has never been more relaxing or stress-inducing than in Golf With Your Friends. This casual golfing title might seem like an enjoyable co-op experience for a group of friends to partake in. But beneath this seemingly tranquil surface is a turbulent and infuriating game that will break friendships instead of clubs. Easing a golf ball into a hole becomes a practice in impossibility thanks to convoluted courses. From water falls to ghosts to black holes, an array of jaw-dropping obstacles stand in the way of making par. Is it annoying to sink every swing on a single hole? Yes. Is it easy to get lost in the dazzle of new courses? Most certainly. Is it an immense amount of fun to play? Always.

Gears Tactics

Approximate Game Length 30 Hours
Genre Turn-Based Strategy
Developer Splash Damage, The Coalition
X|S Enhanced Yes
File Size 28 GB (November 2022)

Fans of turn-based strategy games like XCOM or Fire Emblem might scoff at the idea of the action-packed Gears of War franchise being turned into a tactics game, but the result is an impressive first foray into the genre. Gears has always been about player positioning, flanks, and coordinated strikes — the translation to top-down strategy game is remarkably seamless.

Related: Best FPS Games On Xbox Game Pass

Strategy game fans who have never touched a Gears title before should absolutely make the time to try out Gears Tactics. The game strikes an impressive balance in its complexity. Newcomers to the turn-based strategy genre won’t feel overwhelmed, but veterans will be pleasantly surprised by some of the very specific tweaks and customizations offered.

Doom (2016)

Approximate Game Length 15 Hours
Genre First-Person Shooter
Developer id Software
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 60 GB (November 2022)

Doom (2016) was the revitalization the series needed to prove to the world that it was still relevant. For a long time, Doom was considered a game of a bygone era, influential but no longer in its prime. Id Software changed all that with the creation of Doom (2016). The Doom Slayer came roaring back into existence, ripping and tearing a new place for himself in the gaming landscape. Not only did this reboot bring Doom back into the cultural awareness, it showed that a single-player campaign that is well-crafted and vigorous good fun can entice players just as much as, if not more than, another battle royale. Doom (2016) is not one to miss for fans of fast-paced shooters and action-packed combat.

Yakuza: Like A Dragon

Cover and screenshot depicting combat from Yakuza: Like A Dragon

Approximate Game Length 50 Hours
Genre JRPG
Developer Ryu Ga Gotoku
X|S Enhanced Yes
File Size 39 GB (November 2022)

Let’s get this out of the way: Yakuza: Like a Dragon is a perfect jumping-off point for anyone new to the Yakuza series. It’s a whole new cast of characters in a whole new area. Yes, there are nods to the rest of the franchise, but there’s nothing to hamper newcomers’ enjoyment. Unlike the rest of the Yakuza games, Like a Dragon is a JRPG in the vein of Dragon Quest or classic Final Fantasy —complete with a party of loveable characters on a noble quest. What fans of the genre won’t be expecting is how well these tropes translate to a modern-day crime drama about found family. Yakuza: Like a Dragon is fun, funny, and an absolute joy to play through. Don’t miss it!

Microsoft Flight Simulator

Screenshot from Microsoft Flight Simulator showing a plane flying over a city.

Approximate Game Length N/A
Genre Flight Simulation
Developer Asobo Studio
X|S Enhanced Yes
File Size 131 GB (November 2022)

The gorgeous vistas of the world are reason enough to give Microsoft Flight Simulator a try, as they truly flex the capabilities of Microsoft’s latest generation of Xbox consoles. However, in addition to the beautiful rendering of the entire planet, the game also gives players an opportunity to test out piloting skills thanks to its intuitive, simulated aircraft controls. A variety of realistically rendered airplanes are at your piloting disposal, replete with interactive features and instruments that lend a deep sense of immersion to this already-stunning simulation title. Take to the sky under a variety of weather and environmental conditions and earn your wings in the way of your choosing.

Gang Beasts

Gang Beasts factory stage

Approximate Game Length N/A
Genre Beat-‘Em-Up/Party
Developer Boneloaf, Coatsink
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 3 GB (November 2022)

Co-op fun of any sort is always a welcome addition to the Xbox Game Pass library, and those who own a subscription can now celebrate the inclusion of Gang Beasts on an already jam-packed roster of great games. Goofy wrestling in silly costumes makes the violent thrashings seem hilarious and adorable. The stages on which players combat each other are simplistic in design, but wacky in concept, from outdoor elevators to churning factory floors to an active subway tunnel. Dipping into a game of Gang Beasts is enjoyable to the extreme, making this lighthearted title a must-play for anyone who wants to have a bumbling brawl.

Injustice 2

Gear Gained Online & Offline in Injustice 2

Approximate Game Length 10 Hours
Genre Fighting Game
Developer NetherRealm Studios
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 33 GB (November 2022)

The iconic mechanics of the more recent titles in the Mortal Kombat franchise were perfectly paired with the DC Universe in Injustice. Superpowered characters exchanging bone-shattering blows was already NetherRealm’s essential bread-and-butter, so that should come as no surprise. The sequel simply polishes an already explosive formula — from iconic mainstays like Batman and Superman to relatively deep digs like Blue Beetle and Atrocitus, the roster is bursting with heroic and villainous selections sure to delight the considerable intersections between DC and fighting-game fans to no end.

Hollow Knight

Split image of Hollow Knight gameplay and cover

Approximate Game Length 30 Hours
Genre 2D Platform Exploration (Metroidvania)
Developer Team Cherry
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 7 GB (November 2022)

Hollow Knight’s exploration and genuine sense of discovery are easily some of the best in the genre. It’s a shining example of how to make a Metroidvania in the modern era. Hollow Knight never trades in its mystery or world-building for padded side quests or game-breaking boosts.

RELATED: Best Soulslike Games On Xbox Game Pass

It remains a somber, magical, and deceptively challenging game all the way through. It definitely takes a page from the Dark Souls series, so be prepared to wander into new areas with caution, and get ready to learn every boss’ pattern exactly.

Halo Wars 2

Halo Wars 2 Warthog vs. Wraith Battle

Approximate Game Length 10 Hours
Genre Real-Time Strategy
Developer Creative Assembly, 343 Industries
X|S Enhanced Yes
File Size 43 GB (November 2022)

Halo’s initial foray into real-time strategy was certainly a twist for the established FPS juggernaut, especially for consoles. But it went over surprisingly smoothly — the controls were intuitively mapped for controllers, and the streamlined gameplay made for a great RTS title for fans of both the genre and the mainline Halo franchise. Halo Wars 2 didn’t fix what wasn’t broken, but added enough nuance to the formula to make it a rock-solid sequel.

At surface level, it’s a competent RTS title. But the devil’s in the details — Halo Wars 2 included a surprisingly well-crafted cooperative mode for tackling its campaign, and said campaign manages to preserve the bombast and grandeur expected of a Halo title even with the drastic shift in genre. What’s more is that the hotly anticipated Halo Infinite seems to be drawing on lore elements introduced in Halo Wars 2 (namely the antagonistic Covenant rebel faction known as the Banished), so it’s certainly worth it to get caught up on the opposing forces arrayed against the Master Chief in the upcoming game.

Human Fall Flat

Human: Fall Flat

Approximate Game Length 8 Hours
Genre Puzzle Platformer
Developer No Breaks Game, Codeglue
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 3 GB (November 2022)

Equal parts puzzle game and platformer, Human Fall Flat tasks players with navigating a series of surreal dreamscapes that revolve around a central theme. Each level introduces new mechanics that play a key role in traversing the clear-cut geometry of the environments. The oftentimes bizarre conceptual basis of the stages themselves coupled with the reliably hilarious implementation of the game’s physics practically guarantee an uproarious time, but the puzzles themselves are thoughtfully designed. The experience is made all the more enjoyable when played alongside one or more friends — cooperatively brainstorming solutions to puzzles is surprisingly exhilarating… when you’re not busy trying to figure out new and exciting ways to throw one another into bottomless pits.

Psychonauts

Psychonauts gameplay images

Approximate Game Length 16 Hours
Genre Platform Adventure
Developer Double Fine Productions
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 4 GB (November 2022)

The original Psychonauts was the definition of “hidden gem” when it released in 2005. Despite critical acclaim, the hysterical puzzle/platformer didn’t find much of an audience until years later. With a sequel finally here (fifteen years and three console generations later), there’s never been a better time to play through one of Double Fine’s most beloved titles. Fans of any 3D open-world platformers, collectathons, or adventure games will feel right at home in the world of Psychonauts. Not only is it one of the funniest games ever written (alongside the likes of Portal), but the creativity of its level design rivals some of Nintendo’s best worlds.

Grim Fandango

Grim Fandango Remastered cover art

Approximate Game Length 10 Hours
Genre Classic Adventure
Developer LucasArts
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 4 GB (November 2022)

Grim Fandango has players exploring and solving puzzles in a film noir version of the Land of the Dead. It is easily one of the most striking and unique games in the Xbox Game Pass portfolio. Grim Fandango‘s sheer creativity makes it a treat to go through, but that’s not the sole merit it sells itself on. The game has an incredible style and sense of place, but it also backs all of its pizzazz up with equally compelling characters. But fair warning! For as great as Grim Fandango‘s world and writing are (and yes, they still hold up today), it is worth mentioning that this is a classic adventure game. There’s very little hand-holding to speak of, even in the remastered edition on Game Pass. That said, there’s no shame in looking up a puzzle or two.

Goat Simulator

Goat Simulator

Approximate Game Length 5 Hours
Genre Casual Goat Simulation
Developer Coffee Stain Studios
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 3 GB (November 2022)

Though there are plenty of strategic titles available to play on Xbox Game Pass, sometimes all anyone really needs is the ability to be a goat for a short while. Thankfully, Goat Simulator has this covered. The delightful physics of the game can keep players entertained for hours, long after they’ve uncovered many of the secret achievements and hilarious references it contains. The joy of being a destructive goat is brought to life in this riot of a title by Coffee Stain Studios. And while the actual functions of being a real-life goat are largely ignored for comedy’s sake, the fantastical nature of Goat Simulator keeps entertainment levels at an all-time high. Look like a goat. Act like a goat. Be like a goat.

Banjo-Kazooie

Banjo Kazooie split image

Approximate Game Length 12 Hours
Genre 3D Platformer
Developer Rare
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 576 MB (November 2022)

Very few developers can live up to the incredible quality of Nintendo games. In 1998, Rare released Banjo-Kazooie on the N64, and managed to compete —and in some ways exceed— the genre-defining Super Mario 64. Luckily, the HD re-release of Banjo-Kazooie holds up remarkably well. With so few traditional 3D platformers releasing to pick up the mantle, it remains one of the best games in the genre readily available today. The original Banjo-Kazooie builds on the open-world hub design popularized by Mario 64, and expands on it with an interlocking array of shortcuts and secrets. Combined with some incredibly creative abilities, a loveable cast, and an unforgettable soundtrack by the legendary Grant Kirkhope — it’s obvious why fans are still clamoring for a Banjo-Kazooie 3 years later.

Star Wars: Squadrons

Simulation Star Wars Squadrons In Cockpit Attack

Approximate Game Length 10 Hours
Genre Space Flight Simulation
Developer Motive Studios
X|S Enhanced Yes
File Size 24 GB (November 2022)

EA’s track record with Star Wars properties may have seen a fairly recent low point, but Squadrons contributes to their redemption arc in fairly fine fashion. Though the title may imply a relation to the iconic N64 title, Squadrons is most certainly a more immersive brand of space flight sim. That said, it’s likely one of the more accessible recent entries into the genre when compared to the likes of Elite Dangerous.

RELATED: The Best Star Wars Games to Play in 2021

The campaign’s not quite robust, but still weaves a decently compelling narrative as players experience both sides of the ongoing conflict between the Rebel Alliance and the Empire in the aftermath of the second Death Star’s destruction. However, the multiplayer suite is clearly the star of the show. The thrilling 5v5 dogfights make for intense instant-action space battles, while Fleet Battles offer a more tactical experience as you and your squadmates strategically assault the enemy’s capital ships while defending your own. The game’s fantastic visual performance in VR is just the cherry on top. Read our review here.

Undertale

Undertale Sans

Approximate Game Length 8 Hours
Genre RPG Adventure
Developer Toby Fox
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 275 MB (November 2022)

A heartfelt delight from start to finish, Undertale is an indie darling for a reason. It takes typical tropes found in old-school RPGs and uses them to spin a surprisingly deep tale that takes player action into consideration. Players accompany a young child through an underground world of monsters as they try to make their way back to the surface. These “monsters” are full of kind-hearted insight and jovial humor, and talking to each one is part of the game’s charm. Undertale is the kind of game that comes around once in a lifetime, and it is a must-play title for any fan of the RPG genre. Though the challenges that Undertale presents can be arduous, its story is nothing short of miraculous. It’s the kind of game that fills you with determination.

Fable 2

Fable 2 cover and in-game monster

Approximate Game Length 12 Hours
Genre Action RPG
Developer Lionhead Studios
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 8 GB (November 2022)

Fable 2’s critical reception upon launching in 2008 was on par with the landmark release of Bethesda’s Fallout 3 — no mean feat considering the impressive legacy of the latter. Fable 2 isn’t an 80+ hour epic open-world RPG with endless possibilities. Still, the decisions players make and the impact these have on the world still feel more tangible than a lot of modern games with branching narratives. Fable 2’s setting evokes whimsy and wonder, but it never feels toothless or childish. It’s a perfect taste of the universe Lionhead and Peter Molyneux created and a great entry to jump into before the Microsoft Studios franchise reboot set to release on the Xbox Series X|S

Prey

Prey cover art

Approximate Game Length 25 Hours
Genre First-Person Shooter/Immersive Sim
Developer Arkane Studios
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 37 GB (November 2022)

Becoming immersed in a science-fiction universe that is as well-crafted as Prey’s is an experience like no other. Thrown into the mind of Morgan Yu, players must unravel the mystery behind the catastrophe that has befallen the Talos I space station. A strange alien life form known as the Typhon has taken over, and Morgan must contend with the peculiar threat they pose to the humans left alive on the station. Arkane Studios blends aspects of Dishonored, BioShock, and Soma in a masterful fashion, allowing players to choose how they wish to tackle problems they encounter. They can proceed in a stealthy fashion, upgrade weapons and go in guns blazing, acquire almost supernatural powers from Neuromods, or use the handy GLOO Cannon to tackle the Typhon menace. The appeal of Prey comes not only from the immersive world of its narrative but from the diverse array of playstyle options it gives its players to do with as they will.

Stellaris

Approximate Game Length 30 Hours (Per Game)
Genre Grand Strategy
Developer Paradox Interactive
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 13 GB (November 2022)

Grand strategy games make for a precious commodity on consoles, as the genre’s innate complexity and densely layered menus don’t tend to translate well. Stellaris, however, breaks that mold in fine fashion. After selecting (or generating) the civilization of their dreams, players are placed at its helm as it discovers faster-than-light (FTL) travel and begins its journey amongst the stars. Whether by military might, diplomatic intrigue, or economic guile, the general goal is establishing interstellar supremacy. But as the saying goes, it’s the journey and not the destination. The myriad of potential events that may unfold as you guide your civilization along the path to victory is truly astounding. Occurrences that range from humorously bizarre to terrifyingly cataclysmic lurk behind every discovered planet and unmapped corner of the galaxy. Players will chase clues left behind by ancient precursor civilizations, encounter all manner of alien races, explore the furthest reaches of known space, and so much more. No two games will ever turn out the same.

Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes Of An Elusive Age – Definitive Edition

Dragon Quest 11 S characters

Approximate Game Length 70 Hours
Genre JRPG
Developer Square Enix
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 31 GB (November 2022)

Dragon Quest XI follows a silent protagonist and his band of merry friends as they explore impressive vistas and small towns in a typical JRPG fashion. Unlike the modern Final Fantasy games, Echoes of an Elusive Age sticks to the traditional turn-based battles of yesteryear. Yes, Dragon Quest XI is still an aggressively traditional JRPG, but that doesn’t stop it from being a first-class game and a must for any fans of the genre. Square Enix has been iterating on the Dragon Quest formula for three decades, and it shows. It’s hard to imagine a more polished and complete package than Dragon Quest XI. Read our review here.

Fallout 4

A piece of promo art for Fallout 4

Approximate Game Length 70 Hours
Genre Action Role-Playing
Developer Bethesda
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 51 GB (November 2022)

Bethesda’s latest spin on the definitive post-apocalyptic roleplaying experience isn’t without its detractors, but it’s hard to argue that anyone’s getting a raw deal with its inclusion on Game Pass. As the Lone Survivor of Vault 111, players are immediately faced with tracking down their son after he’s snatched from the Vault by a mysterious band of mercenaries and scientists. It’s a simple and lofty motivation, but factoring in an irradiated wasteland rife with terrifying mutants, raiders, and long-abandoned ruins concealing vital supplies, it becomes apparent that the road’s going to get bumpy. Fallout 4 took a significant (and fair) amount of flak for its relatively rail-roaded narrative and lackluster dialogue navigation, but frankly, there’s still a lot there to love.

RELATED: 10 Most Breathtaking Locations In Fallout 4

Describing a wasteland ravaged by nuclear war as “beautiful” doesn’t roll off of the tongue, but Bethesda’s signature open-world charm is still well-intact. The Commonwealth serves as a compelling setting, from the ruins of Boston to the Glowing Sea. And as per usual, there’s a near-endless amount of content for players to explore and uncover. And once poring over the vanilla content has lost its luster, one can turn to an impressive and accessible selection of mods to spice up their playthrough utilizing the modding community’s boundless creativity.

Forza Horizon 4

Xbox One Forza Horizon 4 Race Autumn

Approximate Game Length 13 Hours
Genre Racing Simulation
Developer Playground Games
X|S Enhanced Yes
File Size 78 GB (November 2022)

There’s nothing quite like coasting past Great Britain’s stunning vista at 150 mph with lo-fi beats propelling each and every drift. Forza Horizon 4 makes simulation racing seem easy, expertly mixing arcade racer challenges with precision controls. Not to mention that Horizon 4 is easily one of the best-looking games on modern consoles — and it looks even better on the Series X. The Horizon franchise has been polished and refined over 15 years, and it shows: Forza Horizon 4 is the benchmark all other racing games are judged against. Read our review here.

Tetris Effect: Connected

tetris effect connected

Approximate Game Length 2 Hours
Genre Puzzle
Developer Monstars, Resonair, Stage Games
X|S Enhanced Yes
File Size 4 GB (November 2022)

There’s a little bit of extra magic in Tetris Effect that takes it to another level beyond being a run-of-the-mill adaptation of the 1984 tile-matching phenomenon. Of course, this is Tetris at its core, which needs no explanation. The crowning jewel of Tetris Effect is its roughly 2-hour long “Journey Mode,” which whisks players between a series of audio-visual vignettes. These occupy the space between a live concert with electric lighting and lasers and a state-of-the-art planetarium visit. Combined with a multiplayer mode, and a tremendous version of the original game, Tetris Effect: Connected is the full package.

Titanfall 2

Approximate Game Length 7 Hours
Genre First-Person Shooter
Developer Respawn Entertainment
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 68 GB (November 2022)

Titanfall 2’s relatively understated presence in the FPS genre is more than a bit puzzling, because it was the object of significant critical acclaim upon release. And its die-hard fanbase has quietly asserted that it’s handily one of the most solid shooters to have ever hit the market for years since. Frankly, they’ve got a lot going on to support that opinion. The game’s campaign is practically as solid as its multiplayer suite, with the former weaving a compelling sci-fi narrative around pilot-in-training Cooper and his surly oversized robot acquaintance, BT-7274.

RELATED: Xbox Game Pass: 15 Best Multiplayer Games On The Service

Big mechs and wall-running mechanics go a long way on their own, but Respawn’s take on the FPS formula just feels polished in a way that many contemporary shooters don’t — and is more than partially responsible for its remarkable overnight success with Apex Legends.

The Walking Dead

Approximate Game Length 13 Hours
Genre Episodic Adventure
Developer Telltale Games
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 4 GB (November 2022)

Telltale’s The Walking Dead resulted in the studio’s meteoric success, as well as the contemporary popularization of the graphic adventure genre. Capitalizing on the popularity of The Walking Dead following its adaptation into a wildly popular television series, Telltale’s take on The Walking Dead is initially told from the perspective of former convict Lee, whose journey to prison is interrupted by the zombie outbreak. Eventually, the focus shifts to the young Clementine and follows her evolution into a savvy survivor hardened by the ravages of the post-apocalypse. The unfolding narrative bends and shifts responsively to the player’s choices throughout the game, making every dialogue option seem tense and impactful while ensuring that no two playthroughs end up telling the same story.

Ori & The Will Of The Wisps

Ori and Will Of The Wisps Bear

Approximate Game Length 12 Hours
Genre Platform Adventure/Metroidvania
Developer Moon Studios
X|S Enhanced Yes
File Size 5 GB (November 2022)

Beauty is not often associated with video games, but Ori and the Will of the Wisps is a beautiful title. The artistry with which character motions and backgrounds were created is astounding. Even the music that accompanies players along their journey with Ori is gorgeous. However, Ori is not simply a great game because it looks good. It is functionally exquisite as well. The precise platforming from the first game, Ori and the Blind Forest, is still in place, with even more tools of traversal at players’ disposal. New combat mechanics have been added to Will of the Wisps as well, and they are extraordinary to execute. Ori and the Will of the Wisps is the complete package: jaw-dropping visuals, emotional storytelling, and perfectly honed gameplay elements. Read our review here.

Mass Effect 2

Garrus Vakarian and Commander Shepard split image

Approximate Game Length 25 Hours
Genre Third-Person Shooter/RPG
Developer BioWare
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 13 GB (November 2022)

Though subsequent titles were released after it, Mass Effect 2 remains the pinnacle of the series. Commander Shepard and the rest of the Normandy SR-2 crew face a grave threat to the galaxy. The Reaper menace is ever-growing, and players must assume the role of Commander Shepard as they plan to tackle this foe.

RELATED: The Best RPGs On Xbox Game Pass

Mass Effect 2 is truly BioWare at its finest, with compelling dialogue between characters, engaging combat sequences, and a high-stakes story that ends on an unforgettable note. Despite the age this classic RPG is showing, it is a game worth playing.

Slay The Spire

slay-the-spire-tcg-roguelike

Approximate Game Length 20-60 Minutes Per Run
Genre Deck-Builder Roguelike
Developer Mega Crit Games
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 572 MB (November 2022)

Slay the Spire popularized and perfected the deck-building rogue-like in one fell swoop. It’s an impeccably well-balanced game that threads the needle between being simple enough for newcomers and deep enough for veterans of the genre. Because Slay the Spire is a single-player game, enemies aren’t confined to the same rule-set as the player, which lets every enemy feel unique and exciting. Any fans of drafting table-top games or classic TCGs like Magic: The Gathering owe it to themselves to give Slay the Spire a try.

The Evil Within

The Evil Within Sebastian fights The Keeper

Approximate Game Length 18 Hours
Genre Survival Horror
Developer Tango Gameworks
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 34 GB (November 2022)

A large part of The Evil Within’s appeal comes from its cinematic approach to the genre. An unnerving ambience is key to immersing players in Detective Sebastian Castellanos’ plummet into abject horror. Trapped in the mind of a sadistic killer, Sebastian is confronted with gruesome scenes at every turn, and players are tasked with relentlessly pressing forward no matter the next nightmare that awaits them. Reminiscent of the Resident Evil series, The Evil Within forges its own identity with bloody imagery that borders on hallucinogenic and a combat system that is as measured as it is gripping. If one can find the resolve to pick up this gut-churning title, The Evil Within’s established take on horror makes it impossible to put down.

Sea Of Thieves

Pirate playing concertina

Approximate Game Length N/A
Genre Online Adventure
Developer Rare
X|S Enhanced Yes
File Size 75 GB (November 2022)

Despite weathering criticism concerning a lack of content at the outset, Sea of Thieves has steadily been accruing more in-game activities for players to pursue as it sails along. Rare’s delightfully vibrant pirate simulator plops you onto a dock with a ship — and the rest is up to you. Whether you sail about completing tasks for one of the trading companies, seek out other players for some PVP thrills, or aimlessly hop about from island to island slaying skeletons with no particular aim in mind, the game doesn’t push you in any particular direction. However, that’s an intrinsic part of its charm. It can certainly be played solo, but earnestly, you’ll want to grab a friend or three before diving in. The pirate’s life truly shines when it’s lived alongside a few loyal crewmates.

Skyrim

Approximate Game Length 34-100 Hours
Genre Open-World RPG
Developer Bethesda Game Studios
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 29 GB (November 2022)

The Elder Scrolls has been synonymous with the very concept of open-world RPGs for decades now, and Skyrim is the title to show if a demonstration is required. All memes aside, the Dragonborn’s quest to defeat Alduin is a spectacle rarely equaled by RPGs in general, and a lot of that is due to the fact that it has as many chapters as the player would like it to have. The frigid province of Skyrim is unforgivingly gorgeous, and the amount of “optional” content is nearly endless. Factor in the innovative decision to make a stunning library of user-generated mods available on Xbox consoles, and you have what is likely the most content-rich game currently available on Game Pass.

Alien: Isolation

ps5 console customization

Approximate Game Length 20 Hours
Genre First-Person Survival Horror
Developer Creative Assembly
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 24 GB (November 2022)

For the most part, games based on the Alien movie franchise have been frantic shooter affairs, clearly drawing their inspiration from James Cameron’s space marine sequel film, Aliens. Alien: Isolation chooses instead to base its environments and style of horror on Ridley Scott’s classic original Alien. Fans of Scott’s film will undoubtedly be pleased by Isolation, as the entire title serves as an homage. However, the game does not rest on the movie’s laurels. Alien: Isolation creates one of the most suspenseful horror experiences ever played in a video game. This is all owing to the fantastic AI of the titular Alien. The perfect predatory instincts of the Xenomorph make players feel as if their every step is heard, and when the Alien is in play, there is no relief from that tension.

A Way Out

Approximate Game Length 6 Hours
Genre Co-Op Action-Adventure
Developer Hazelight Studios
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 17 GB (November 2022)

A Way Out distinguishes itself from nearly every other game on the market by not just offering a co-op mode, but by making it the essential centerpiece of the experience. Emphasis on “essential,” as it can’t actually be played in single-player. Players take on the roles of Vincent and Leo, two inmates planning an escape from the prison where they are currently being held. Little do they know the twists and turns their adventure will take.

RELATED: EA Didn’t Think A Way Out Would Sell

A Way Out takes players on a unique journey, albeit an occasionally awkward one. Stiff dialogue and forced emotional moments aside, the perfectly absurd narrative and strangely integrated (yet thoroughly fun) mini-games weave together an uproarious experience for you and your partner of choice.

Doom Eternal

doom eternal review

Approximate Game Length 16 Hours
Genre First-Person Shooter
Developer id Software
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 82 GB (November 2022)

Doom’s explosive 2016 reboot was a tough act to follow — a fact that didn’t seem to elude id Software when it came to designing the sequel. Following the events of the Doom Slayer’s initial outing, the forces of Hell have invaded Earth. From there, the narrative unfolds as expected: the Doom Slayer’s got a job to do, and it’s going to involve a lot of shotgun shells. Doom Eternal, pardon the cliche, turns every knob up to eleven, tears them off, and forgets that they existed to begin with. It may have seemed impossible to make the fevered rhythm of Doom 2016’s combat even more of an arrhythmia-inducing experience, but id Software did just that by expanding the Slayer’s arsenal and unleashing even more terrifying demons for him to loose it upon. Read our review here.

Overcooked 2

Overcooked 2

Approximate Game Length 8 Hours
Genre Cooking Simulation
Developer Team17, Ghost Town Games
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 8 GB (November 2022)

Finding the perfect co-op game can be a bit of a struggle, but Overcooked 2 has got that covered. This absolute treat of a game allows up to four players to bumble about different kitchens preparing familiar dishes.

RELATED: The Best Local Co-Op & Split-Screen Games On Xbox Game Pass

Hilarity ensues as each kitchen needs to be cleared within a certain time limit. If the game feels like a breeze after the first playthrough, Overcooked 2 adds challenges to the mix by including secret levels and additional stars to earn. Don’t hesitate to join the Onion King and his faithful dog Kevin as they seek to halt the Unbread after they were raised using the Necro-nom-nom-icon. It’s one scrumptious journey.

Wolfenstein: The New Order

Approximate Game Length 20 Hours
Genre First-Person Shooter
Developer MachineGames
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 44 GB (November 2022)

Looking at screenshots of Wolfenstein: The New Order, it would be easy to mistake it for a modern-day retreading of the 1980s corridor shooters its predecessors popularized. However, The New Order set the stage for a 21st-century version of Wolfenstein that lives up its lineage and forges a new path for the series. It matches the smooth gunplay id Software fans expect with a dusting of RPG tropes (i.e. skill trees, branching narrative paths, and side quests), and the whole package comes together exceptionally well. The WWII alternate history narrative expertly switches between the ultra-violence and bombast id Software is known for and —somehow— manages to tie into an emotional core with a beautifully drawn cast of characters. The latest series of Wolfenstein games (developed by MachineGames) are easily some of the best single-player first-person shooters available today, and The New Order is the best place to start.

Dishonored 2

Approximate Game Length 18 Hours
Genre First-Person Action-Adventure/Stealth
Developer Arkane Studios
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 54 GB (November 2022)

Dishonored was a phenomenal stealth title, and its sequel follows in its footsteps while managing to take some big strides forward on its own. Dishonored 2 is a gem that has gone vastly unappreciated. It continues the story of Corvo and Emily as they work to regain the throne after a coup. Players can pick between one or the other to play as, and both Corvo and Emily are given unique skills, making Dishonored 2 highly replayable. In addition to that, Dishonored 2 is home to one of the most innovative and exciting levels in video game history, utilizing a time-travel mechanic in a manner that astounds and inspires.

Deep Rock Galactic

Approximate Game Length N/A
Genre Co-Op First-Person Shooter
Developer Ghost Ship Games
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 3 GB (November 2022)

Danger. Darkness. Dwarves. Everything that needs to be known about Deep Rock Galactic can be summed up in its tagline. Up to four players can dive into the dangerous mines of Hoxxes IV, braving the enemies that lurk in the darkness as doughty dwarves. The straightforward nature of Deep Rock Galactic’s gameplay belies the deeper system in place. There are multiple mining assignments players can tackle, intuitive upgrade paths, and a delightful hub area where players can relax (or randomly bellow “Rock and Stone!” between pints of ale) before diving into a tense mission. Deep Rock Galactic knows what its strengths are, and it knows how to play to them. All players have to do is prepare themselves for a good time.

Battlefield: Hardline

Approximate Game Length 8 Hours
Genre First-Person Shooter
Developer Visceral Games
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 48 GB (November 2022)

There’s a whole suite of Battlefield goodness available via EA Play — and frankly, if the series’ signature multiplayer madness is your jam then you’re better off opting for one of the more recent titles. However, Hardline deserves a special mention on account of its relatively innovative campaign.

RELATED: Best EA Games On Xbox Game Pass (Through EA Play/Ultimate)

In a genre where single-player offerings often play second fiddle to the multiplayer component, Hardline’s bombastic police drama is a diamond in the rough that’s more than worth the price of admission.

Grounded

Grounded spider and cover image

Approximate Game Length N/A
Genre Survival Adventure
Developer Obsidian Entertainment
X|S Enhanced Yes
File Size 8 GB (November 2022)

Obsidian Entertainment is back at it again with a unique take on the survival genre. Players assume the role of kids who have mysteriously become minuscule in a strange Honey-I-Shrunk-the-Kids kind of scenario. Now no larger than an ant, these kids have to find out what happened to them and survive the perilous environs of an average backyard. Grounded is an utter joy. Collecting grass blades to construct shelter, pebbles to make hammers, and water droplets to quench your thirst puts a fresh sheen to this rather crowded genre. The only thing to watch out for? The spiders. Common spiders are the primary enemies in Grounded, and for those who suffer from a touch of arachnophobia, a sudden attack from one of them can be practically heart-stopping.

Peggle

Approximate Game Length 5 Hours
Genre Puzzle
Developer PopCap Games
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 640 MB (November 2022)

Peggle is a straightforward puzzle game, make no mistake about that. Players shoot a set amount of balls to clear a level of an array of pegs in the center of the screen. That is the gist of the game. However, its simplicity is all part of Peggle’s genius. There is nothing more satisfying than to aim that cannon, shoot that ball, and then watch it bounce from peg to peg. A further layer of strategy is added to the game when different characters, with different ball-shooting abilities, are unlocked. The basic nature of Peggle’s premise should not deter anyone from playing it. Besides, nothing beats the exultation of hitting that final peg, when the screen zooms in on the ball in slow motion and the triumphant sounds of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy trumpets forth.

Gears 5

gears 5 deaf accessibility

Approximate Game Length 11 Hours
Genre Third-Person Shooter/Action-Adventure
Developer The Coalition
X|S Enhanced Yes
File Size 45 GB (November 2022)

The latest mainline entry in the Gears franchise is one of its boldest. Gears 5 rolls right into new territory with a fresh multiplayer mode, a partial open-world experience in the middle of the campaign, and a devastating story twist that has left fans reeling. As with any Gears title, Gears 5 offers a robust campaign co-op experience with up to three players. The game follows Kait Diaz and her companions as they struggle to hold the line against the encroaching wave of the Swarm. Action is the order of the day any time a player picks up Gears 5, and between roaring a Lancer’s chainsaw at an enemy and diving for cover from an onslaught of bullets, there’s hardly a moment left to breathe. Read our review here.

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order

Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order Trailer Fight

Approximate Game Length 17 Hours
Genre Action-Adventure
Developer Respawn Entertainment
X|S Enhanced Yes
File Size 50 GB (November 2022)

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is the best lightsaber game of the modern era. Developer Respawn lovingly combines heavy exploration (think modern Tomb Raider games), with a more nuanced battle system in the vein of God of War or Dark Souls. The game takes place in the fallout of Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith, and puts players in the role Cal Kestis — an untrained Jedi Padawan. With subtle touches like using Cal’s lightsaber as a flashlight or customizing its hilt, Fallen Order feels like a 21st-century love letter to the Star Wars toys and action figures of decades past. It’s also a fantastic action-adventure game. Read our review here.

Frostpunk

Approximate Game Length 10 Hours
Genre City-Building Survival
Developer 11 bit Studios
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 5 GB (November 2022)

11 bit’s recent reputation for generating thoughtful, yet heartwrenching conceptual titles holds true with Frostpunk. Set in the late 19th century following the onset of a cataclysmic volcanic winter, Frostpunk tasks players with managing a group of survivors as they struggle to survive the sub-zero temperatures — and themselves. While the elements are brutal enough to contend with using limited resources and the precise application of heat sources, players will be confronted with ethical dilemmas that demand one sacrifice or another. Implementing necessary policies will disenfranchise, if not outright endanger their population in many scenarios, putting your ideals and humanity in jeopardy as you struggle to answer a singular question: how far will you push the people under your care for the sake of seeing another frostbitten day?

Outer Worlds

A town in The Outer Worlds

Approximate Game Length 20 Hours
Genre RPG
Developer Obsidian Entertainment
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 53 GB (November 2022)

Obsidian Entertainment played to its strengths here, and it shows. As the lucky person chosen to be plucked from a derelict colonist ship (unsubtly dubbed “The Hope”) to raise some hell, Halcyon essentially your oyster. Whether you’re a guns-blazing commando or a smooth-talking pacifist, Obsidian’s taken pains to ensure that you’re able to dismantle or decide the delightfully morose corporate deadlock ruling over Halcyon in your own way. The Outer Worlds excels in terms of writing, features a vibrant cast of characters, and packs in an impressive amount of player agency given how narrative-heavy it is. In short, it’s a fine dose of good, old-fashioned RPG goodness. Read our review here.

Dead Space

Necromorph Attacking Isaac Clarke In Dead Space 2

Approximate Game Length 12 Hours
Genre Third-Person Shooter/Survival Horror
Developer Visceral Games (Formerly EA Redwood Shores)
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 6 GB (November 2022)

Combine the measured horror of Resident Evil 4 with a cold and unfeeling sci-fi environment, and Dead Space is the end result. Players join Isaac Clarke as he traverses the dark, metallic hallways of the USG Ishimura, a gargantuan planet-mining spaceship. Gruesome terror lurks around every corner in the form of Necromorphs, the reanimated corpses of the Ishimura’s crew. Though Dead Space was first released in 2008, it maintains an unrelenting sense of dread that exceeds the bounds of most modern horror games. Its atmosphere will linger in your memory long after you’ve finished the game, and whispers of “Make us whole” will haunt your worst nightmares.

Minecraft

Approximate Game Length N/A
Genre Survival Sandbox
Developer Mojang
X|S Enhanced No
File Size 1 GB (November 2022)

Is there really any respectably concise way to describe Minecraft? Having managed to reach 200 million sales since its humble 2011 origin, this unassuming little sandbox title pays dividends with the sheer breadth and variance of content it’s capable of. Feel like testing your mettle against the elements and an array of hostile creatures that emerge after nightfall? Survival Mode is the place to be. Into quite literally creating your own fun, or just wanting to channel your inner architectural visionary without limitation? Creative Mode is the answer. Of course, there’s also a maddening depth of community-generated content to explore as well. Of all the titillating titles available on Game Pass, Minecraft is the one most likely to never make egress from your hard drive.

NEXT: Best Xbox Game Pass Games For Kids

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