Game subscription services have become more and more important in the gaming ecosystem (for better or worse), and Game Pass is no exception to that when it comes to Xbox. XGP has so many games that are both exclusive first-party titles and third-party titles on the service that make it worthwhile to subscribe to. While the first-party adventures won’t typically leave, the third-party ones might eventually leave. I have a large list of games for this service that I recommend, but here is the first list of ten games that I think should be played.
1) A Plague Tale: Requiem (Asobo Studios / Focus Entertainment) – $60
Seeing as my laptop is nowhere as powerful when compared to a PlayStation 5, I had to make the choice to either spend money on this game for a physical copy on PlayStation or to play on Game Pass with my laptop and potentially get a sub-par version. I decided to grab this game on PlayStation. With that being said, there is massive value that the game is available on Game Pass. I personally don’t have a console, but if I did, this would be a title I played on Game Pass and got a physical later down the line. This title is such a fantastic ride to take part in and if you liked the first one, Amicia and Hugo (along with all the other characters) do not disappoint in this title. I am excited for the next title in the franchise, and hopefully, there is something that comes along sooner rather than later.
2) Cocoon (Geometric Interactive / Annapurna Interactive) – $25
This year we have had so many amazing indie game releases, and right now my indie game of the year has to be this one. An almost perfect puzzle game with a beautiful art design. The game has no dialogue but showcases a very simplistic narrative through the scenery that is around you with an inclusion of a nice musical score. The game has all-around terrific puzzles that contain both easy challenges and hard ones in a balance that never made my brain go to autopilot nor did it ever make my brain hurt with how tough they were. The game got a grip on me and honestly didn’t let me go until I rolled credits. I thought the bosses were also crafted extremely fairly with them always leaving me happy once I beat them.
3) Arcade Paradise (Nosebleed Interactive / Wired Productions) – $20
This was a title that I was actually eyeing for the longest time. There were a few reasons why I hesitated and one of them I have started to overcome more; it is a game strictly in first person. Your character has been put in charge of a laundromat in order to impress someone but wants to turn it into a hotspot for the town and it becomes an arcade over time. The story might seem basic, but there are twists that make the adventure worthwhile more than it might appear on the outside. The title is one that seriously is one of my favorite simulator games that I have ever played, from the great visuals, music, gameplay, and everything else in the adventure. I still do not like Sam but everything else in the game was fun. Now, the final part of this adventure is hunting down a physical copy for the game.
4) Death’s Door (Acid Nerve / Devolver Digital) – $20
Devolver Digital is one of my absolute favorite indie publishers that come out with many fantastic games. Death’s Door is no exception to this rule and provides players with a fantastic action adventure with many unique characters. It might look like it is an easy adventure while you are playing as a crow, but let me just say it really does get tricky throughout the game. Optional challenges, including playing the game with just the umbrella as the melee weapon provide even more difficulty than is already in the game. I got all of the different trophies for the game on PlayStation for this game. It honestly is one of my favorite Devolver Digital titles I have ever played. With it being on Game Pass, it is a no-brainer for you to play it on this service! That true ending is also something to behold for this adventure.
5) Hi-Fi Rush (Tokyo Gameworks / Bethesda Softworks) – $30
The first title that truly made me say, it’s absolutely time to jump in and get aboard the Game Pass train. After playing it, I definitely made the right decision as this is one of my favorite games of the year. I even reviewed it, and loved the game as a whole! Check out the review here if you want to, but this game is a jam-packed adventure with awesome art, a stunning score, and all-around terrific characters. The gameplay is rhythm based action combat which feels insanely fluid. Honestly, I kind of wish this game got a retail release as it would probably be one of only a handful of games I would have physically for the Xbox Series X ecosystem. I don’t normally care for Bethesda games in all honesty as FPS games and Western RPGs aren’t my style, but this one is absolutely fantastic as it isn’t what they are normally known for. Plus, this game was announced and released with no wait; a straight up magical Nin… I mean Xbox shadow drop.
6) Ori and the Blind Forest & Ori and the Will of the Wisps (Moon Studios / Xbox Game Studios) – $50
Before acquiring my gaming PC, there were many times that I almost purchased an Xbox. Not necessarily for the AAA titles, rather it was more of the indie scene that kept getting me. The Ori franchise was one of these situations. I almost caved and bought the system; but because I waited too long, they came to the Nintendo Switch. I ended up playing both of these titles on this system, and I loved both of them so much that I decided to get the collector’s edition from iam8bit when it was released. Saying that though, I would absolutely love to play these games again and obtain achievements on Game Pass for these truly stunning adventures once the sheer number of quality games slows down. If you haven’t played these games before, and you have the service, please play them when you get the chance as they are both phenomenal.
7) Persona 4 Golden (Atlus / Sega) – $20
Atlus games have always had a place in my heart since way back on the PS2. I never jumped into the Persona franchise until I grew up and played Persona 5 on the PS4. Ever since then, it is absolutely in my top 5 franchises of all time. Persona 3 Portable is one that I have yet to experience as I rather wait for Persona 3 Re:Load and then play P3P afterward to see what the experience is as a fresh coat of eyes. I also absolutely love Persona 5 Royal but that game is leaving Game Pass today (November 1st) so I am left with the last one that is on Game Pass: Persona 4 Golden. Persona 4 Golden has so much to it that it’s hard to describe everything but it is a JRPG experience like no other with the memorable cast, outstanding soundtrack, beautiful scenery, powerful themes, and of course… JUNES. This game is an absolute must-play for any true JRPG fan.
8) Solar Ash (Heart Machine / Annapurna Interactive) – $40
Solar Ash was originally released on PlayStation consoles a while ago (back in December 2021) and was a title that I had on my wishlist for the longest time. So many games kept coming out and unfortunately, this title went lower on my wishlist for digital only titles for many reasons. Thankfully, the game came out to Nintendo Switch and Xbox with a launch directly on Game Pass. I got to play it before the craziness of the holiday lineup of titles. This game is one that has major Shadow of the Colossus vibes with a key aspect of the game being momentum, but it also has a very clear identity on its own. The title is one that I wished came out physically which is part of why I waited for so long. Now thanks to iam8bit, it is getting a physical copy on Switch with 11 other games and I am excited to add it to my collection.
9) Tunic (ISOMETRICORP Games Ltd / Finji) – $30
This game may have launched onto Game Pass in March of 2022 but like I said before, I didn’t get a gaming PC until late last year. I ended up reviewing this game on PlayStation 5 and loved the game a whole lot! You can check out the review here if you need to see some more information about the title. Honestly, this game being a console exclusive to Xbox for a few months was one of the reasons why I was close to purchasing an Xbox console. After a while, it was announced for both the PlayStation and Nintendo ecosystems; and then my need to purchase a console for a game that was no longer exclusive was no more. It’s terrific that it is still on Game Pass and it is a title that I recommend to people who absolutely love indies and specifically for those who love a bit more of a challenge.
10) PowerWash Simulator (FuturLab Limited / Square Enix) – $25
First-person shooter games for me usually cause me to get some sort of motion sickness. That’s why I don’t play most first-person titles, even if they are ones that I think might be interesting and I might potentially love. This title was actually one that I downloaded and thought I would uninstall it after 10 minutes. Well, that was a completely wrong thought as I played it for over 50 hours and got all of the achievements. I normally only play single-player games but occasionally I will play multiplayer titles. This game had both of these options, which I loved. Some of the multiplayer-focused levels I couldn’t see completing myself as they were massive but playing this title with others was an absolute blast and one I cannot recommend enough!
Savings With Game Pass: An MSRP of $320 (not including cost of subscription to Game Pass Ultimate)
Not everyone will like all of these games, but there is definitely at least one game here that should appeal to many types of gamers. From the simulator and first-person games to the third-person action adventures or the puzzle games to the JRPGs, everyone will find something to love. I have a bunch more to recommend, but this list will be a nice place for starters. Are there any specific Game Pass titles that you would recommend? I would love to discuss the offerings that are on the service with other people. I might not have played all of these on Game Pass, but I have played all of these games in the past and they are absolutely a blast to play and are great additions to the library that Microsoft offers.