Sometimes you feel like jumping into a big, new fancy game. Other times, all you want to do is indulge in the nostalgia of your favourite games from the past. Fortunately, Xbox Game Pass offers both, but that can make choosing what to play next incredibly overwhelming.
As a semi-professional video game enjoyer, I’ve played and reviewed my fair share of games (and have a growing list of games I can’t wait to try!) on Xbox Game Pass. Because making decisions is hard enough, I’ve put together a list of some of my favourites to help you choose what to play next. I’ve also included some of the awesome-looking titles I haven’t yet had a chance to play, but are incredibly high on my list of must-play games.
Created by Aussie developers Simon Boxer and Twice Different, Ring of Pain is a card-based, roguelike strategy game that is visually striking with a tight, more-ish gameplay loop.
A run can last anywhere from a few seconds to around 30 minutes, making for a short, highly replayable experience due to the wide variety of items you are able to equip. The creature characters that inhabit the world draw you in further, making it hard to stop after just one run. The art style is captivating and offers a creepy, tense atmosphere that is elevated wonderfully by its whispery soundscapes.
This is one of those games that I constantly find myself coming back to since its release. If you like a challenge and twists on the well-established strategy and roguelike genres, then I cannot recommend it enough. Ring of Pain is a recent addition to Game Pass, so if you haven’t tried it yet, you now have no excuse not to give it a go.
Rainbow Six: Siege is a tactical multiplayer shooter that pits two teams of five against each other across multiple rounds to determine a winner.
Siege is slick. The gameplay requires good teamwork to find success due to the refined layouts of each map and the diversity of unique abilities that the characters bring to the battlefield. I have a soft spot for this game because I’ve made some pretty awesome friends while playing it. I’m not the best player but that has never stopped me from having fun with this game. Quick match is a great place to start for beginners but I would highly recommend pulling together a squad of friends to get the most out of the game.
On Game Pass, you get Rainbow Six: Siege – Deluxe Edition, giving you access to a larger range of characters for you to experiment with at no extra cost. If you are looking for a challenging, competitive experience, this is the game for it.
Forza Horizon 4 and 5
Forza Horizon 4 and Forza Horizon 5 are Arcade style car racing games set in stunning locales from around the world.
I am hopelessly bad at racing and driving in games. Or at least, I thought I was until I played this game. The light RPG elements make it super approachable for players like me who want more than just pure car racing. Exploring the wide open world and making my way through the Horizon Festival feels rewarding and incredibly fun. From spectacle races against jet planes to whacky stunt driving quests, there is something for everyone to find delight in with the Forza Horizon series.
Forza Horizon 4 and 5 are some of the best, chilled out games you can find on Game Pass and well worth diving into even if you’ve never touched a car game before.
Bioware’s Dragon Age games are high fantasy, action adventures which offer evocative stories with unforgettable characters that make choices feel truly meaningful.
Dragon Age is easily one of my favourite franchises in the world. The characters that lie within feel more like familiar friends than just characters because they lived my adventures alongside me; a feeling that is a testament to how well the gameplay systems work together to create an immersive experience. The combat varies greatly in each entry but never in a way that felt out of place for the atmosphere the each game was setting out to create.
I could talk about these games all day so don’t just take my word for it. If you want to experience a fantastical magical adventure for the first time, go try them out. Or if you’ve been looking for an excuse to replay Dragon Age, this is it. Go play it. You know you want to.
It Takes Two is a narrative co-op game where you take on the role of a soon to be divorced couple who magically get turned into dolls and must find a way to become human again to look after their young daughter. The brilliant mechanics of this game cannot be overstated, with each level introducing you to new concepts that force you and a friend to work together through laughter and tears. This is a truly magnificent experience and I would highly recommend it if you are after a shorter game to rock through with a friend.
Golf With Your Friends is one of those games where the name says it all; you play golf with your friends. They likely won’t be your friends by the time you are done with it though. The courses are wild and over the top in a way that leaves you simultaneously laughing at the absurdity and swearing in frustration. Worth playing for a fun night with a large group of friends.
Omno is a delightful and short puzzle platformer. The game world is absolutely beautiful and the mechanics layer in a way that makes every challenge feel unique, but still engaging without ever feeling too complex. For those in the market for a five hour, chilled out game, Omno is the perfect fit.
Hades is an action adventure game with some of the best combat you can find. Each run through the underworld is challenging but permanent upgrades made every run a little easier to achieve success. The way the story builds around the protagonist across runs is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Be warned though, once you start playing, you’ll find it hard to stop!
As you can tell from the above list, I have been very busy, so there are still a lot of titles I am eager to dive into; like Dodgeball Academia, Ori and the Blind Forest, Psychonauts, Raji: An Ancient Epic and The Artful Escape. Which one will I play first? I have no idea but that is what I love about Xbox Game Pass. I don’t have to worry, I just have to jump in and try!
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