Xbox Game Pass Ultimate continues to be one of the best values in gaming. The $15-per-month subscription grants you access to more than 350 games on Xbox Series X and Xbox One as well as 200-plus titles on PC. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate also comes with Xbox Live Gold, so you can play online multiplayer with friends and get even more free games each month; plus, EA Play and xCloud game streaming are also included with the service. If you also consider that every first-party Microsoft game is added to Game Pass on launch day, subscribing to the service makes a ton of sense if you game on Xbox Series X, Xbox One, or PC. But with so many Xbox Game Pass titles to choose from and a limited number of hours in the day, it can be challenging to choose what to play on the service. To help you navigate the crowded library, we've rounded up the 20 of the best Xbox Game Pass games you can play right now.
To be clear, there are plenty more excellent games on Xbox Game Pass than the ones we’ve listed below--the service is loaded with worthy games. These are just the games we think every Xbox owner should play. Since Microsoft routinely adds and removes games from the service, this list will be updated regularly. We arranged the following picks in alphabetical order and tried to highlight games from a wide variety of genres.
If you're thinking about signing up for the service, see our full guide to Xbox Game Pass, including a breakdown of each plan option, pricing, and what's included. And for more game recommendations, check out our lists of the best Xbox One games, best Xbox Series X games, best PS4 games, best PS5 games, and best Nintendo Switch games.
A Plague Tale: Innocence features one of the most affecting narratives we’ve experienced in a game in quite some time. Taking place during the Hundred Years’ War, A Plague Tale stars Amicia and her younger brother Hugo as they try to outrun and outsmart the Inquisition soldiers who have destroyed their home. At the center of the story is the burgeoning bond between the siblings--one that we watch grow over the course of the haunting, atmospheric adventure. A Plague Tale’s stealth gameplay hinges on clever puzzles that keep the experience of playing the game as riveting as the act of watching the story unfold. It’s simply a wonderful, underrated gem that all Xbox Game Pass subscribers should check out.
See our A Plague Tale: Innocence review.
Fans of platformers should play Celeste purely for the fact that it contains some of the best side-scrolling platforming sequences in recent memory. The bite-sized levels start off simple and gradually build, but they always rely on well-timed jumps and thinking ahead. In addition to being a brilliant platformer, Celeste also tells a bold story about a young woman facing her demons. Celeste offers one of the best depictions of mental health we’ve seen in a game, which makes it a must-play for more than one reason.
See our Celeste review.
Motion Twin’s Dead Cells takes cues from both roguelikes and metroidvanias to create a devilishly entertaining mashup that can easily hook you for dozens of hours. You play as a mass of cells inhabiting the body of a prisoner. Each run tasks you with diving further into the labyrinthine dungeons to slay challenging monsters with an array of weapons and abilities. While you have to start over when you die, there are permanent upgrades in Dead Cells, which provide the satisfaction of making progress and increases your likelihood of advancing further on your next run. With stylish fast-paced combat and a wonderfully drawn world, Dead Cells is a joy to play no matter how many runs it takes you to reach the credits.
See our Dead Cells review.
Destiny 2 is an intriguing option for Game Pass subscribers, even if you used to play it and fell off. The entire Destiny 2 experience is available on the service, including the most recent expansion, Beyond Light. Since Bungie plans on supporting Destiny 2 through 2022, it’s certainly not too late to jump (or jump back) on the Destiny 2 wagon. The sci-fi epic MMO has been solid since it launched in 2017, and it has only continued to evolve and improve thanks to numerous expansions. We especially recommend Destiny 2 for those looking for co-op games to play online with friends and family.
See our Destiny 2 Beyond Light review.
Dragon Quest 11 is one of the best entries in the long-running Square Enix series. It’s a traditional JRPG through and through, with turn-based battles and an epic save-the-world story starring an unlikely hero. While Dragon Quest 11 doesn’t necessarily take any big risks, it’s a masterpiece within a genre that isn’t nearly as prevalent as it once was. That alone makes Dragon Quest 11 a wonderful game for those who yearn for JRPGs similar to those from the late '90s and early 2000s. With a colorful art design, brilliant turn-based gameplay, and a large world inhabited by interesting characters, Dragon Quest 11 is immensely satisfying and dutifully scratches the JRPG itch.
See our Dragon Quest 11: Echoes of an Elusive Age review.
Racing fans have some of the best games in the genre to choose from on Xbox Game Pass, with Forza Horizon 4 leading the way. The latest entry in the series, Forza Horizon 4 is a thoroughly entertaining racing sim whether you’re playing solo or with friends online. It features a lavish and highly detailed open world that’s bursting with activities and well-designed races. While the mainline Forza series is definitely focused more on realism, the Horizon spin-offs lean more toward the arcade side of things. Forza Horizon 4 has plenty of customizable settings that make it a blast to play for gearheads and casual racing fans alike.
See our Forza Horizon 4 review.
One of Microsoft’s newest exclusives, Gears Tactics cleverly applies the aesthetic and atmosphere of the franchise to a tactics game. Despite being a totally different genre, Gears Tactics still feels like a natural addition to the iconic franchise thanks to sound mechanics and great level design. Many of the notable Gears of War gameplay systems and quirks are adapted into the top-down tactical spin on the genre. With a meaningful progression system, deep but approachable tactical encounters, and a number of great boss battles, Gears Tactics is a can’t-miss experience for Gears aficionados and strategy game fans alike.
See our Gears Tactics review.
If you’ve never played the Halo franchise before, Halo: The Master Chief Collection is the perfect place to start. The Master Chief Collection comes with six Halo games, including remastered versions of the first two original Xbox entries. Halo features some of the very best single-player campaigns in the genre as well as extremely solid online multiplayer, at least after years of fixes and improvements. Back when the collection was originally released, the online multiplayer was spotty to say the least, but it has come a long way. Halo: The Master Chief Collection offers the best way to play some of the most heralded first-person shooters ever created.
See our Halo: The Master Chief Collection review.
Enchanting and utterly engrossing, Hollow Knight is one of the best metroidvanias ever made. Team Cherry’s adventure stars a nameless knight armed with a nail who explores a labyrinthine world known as Hallownest. With a gorgeous art style and an incredible amount of variation in the environments, Hollow Knight’s expansive world is a constant joy to explore. Challenging combat rewards those with patience and perseverance. Hollow Knight truly stands out in a fairly crowded genre. If you haven’t waded through Hallownest yet, now’s a great time to slay some insect ahead of the sequel, Hollow Knight: Silksong.
See our Hollow Knight review.
Capcom’s Monster Hunter franchise had a niche market in North America before Monster Hunter World became a massive mainstream hit. While Monster Hunter World still follows the series’ signature loop--track and eventually slay larger-than-life monsters--it makes great strides in terms of map design and combat. The vast majority of your quests could be considered boss battles, and due to the dynamic nature of the foes you encounter, World always manages to remain fresh. It’s a deeply rewarding game filled with a plethora of customization options and playstyles. It’s definitely better when playing with friends, but you can still complete the lengthy adventure solo. Though it’s not on Game Pass, the Iceborne expansion is well worth diving into after the credits roll on World.
See our Monster Hunter World review.
Yoko Taro’s mind-bending storytelling joining forces with Platinum Games’ brilliant action combat turned out to be a recipe for success in Nier: Automata. While its predecessor offered a compelling story, the combat was awkward and clunky. Automata cleans it up, offering thrilling action combat that is fluid and oozing with style. Even though the combat mechanics are top notch, the star of the show is the narrative, which has an unconventional structure with plenty of surprises. With Nier Replicant--a remastered version of the original--releasing in April, you may want to hold off on playing Automata right away, but you shouldn’t miss out on this engrossing sci-fi adventure.
See our Nier: Automata review.
No Man’s Sky has steadily morphed into a wonderful survival exploration experience over the past few years. After an underwhelming launch, Hello Games continues to add new features, including base-building, multiplayer, and objective-based missions. Planets have become more vibrant and interesting, which makes it feel far closer to the original vision of the ambitious game. If you bounced off of No Man’s Sky early on, now’s the time to go back and see what you’ve been missing.
See our No Man's Sky Next review.
We’d be remiss not to include both games in Moon Studios’ incredible Ori series. Ori and the Blind Forest and its 2020 sequel Ori and the Will of the Wisps are two of the best platformers available on Xbox. Both have stunning visuals and tell emotionally gripping stories that feed off of the atmosphere and well-drawn characters. While they are similar in terms of aesthetic and feel, Ori and the Will of the Wisps is more action-oriented, whereas the Blind Forest largely focuses on platforming and exploration. The Will of the Wisps gives Ori new abilities that help them square off against daunting bosses. Both games are brilliant in their own right, and are must-play platformers on Xbox. You should play them in order to get the full emotional weight of the story.
See our Ori and the Blind Forest review and Ori and the Will of the Wisps review.
The solar system in Outer Wilds is perpetually stuck in a 22-minute time loop. This curious anomaly sets up one of the best adventure games in recent years. You play as an explorer who, critically, retains information from each loop, and with each run, you make a bit more progress towards uncovering the mysteries of the solar system. As you explore the vivid world with the help of your rickety spaceship, you meet a cast of memorable characters and discover a bounty of secrets. Outer Wilds is best played knowing as little as possible. You have the premise; now go off on your adventure through time and space.
See our Outer Wilds review.
If you’re willing to test your communication skills with loved ones and friends, Overcooked 2 is a frantic and fun cooking sim with a pick-up-and-play design that makes it great for those who may only casually play games. In Overcooked 2, the goal is to prepare a variety of dishes with your teammates in a short time window. Due to dynamic kitchen layouts and a clever design that promotes teamwork, Overcooked 2 relies on constant communication with your fellow chefs. Even though racing against the clock can get stressful at times, the cartoonish graphics and breezy mechanics make it a lighthearted party game that’s great whether you’re playing local or online multiplayer.
See our Overcooked 2 review.
Rainbow Six Siege may be almost six years old, but it’s still one of the best online multiplayer games around. The tactical shooter has only gotten better over the years, earning a rare 10/10 in GameSpot’s 2020 Rainbow Six Siege review. With excellent gunplay, a variety of operators with unique play styles, and a slew of expertly designed maps, Rainbow Six Siege stands out as a team-oriented FPS with an immense degree of tactical depth.
See our Rainbow Six Siege review.
Slay the Spire marries deck-building with roguelike systems to create one of the best indies in recent years. Throughout your journey up the Spire, you square off against monsters, uncover treasures, and expand your deck of cards. Slay the Spire's card-based combat is easy to get the hang of but requires trial and error to find success. While you have to start back at the beginning each time you die, you gradually earn new cards, which help you advance further the next time. It’s an intoxicating loop that makes it easy to want to try “one more time” before putting down the controller. Each of Slay the Spire’s four playable characters have unique decks, adding a ton of incentive to brave the Spire for subsequent runs after the credits roll.
See our Slay the Spire review.
One of our favorite games of 2020, Spiritfarer is a lovingly crafted resource management sim and platformer with a powerful story and charming loop. You play as Stella, a woman who becomes the Spiritfarer, the person responsible for accompanying spirits to the afterlife. Throughout Spiritfarer’s lengthy campaign, you manage and expand the ferry to help those who have departed become comfortable with their new reality. Spiritfarer is a heartfelt game filled with interesting characters, and it movingly focuses on the importance of caring for others. It has a gorgeous art style, solid platforming mechanics, and enjoyable resource management that directly ties into the narrative’s themes.
See our Spiritfarer review.
Tetris really doesn’t need an introduction. It’s arguably the greatest game of all time, but not every spin on Tetris has been great. Tetris Effect Connected, however, takes classic Tetris and makes it bright and lively again. Tetris Effect beautifully incorporates music and special effects to the Tetris formula. The hypnotic soundtrack includes jazz, electronic, and piano tracks that change the color of the tetrominoes as well as react to your movements. The audio experience blends well with the mesmerizing particle effects that surround the grid while clearing lines. It’s still Tetris, but it’s a genuinely captivating iteration of the all-time classic. The newer “Connected” edition adds new co-op and competitive modes, which rounds out an already fantastic puzzle game package.
See our Tetris Effect Connected review.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is one of the best open-world RPGs ever made. Geralt of Rivia’s life as a monster hunter for hire takes him across a massive open-world littered with compelling quests and activities. CD Projekt Red greatly improved the combat in The Witcher 3, which makes for a far more intuitive experience. The Witcher 3’s high-fantasy world is richly detailed, and the characters who inhabit it draw you into the story in a way that’s rare with open-world games of this size. All action-RPG fans should play The Witcher 3. It takes a few hours to really hit its stride, but once the story starts moving, it’s hard to put the controller down.
See our The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt review.
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