Nowadays, Xbox users don't even need to purchase games to get their money's worth with the Xbox Series X or Xbox One. Thanks to Game Pass Ultimate, a $15 per month subscription service, Xbox players have access to revolving library of more than 400 games on Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One as well as hundreds of games for PC as well. With so many games to choose from and a limited number of hours in the day, it can be challenging to pick what to play from the Game Pass library. And if you wait too long, a game you might've liked could leave the service. We've rounded up the 30 best Game Pass games available now. New games arrive on the service just about every week, and old games leave the service, too. We'll continue to update this list as the Game Pass library rotates.
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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. The list includes AAA exclusives such as Halo Infinite and Forza Horizon 5 as well as indie hits like Tunic and Nobody Saves the World.
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.
Rocksteady had redefined the idea of what a superhero game could be with the Arkham series, and the studio's third game starring the caped crusader dialled up the action to 11 to create the ultimate Batman experience. Hard-hitting heroics, nail-biting chase sequences in the Batmobile, and a storyline focused on ghosts from the past made for a fitting finale in Rocksteady's epic trilogy.
Nintendo may have Paper Mario, but over on the Xbox there's the delightful Bug Fables: The Everlasting Sapling that features a trio of heroes on a quest to find fame, fortune, and immortality. Colorful, charming, and an absolute delight to play, Bug Fables is a superb mix of RPG turn-based strategy with whimsical storytelling.
Death’s Door is a top-down action-adventure about everyone’s favorite topic: Death! Players control an immortal crow employed as a reaper whose latest job breaks bad, stranding them in the mortal world. Your avian psychopomp is armed with a glowing blade and other equipment to aid in their quest through the game’s numerous environments filled with enemies to fight, puzzles to solve, and secrets to uncover. While Death’s Door deals with some otherwise grim themes, it’s never dour or nihilistic. In fact, the world is full of charming characters to interact with, and a life-affirming story about growth and acceptance to compliment the excellent gameplay.
Bigger, bolder, and more brutal than ever, Id Software unleashed hell on Earth with Doom Eternal, much to the delight of everyone who played this sequel. Pure action from start to finish and unrelenting when the armies of the damned were thrown at you, Doom Eternal is a metal journey through the apocalypse that takes no prisoners.
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.
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.
Between its amazing visuals, myriad gameplay options, and bevy of content, Forza Horizon 5 is a racing game that anyone can enjoy. From a technical standpoint, it’s remarkable what the team at Playground Games achieved--everything from the meticulously detailed vehicle models to the lush virtual recreations of Mexico’s landscapes are visually engrossing.. Better yet, the gameplay is some of the best in the racing genre. Unlike the simulation-heavy Forza Motorsport line, the Forza Horizon series lean towards arcade racing, emphasizing player freedom in vast open worlds. Forza Horizon 5 doubles down on the philosophy, letting players focus on the type of experience they want--be that tense races against other players, single-player challenges and story content, or just chilling out and cruising the open road.
Supergiant's masterpiece of intense action, exquisite storytelling, and innovative design finally made the leap to Xbox this year, and if you have a Game Pass subscription, this is one game that's both recommended and required on any console. A roguelite that delights in sending you back to the lowest levels of the underworld when you fail, Hades is a glorious journey across the afterlife that always feels rewarding with each and every single run of its hellish gauntlet that you participate in.
Halo Infinite’s single player campaign finally takes the series to its most obvious next step: a giant open world set on a Halo ring. Along with the open-ended gameplay structure, players also get more controls over Master Chief’s loadout thanks to new gear and abilities to unlock, and bases you can upgrade for access to new weapons and vehicles.
This new direction certainly freshens up the Halo formula, but 343 managed to broader the scope without sacrificing Halo’s core gameplay. The open-world feels more like a giant, seamless Halo level rather than just another open world filled with copy-and-pasted objectives to check off a list, and there are still plenty of story-focused missions with a more directed, linear approach akin to the previous games.
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.
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.
Infernax Is 2022’s most metal release so far. As the knight Alcedor, players explore a gothic-medieval kingdom, delve into demon-infested castles, and beat ungodly horrors into puddles of viscera. This 2D action-platformer-RPG takes elements from other 8-bit adventures, specifically Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest and Zelda II: The Adventure of Link. However, unlike the notoriously obtuse games that inspire it, Infernax Is a non-stop romp that never gets in the player’s way, and it adds modern gameplay mechanics like a morality system that changes the story and leads to multiple endings. It’s also waymore violent than anything on the NES. Enemies explode in fountains of blood, guts, and limbs, and the pixel art cutscenes evoke b-grade horror films and death metal albums. As long as you’re cool with the gore, Infernax is well worth your time.
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 you finish the base campaign.
Nobody Saves the World is a action-adventure game that’s all about transformation. The main character, Nobody, gains access to a bunch of unique forms they can transform into--such as a ghost, a knight, a mouse, and over a dozen more. You mix and match forms and abilities to create new character builds to carry you through the game’s procedurally generated dungeons. Along with the dungeons, there’s also an overworld populated with unique characters, many of whom have side quests for you to take on to unlock new forms. These gameplay systems coalesce into an addictive loop where you take on quests to unlock new forms for your arsenal, thus completing more dungeons, which unlock more quests… you get the idea.
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.
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.
The first Pillars of Eternity was a thrilling study in old school RPG gameplay with a modern makeover, but its sequel outdoes the original in almost every way possible. A more confident follow-up that doubles down on its strengths while further refining its formula, Obsidian Entertainment's sophomore effort is an entertaining game filled with rich writing and easily-accessible gameplay for newcomers to the genre.
It's safe to say that there's no game like Psychonauts 2 on the market, as Double Fine's return to the cult-classic world of Razputin Aquato and the titular psychic peacekeeping agency is an absolute mind-blast of imaginative design. Fun to play and packing an emotional wallop with its exploration of several characters and a deep dive into their respective psyches, Psychonauts 2 is both a hilarious and heartfelt effort.
A complete tonal shift for the franchise, Resident Evil 7 is an incredibly creepy and thrilling return to its survival horror roots. Stuck in a decrepit mansion with an almost unkillable family of monsters, Ethan Winters had his work cut out for him in this first-person thriller. Somehow blending traditional Resident Evil themes with more modern ideas, Resident Evil 7 is one game that you're going to want to grab a few extra pairs of clean clothing for before you explore its grim and disturbing content.
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.
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.
Before Insomniac Games was making a name for itself as a reliable producer of Spider-Man games for Sony, it was grabbing headlines for the wildly imaginative Sunset Overdrive. Pure attitude, unbridled creativity, and fun, the zombie apocalypse brought on by a virulent energy drink was far more enjoyable than it had any right to be. An absolute blast of punk rock energy and deadly firepower, Sunset Overdrive is still the perfect game for anyone who's sick of taking cover behind some nearby crates.
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.
Respawn Entertainment's first Titanfall game set the stage for a massively enjoyable multiplayer game about man versus massive mechanized warsuits, but its first--and sadly only--sequel polished those ideas to a mirror finish. Every nut and bolt had been tightened, gameplay was further refined, and online multiplayer is still a blast to play, but the real triumph of Titanfall 2 is a single-player campaign that still stands as one of the very best stories in all of gaming.
Tunic, the long-awaited adventure starring a fox with a sword, is more than just a great Zelda-like. While it harks back to old-school Zelda games in terms of not guiding players toward the objectives, Tunic has its own approach to creating mystery and intrigue. All throughout the world you'll find pages of an instruction manual--really does look like one that would've been packaged with a game in the early '90s--that you have to piece together to learn about the world around you. It does a wonderful job replicating the thrill of discovery found in early Zelda games. Tunic is much harder than Zelda games from a combat perspective, but overcoming each challenge feels like a great triumph. Plus, any combat pains you may have are made worthwhile by gorgeous world that is a joy to explore.
It's difficult to explain Undertale without giving the entire plot away, but at its very core, this 2D RPG from 2015 is still an indie game masterpiece. As a child who has a fallen into a world of monsters who hunger for your soul, it's up to you to find a way back home and preserve your very being in the process. Described as a game where no one has to die, Undertale is bizarre, memorable, and haunting stuff, but it's also a superb title to grab through Game Pass.
Imagine if the best Legend of Zelda and Metroidvanias were merged into one title, and you'd have a good idea of what to expect from Unsighted. Developer Studio Pixel Punk's love letter to the past is an absolute blast to play, but it also has several original ideas of its own to add to the mix, a staggering amount of content, and a soundtrack that's a certified banger.
While most video games are entertaining distractions from life, What Remains of Edith Finch is a departure from the norm with its focus on loss, grief, and sadness. An emotionally profound game, developer Giant Sparrow's poignant tale will stay with you long after the end credits have rolled, thanks to a melancholic journey that reminds everyone who plays it that life may be a tragedy, but moving on and into the unknown is the only way forward.
After years of busting heads with the Dragon of Dojima, Yakuza: Like a Dragon came along to chart a new course for the long-running Sega franchise. Replacing Kiryu Kazama was the newly-paroled Ichiban Kasuga, a thug with a heart of gold who soon found himself caught in the middle of a vast conspiracy in the Japanese underworld. One other big change that Yakuza: Like a Dragon made was to its combat, as the game pulled heavily from classic Dragon Quest adventures to create a fresh spin on the RPG genre. Heavy on story and action, the latest Yakuza is a stunning new chapter for the series.
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