Best Xbox Game Pass Games 2021

Here's a list of the best games included with Xbox Game Pass. Find a game that catches your eye? Download it and play on Xbox One or PC!

With a library of 100+ games and a monthly cost of just $5 for Xbox consoles and $10 for PC, Xbox Game Pass is one of the most valuable gaming subscriptions around.

It’s a great way to save money while still playing the best upcoming games, major releases, indie gems, classic Xbox 360 titles, and first-party Xbox exclusives.

In this list, we’ll highlight the best Xbox Game Pass games to play in 2021 across Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and PC.

Since the Game Pass library is constantly changing as new games get added and old ones retired, make sure to check back in the future.

Lastly, if we forgot to mention your favorite title on Game Pass, sound off in the comments and let us know.

Related:Best Upcoming Xbox One Games 2021 (And Beyond)The Best Xbox One X Accessories (2021 Reviews)PlayStation Now vs. Xbox Game Pass: Which Is Better?

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Narita Boy is a flashback to 80s video games with a metanarrative inspired by sci-fi classics like Tron and Blade Runner.

You play as a legendary pixel hero trapped inside a corrupted video game that has been taken over by digital terrors called Stallions.

Equipped with a powerful techno-sword dubbed the Trichroma, you venture into the darkest depths of the Digital Kingdom to discover mysteries, battle bosses, and save the world.

The game boasts superb-looking pixel art that’s further complemented by hand-drawn animations and a satisfyingly synth-heavy soundtrack.

If you’re a fan of abstract, artistically-minded video games with unconventional gameplay, then Genesis Noir is a new Game Pass addition you should check out.

In it, you control a humble watch peddler who finds himself traveling through the entire history of the universe and humanity in search of clues surrounding a murder.

It turns out the murderer is the Big Bang itself and each chapter is simply a metaphor for the events that led up to the murder and the main character’s life as we know it.

This is the kind of game you’ll want to approach with an open mind, although the fantastic art and sound design alone are enough of a reason to give it a go.

Imagine if you combined the best bits of Portal, Super Mario, and The Legend of Zelda; that’s the best way to sum up Supraland, a first-person puzzle-platformer by Supra Games.

Set in a dense open-world sandbox, the game has you playing as a Red Soldier on a mission to gain an audience with the Blue King to resolve issues between both colored sides.

As you explore the world, you’ll encounter unique challenges that require special tools to overcome, requiring you to collect coins, defeat enemies, and solve puzzles to unlock new upgrades.

The platforming controls great, environments are filled tons of secrets and references to other games, and the game has enough variety to keep players engaged.

In making Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, Respawn managed to capture the cinematic quality of the Star Wars films and adapt it to video games in a way that felt both engaging and authentic.

Set after the events of Episode III, the game sees you playing as Cal Kestis, a Jedi Padawan on a mission to uncover the mysteries of an ancient civilization in a galaxy far, far away.

Gameplay is a mix of close-range combat, open-ended exploration, and 3D platforming on par with third-person action series like Dark Souls, Tomb Raider, and Uncharted.

The game does a great job of using the Star Wars mythos to flesh out its world, including numerous in-universe references, interesting character backstories, and big set pieces set in familiar locales.      

Fans of retro 16-bit SNES-style graphics will surely admire what CrossCode sets out to achieve.

Presented as an action RPG with fast-paced combat and unique puzzle mechanics, it tells a thematically-dense sci-fi story involving virtual realities, secret societies, and rogue AI.

It’s basically a cross between top-down Zelda dungeon crawling and systems-rich RPGs with the perk of being able to play on Xbox consoles and PC.

Definitely the kind of game that takes a few hours to find your rhythm, but once you do, you’ll be hooked by its modern approach to retro-inspired gameplay.

What Remains of Edith Finch is a walking sim that casts you as the last living member of the Finch family as she returns to her now-abandoned old family home.

You soon learn about a perceived family curse, in which all but one member of every generation dies under unusual circumstances.

As the game progresses you learn more about your relatives and their untimely deaths by exploring their bedrooms and reliving memory sequences from their perspectives.

There are plenty of family secrets to uncover and even some mysteries about Edith herself get revealed towards the end of the game’s brief two-hour story.

At first glance, Ori and the Will of the Wisps looks like a fun, family-friendly 2D action-platformer with endearing art and heartwarming characters.

However, once you start playing, you quickly realize both its story and gameplay are designed to tear you apart and leave you devastated.

From its precise platforming sequences to a harrowing narrative that pits you against a host of terrifying beasts, Ori will break you down over and over again until there’s nothing left.

While the game’s steep learning curve is bound to be a turn-off for some, those who persevere will be treated to one of the best metroidvanias of the last decade.

While the Tetris formula hasn’t really changed much in the 30+ years it’s been around, developers are constantly finding new ways to iterate on the iconic puzzler.

The two that come to mind more recently are the Nintendo-exclusive Tetris 99 and Tetris Effect VR, the latter of which was adapted for console and PC as Tetris Effect: Connected.

The game utilizes different visual and auditory cues that correspond to your tetrominoes’ movement and placement in relation to music tracks that play in the background.

As you progress through challenges, so does the background music, evolving in tempo and rhythm as you reach tense moments where blocks rapidly descend onto your screen.

One of the best additions to the Game Pass library is Spiritfarer, a cozy indie management sim akin to Animal Crossing but with platforming elements and a semi open-world.

In it, you play as Stella, a young woman tasked with helping departed souls transition into the afterlife by cooking them meals and fulfilling their requests until they’re ready to move on.

Despite the game’s grim premise, it manages to cover a wide range of emotions throughout the many anthropomorphic animals that join your crew.

Spiritfarer passengers come from all walks of life and have unique strengths and weaknesses that tie in nicely to their role aboard your ship.

Set in medieval France, A Plague Tale: Innocence casts you as two siblings on the run after the English army raids their countryside estate and kills both their parents.

The game’s historical setting coincides with the Black Plague’s existence, resulting in there being human enemies and hordes of diseased rats you’ll have to avoid.

You’ll be navigating dark sewers, decaying city streets, and dense forests while utilizing special tools to solve puzzles, sneak past enemies, and fight when necessary.

For a more thorough breakdown, read our full review, where we praise the game for its superb voice acting and engaging story.

Obsidian is no amateur when it comes to crafting immersive RPGs packed with interesting and memorable characters, evident by their lastest foray into sci-fi storytelling.

The Outer Worlds casts you as The Stranger, a blank slate of a character who’s tasked with determining the fate of the Halcyon Space Colony and its starving citizens.

Your mission sees you journeying across and exploring eight planets that boast exotic locales, dangerous creatures, and a host of NPCs to befriend or betray.

Every challenge can be handled in a variety of ways based on your preferred playstyle, allowing you to talk yourself out of a jam through dialogue options or overpower enemies using plain-old brute force.

No Man’s Sky has come a long way since its controversial 2016 release, which saw the game panned for “less than honest” marketing on the part of Hello Games Lead Director Sean Murray.

However, the developer has spent the last four years adding player-requested features ranging from base-building to multiplayer and mod support, resulting in a resurgence of popularity.

It also helps that the NMS engine has been redesigned and upgraded over the years, ensuring it runs buttery-smooth on just about any machine.

Other refinements such as better procedural generation and broader mission selection have resulted in a much more engaging and varied experience for players, including Game Pass subscribers.

Without a doubt the most high-profile game included with Game Pass, Minecraft is a must-play for anyone who enjoys open-world survival games or simply building to their heart’s content.

In it, you break blocks for resources and use them to construct various tools, weapons, furniture, which in turn allow you to explore new biomes and make even better gear.

Thanks to cross-play support, Game Pass subscribers can link up with friends across both console and PC, as well as join different servers.

While we don’t recommending signing up for Game Pass solely to play Minecraft, it’s definitely a nice touch to an already well-rounded service.

Gears 5 is the latest entry in Xbox’s shooter franchise and features a story centered on a Locust-descendant named Kate Diaz.

Diaz finds herself on a quest to learn more about the connection between her family and the subterranean horde throughout an engrossing story mode that offers co-op support.

Accompanying the new campaign is a plethora of both familiar and new multiplayer modes Horde, Team Deathmatch, and Escape.

Considering that most of Gear 5’s content can be played through locally or online with friends, it’s one of the best options for you and all your Game Pass buddies.

DOOM Eternal sees you exploring even more hellish landscapes teeming with all sorts of demonic monsters as you fulfill your role as badass space marine.

The sequel doubles down on the ‘push-forward’ combat design of its predecessor while encouraging players to discover new tactics throughout its sandbox levels.

Environments are presented as massive jungle gyms that make it easy to avoid incoming fire as you take down the biggest threats.

The addition of a new grappling hook provides an extra layer to the game’s traversal system, with movement overall feeling more fluid than ever.

The Witcher 3’s intimidatingly-large open-world is simply too enticing not to explore and offers plenty of opportunities to venture off the beaten path and into the unknown.

You play as Geralt of Rivia, a monster hunter known as a Witcher, on an adventure to find your adopted daughter who’s being pursued by an evil force known as the Wild Hunt.

In addition to his two swords, Geralt can wield magical powers that add an extra layer to combat and make battling enemies more satisfying.

When you’re not slaying powerful monsters, you’re taking in local sights found throughout The Witcher 3’s bustling cities, war-ravaged swamps, dense forests, and sprawling caves

When the Master Chief Collection debuted in 2014, it was a hot mess littered with game-breaking bugs and glitches.

In partnership with other studios, 343 Industries spent the next six years ensuring every game ran as smoothly as possible, culminating in the release of an enhanced version in November 2020.

The collection is considered a living anthology of Halo games and consists of Halo: Combat Evolved, Halo 2, Halo 3, Halo 3: ODST, Halo: Reach, and Halo 4, which all originally released on Xbox platforms.

Each title included now supports high-resolution displays, improved online matchmaking, and local LAN multiplayer, making MCC the definitive way to experience both classic and contemporary Halo.

Forza Horizon is considered to be a much more forgiving alternative to the Motorsport series that doesn’t sacrifice its racing sim charm.

The most recent entry presents players with a massive open-world comprised of unique locations where players can participate in an array of racing challenges with over 450 vehicles.

 Forza Horizon 4’s environments are brought to life by dynamic weather tech with rotating seasons that impact driving conditions, unlock different events, and reveal new shortcuts.

Additionally, the game includes the highly-requested Route Creator tool, allowing you to design and share custom tracks online, even with non-Game Pass players.

Although the Yakuza series is littered with remarkable entries, only a handful have been added to Xbox Game Pass.

If we had to recommend just one, we’d pick Yakuza 0, a prequel that chronicles Kazuma Kiryu’s criminal journey from low ranking thug to Yakuza crime family boss.

The game tosses you into semi-open world environments where you’re forced to battle rival gangs using a variety of melee weapons or sometimes just your bare fists.

In true Yakuza fashion, the story does an excellent job of toeing the line between drama and comedy, presenting both serious and absurd sequences that benefit from satisfying combat and great writing.

Outer Wilds is a narrative-driven mystery game in which players control a character trapped in a perpetual 22-minute time-loop a la Groundhog Day.

You play as the newest recruit of Outer Wilds Ventures, a space program looking to expand its knowledge of the universe by exploring nearby planets within your solar system.

Your journey sees you traveling to lore-rich planets with distinct weather conditions and hidden locations to discover.

However, unfolding the mysteries of your alien ancestors won’t be so easy, with black holes, oxygen deprivation, and other extreme environmental hazards constantly getting in your way.

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Justin Fernandez
Justin Fernandez

As a fan of both indie and triple-A games, Justin finds joy in discovering and sharing hidden gems with other passionate gamers. In addition to reporting on the latest and greatest titles, he manages GamingScan’s social media channels.

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