Since its launch in 2017, Game Pass has gone on to expand its catalog of games, now offering over 200 titles for gamers to experience for only $10/month. Featuring a wide-selection of classic Xbox 360 games, new Xbox exclusives, and access to Play Anywhere PC compatible titles, Game Pass is a great deal for those looking to save some money while gaming.
With an ever-growing library, it can feel like a chore to look through the Game Pass catalog and pick out which games are worth your time. So we’ve decided to do some of the leg work for you, highlighting the best titles included with a Game Pass subscription. Make sure to check back as we’ll be adding more entries to this list in the future.
Shantae: Half-Genie Hero
The Shantae series is known for its excellent platforming mechanics and charming soundtracks. The most recent entry, Half-Genie Hero, is no different, offering a challenging platforming adventure filled with wonderful hand-drawn animations and a colorful world to explore. Like previous games, you take control of Shantae, a half-genie who can use her hair as a whip to attack enemies.
Throughout the game, Shantae obtains dances that allow her to transform into animals, each with their own abilities that can be used to access otherwise inaccessible areas. The game features some new animal transformations, such as a bat that can move across gaps, a crab that can explore underwater, and a mouse that can fit into small mazes.
Ori and the Blind Forest
Ori and the Blind Forest is a Metroidvania platform-adventure game from developer Moon Studios. The game has you take control of Ori, a fox-like white guardian spirit, and Sein, a fairy resembling a blue orb. While Ori uses many of the standard Metroidvania conventions, it places an emphasis on twitchy traversal, requiring you to react quickly when moving through areas.
The game is challenging and tests your ability to use new skills quickly as Ori acquires them. This could easily lead to annoying instances where you have to replay an area after failing, but thanks to the game’s outstanding visuals and sound design, repeated attempts never feel like a chore.
Super Lucky’s Tale
Originally released as an Xbox One X launch title, Super Lucky’s Tale is now included in the Play Anywhere program, allowing both PC and Xbox One users to experience the N64 era-inspired 3D platformer. You take control of Lucky, a playful and courageous young fox on a quest to help his sister defend the Book of Ages, a text which contains entire worlds and characters.
Your adventure begins when the Book of Ages is stolen by Jinx, a maniacal cat who has an army of equally nefarious allies at his disposal called the Kitty Litter. On your journey you visit four different worlds, overcoming obstacles and defeating foes in order to thwart Jinx’s evil plans. While Super Lucky’s Tale is collectible-heavy, a drawback of classic 3D-platformers, the game’s cartoonish visuals and wacky humor are worth make the experience worthwhile.
Sniper Elite 4
The Sniper Elite series is known for its stealthy, tactical approach to third-person shooters. Sniper Elite 4 makes a number of refinements to the series and includes the flashy x-ray kill cam the series is known for. The game’s story takes place after the events of Sniper Elite III, and has you infiltrating Nazi bases, because why not?
Gameplay has you taking out enemies by setting up numerous traps and stealthily picking off soldiers with an array of sniper rifles and other weapon types. The game features larger maps, as well as improved enemy AI that reacts to players more realistically than previous games. While harder difficulties require more careful planning, there are a number of options in Sniper Elite 4 that let you tailor the game to fit your playstyle.
Halo: The Master Chief Collection
When the Master Chief Collection first launched back in 2014, it was littered with a number of game-breaking bugs. For the past five years, 343 Industries has been slowly getting things to run more smoothly. With a number of updates that address matchmaking and gameplay issues, as well as some quality of life improvements to the classic games, MCC is better than ever in 2019.
The collection includes Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, Halo 2: Anniversary, Halo 3, and Halo 4. With a price tag of $30, the MCC is a great deal for anyone who has nostalgia for the Halo series and would like to replay some of the franchise’s best games.
The Gardens Between
The Gardens Between is a puzzle game that has you manipulating time in order to progress through its 20 stages. The game is unique in that you don’t control the two main characters directly, two teens named Arina and Frendt, and instead move time backwards and forwards, using their abilities in tandem to move past obstacles.
This leads to some interesting puzzle designs that require you to consider multiple mechanics when solving a challenge. While The Gardens Between is rather short, completing levels reveals more about the teens’ friendship and tells an emotionally-gripping story.
Forza Horizon 4
Forza Horizon 4 is a testament to everything developer Playground Games has learned since releasing the first game in 2012. The game has received the highest ratings of any Horizon game before, and for good reason. Its world is set in the United Kingdom, features 420 beautifully-rendered licensed cars, and introduces a new weather system which has the open-world cycle through seasons over time.
In addition, Forza Horizon 4’s use of a connected online world allows you to see other players while exploring open-roads, making the world feel more populated. While this feature is optional, it does a great job at integrating online multiplayer, a core component for several of its game modes.
Observer is a detective story set in a cyberpunk universe, inspired by works like Blade Runner. The game has you play as Daniel Lazarski, a detective known as an Observer, capable of hacking into people’s minds as a means of interrogation. The story kicks off with you being called to investigate a case involving residents of an impoverished apartment building.
From there, the game takes a number of twists and turns, exploring themes like greed, class struggle, and mortality. While Observer’s story is very self-contained, this allows you to explore your surroundings more closely and notice all the small details developer Bloober Team managed to sneak in.
Gears of War 4
Although Gears of War 4 does little to innovate on the cover-based shooter’s formula, the game still delivers a meaty Gears experience thanks to a number of refinements from developer The Coalition. Set 25 years after the events of Gears of War 3, the game introduces a new trio of protagonists dealing with the most recent threat to humanity’s survival, the Swarm.
Chief among Gears of War 4’s highlights is the close attention to detail used when capturing the feel of a Gears game, as sliding into cover feels tight and headshots are as satisfyingly gory as ever. The game also introduces some interesting new weapons like the Overkill, a shotgun that fires twice: once when pulling down the trigger and again when letting go.
While Ashen borrows heavily from Dark Souls with its challenging combat mechanics, it also manages to add its own spice to the action-RPG genre in the process. The game has your character looking to build a home for themself in a world where civilization has crumbled and deadly creatures fester in the dark. Gameplay has you exploring caves, forests, and ancient ruins in search of stronger equipment as character progression in Ashen is tied to gear, not stats.
Along the way, you’ll be balancing time spent in both the light and the dark. Areas of light tend to be a lot safer, while darker environments are littered with frozen skeletons, giant spiders, and even more enemies waiting to attack. Ashen’s cartoonish visuals pair nicely with the grim, fantasy tone of the game and given the kind of titles Annapurna Interactive is known for, comes as a pleasant surprise.
Sea Of Thieves
Sea of Thieves is a worthy recommendation for any Game Pass subscriber albeit with one caveat: you’re going to have a lot more fun playing if you’ll play with your friends. While it’s possible to go through the game solo, ship invasions from enemy players make it hard to progress without a squad to back you up.
There’s also the issue of larger, more complex ships requiring multiple players to man each of its components. And if you’re not playing a pirate game to have a giant pirate ship then what’s the point? Aside from that, Sea of Thieves has a terrific, cartoonish art style, and simple mechanics that are easy to grasp for new players.
Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden
Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden is a turn-based tactical-rpg adaptation of a pen and paper Swedish role-playing game of the same name. The game takes place in a post-apocalyptic future where most of the population has died from a nuclear war, with those who remain turning into mutants. You take control of a small band of explorers, called Stalkers, whose members include a clever duck-man and a steadfast boar-man.
Gameplay is split between real-time exploration, which allows you to scavenge for supplies and position your team for battles, and turn-based combat. Enemies in Road to Eden are very tough and force you to devise well thought out strategies prior to engaging in battle. Along the journey you’re able to learn more about the game’s world and the events that led to such dark times.
There are certain things you can expect from a Doom game: Ultra-violence loaded with gore and flashy kills, overpowered powered weapons, and a generic story that serves as an excuse to rip demons in half. While id Software’s 2016 Doom reboot makes sure to check all those boxes, it does bring some new stuff to the series.
Aside from amazing modern graphics, Doom has a more fleshed out upgrade system than previous games, which allows you to invest in weapons you love and play how you want. The game also features Glory Kills for the first time, allowing you slay wounded or weak creatures with mesmerizingly gruesome, over-the-top attacks. Great traversal and combat controls make Doom a must-play for fans of first-person shooters.
2016’s Hitman felt like a step in the right direction for a stealth series that had been growing stale. The game has you take on the role of Agent 47, an elusive hit man capable of hiding in plain sight by taking on disguises. Once you’ve been assigned a target, you’ll have to devise a strategy for taking them down without being detected.
Hitman includes six episodes set in large, open areas for you to explore. There are multiple ways to eliminate your targets so replaying missions will be essential for players looking to become the ultimate assassin and see all the game has to offer.
Acting as a spiritual successor to Rollcage, a niche arcade racer from the 90s, Grip is a fast-paced racing game that has you competing against other vehicles in different modes. The game features four different race types, including Classic, Ultimate, Speed Demon, and Elimination. To achieve victory in races, there are a number of tools at your disposal, like power-ups, such as missiles, mines, and speed boosts, as well as the ability to flip upside down and drive on ceilings without losing momentum.
Paired nicely with Grip’s high-octane driving is an excellent drum-and-bass soundtrack that really gets your blood pumping. The game also features a campaign mode and online arena battles which allows you to compete against other players.
Insomniac didn’t hold back any punches when creating Sunset Overdrive’s colorful, punk-inspired world. The game’s never hesitates to break the fourth wall and has your character, appropriately named “Player” embarking on a radical quest to rid Sunset City of its mutated population.
Gameplay has you traversing an open-world by grinding on rails as you complete quests for other survivors and thin out herds of zombie-like creatures. Sunset Overdrive’s extreme sense of humor seems to bleed into every corner of the game, with the addition of weapons like the “flaming compensator”, a shotgun with two wooden balls hanging from its handle. What’s most surprising is how well Overdrive’s mechanics work in tandem, with grinding and combat blending together seamlessly.
Rise of the Tomb Raider
Originally released as a timed Xbox One exclusive, Rise of the Tomb Raider serves as Crystal Dynamics’ follow-up to the critically-received Tomb Raider reboot. The game has you controlling iconic adventurer Lara Croft, who’s traveled to Siberia in search of the legendary city of Kitezh. The evil organization Trinity makes a return and the two forces battle to uncover the hidden city’s secrets.
Rise is a more ambitious game than the previous game, sporting larger areas to explore, new puzzles to solve, and introduces expeditions, which allow you to replay the game’s story with new constraints and requirements. The game is visually impressive, with snowy mountains and damp caves looking strikingly realistic.
ReCore is an action-adventure Xbox Exclusive that draws inspiration from games like Metroid Prime. The game has you play as Joule Adams, a volunteer for a space colony called Far Eden, who awakes from cryo-sleep only to find that machines called “corebots”, have become corrupted and are now hostile.
Joule along with her robot companions begin exploring Far Eden, uncovering secrets about the colony’s failed mission and battling corrupted corebots. Combat in ReCore has you using a versatile laser rifle to defeat enemies, firing different colored lasers that do more damage when they hit a matching enemy. Companion robots can be upgraded by discovering blueprints, and provide aid in battle as well as solving puzzles.
Warhammer: Vermintide 2
Fans of games like Left 4 Dead will enjoy Vermintide 2, which has you and up to three other players going up against hordes of rat-men called the Skaven in interesting and diverse environments. In terms of story, Vemintide 2 is set during the beginning of the End Times, an apocalyptic event that ultimately results in the destruction of the Warhammer World.
The first-person action game features five distinct character classes, with each having their own unique abilities and playstyles. Gameplay has you exploring different maps in missions that require you complete objectives, and take down huge enemy bosses. There’s a lot of variety in Vermintide 2’s combat, with a large selection of weapons for each character to use, from large two-handed broadswords to rapid-fire repeaters
Quantum Break is highly cinematic, sci-fi third-person shooter exclusive to Xbox. You play as Jack Joyce, a man who’s granted the power to control time after a failed science experiment. Soon after, you find yourself hunted by a secret organization and have to use your new abilities to stay alive.
Gameplay is very flashy and visually impressive, as you use an array of time-stopping powers to take down enemy soldiers. Among these is the ability to teleport short distances and create time bubbles capable of suspending bullets in air momentarily before hitting your target in one large burst. Additionally, Quantum Break features a supplementary live-action TV series component that does a great job expanding the story and immersing you in the game’s world.