Unbelievably, there’s no Netflix-like service for video games on the Xbox One. On June 1, that changes with the introduction of Xbox Game Pass for the Xbox One.
The concept is simple: Pay a monthly fee for unlimited access to a library of content.
The service costs $US10 per month, and offers unlimited access to a library of over 100 games. You can download as many games as you want, play them for as long as you want, and new games are added monthly.
Xbox Game Pass is slightly different from a Netflix-type service in that the games aren’t streamed over an internet connection — they’re downloaded, meaning you can play them online or offline. The service lights up on June 1, and there’s a 14-day free trial available to anyone with an Xbox One.
But with over 100 games, you might be wondering where to start. We’ve got some ideas below!
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'Spelunky' is simple to understand, impossible to master, and troublingly addictive. You're an explorer in a 2D environment, fighting spiders and skeletons and aliens, on a quest to reach a door that will lead to the next level.
More enemies, more treasures, and always a different adventure -- 'Spelunky' is a 'procedurally-generated' game, which is a complicated way of saying the levels are different every time you play the game. They will always look the same, but the way they're laid out is unique on each playthrough. It's just one of the many aspects in 'Spelunky' that make it such a delight.
'Halo 5: Guardians' isn't as revelatory as the original 'Halo' and its sequel were, but it's certainly the best-looking, best-playing 'Halo' game ever made. It's a more fully-realised universe than ever, with vegetation and animals and ancient structures and all sorts of other pretty stuff to gawk at. Better still, the multiplayer is still thriving with players -- which is good, because it's the finest multiplayer the series has ever had.
'Sunset Overdrive' is a ridiculous game. It can't be overstated -- much of its aesthetic resembles a Monster energy drink commercial crossed with a Good Charlotte music video, which is entirely intentional. Don't let that dissuade you: 'Sunset Overdrive' is a fantastic game that's like nothing else on the Xbox One. It's a third-person action game with a focus on high-speed movement -- think 'Tony Hawk Pro Skater' meets 'Gears of War.' It puts a premium on fun over all else that makes it a standout here.
In 2007, a mysterious game named 'BioShock' seemingly came out of nowhere. It was cinematic, philosophical, gorgeous, and thrilling -- a game that captivated critics and became a blockbuster commercial success.
If you've never played any of the 'BioShock' games, you're in for a treat. It's a first-person shooter... sort of. It's that on paper, but in practice it's a medium-defining criticism on game design and how players interact with games. It's set in an underwater city known as 'Rapture,' where a separatist society has built a civilisation and fallen into tribal war.
Oh and also, there are giant, hulking creatures known as 'Big Daddy' that are protecting murderous little girls in the underwater city of Rapture. Don't miss it!
'OlliOlli' is the best new skateboarding game in years. Though it uses the jargon of skateboarding, it leans more toward the 'Tony Hawk Pro Skater' representation of skateboarding than something more serious, like the 'Skate' series. Think: Arcade-style over simulation. You're just as likely to nail a kickflip while leaping over a dinosaur as, say, a set of stairs.
Through a clever control system wherein you flick the thumbstick to jump ('ollie' in skateboarding vernacular), 'OlliOlli' encourages exacting precision as a means of expressing fluid, improvised skate lines. Its a killer game for perfectionists and casual players alike.
'The Swapper' is a beautiful and eerie game about exploration, puzzle-solving, and human consciousness.
It's a smart and quiet game that subverts player expectations. You're not just exploring an abandoned research station; you're learning the fate of the researchers that once inhabited that station. 'The Swapper' is a hidden gem that marries narrative storytelling with strong game design -- the rare game that's both really fun to play and really interesting to progress through.
Before 'No Man's Sky,' the developers at Hello Games in the UK made a delightful series named 'Joe Danger.' It features a little stuntman named -- you guessed it -- Joe Danger. There are sets of levels to complete, with jumps and stuns and stuff to collect. It's an endlessly fun, adorable series that insists on delighting you over and over. These are great games to play with kids, or to master as an adult.
At its heart, 'Gears of War' is a tactical third-person shooting game. Run into cover, move from place to place, flank your enemies, take them out. It's a game about assessing situations, and quickly, tactically, tackling them. It's a game about learning mechanics, mastering them, and integrating that mastery across hours.
The story of 'Gears of War' involves hulking space marines, clad in armour that looks more akin to hockey padding than functional gear, fighting hordes of alien monsters (a species called 'Locust' in the series). If you're into melodrama and action movie-style quips, the story of 'Gears of War' is for you.
Try your best to get past the silly name and focus on the thrilling gameplay. 'DmC' is an incredibly sharp game, from the feel of the character movement and combat to the crisp, witty banter between your character and everyone else. There are few games as outright silly and self-aware as 'DmC Devil May Cry,' and it's a hell of a game to play as well. The combat is quick to pick up, and smartly designed as a choose-your-own system. You can play the game as you wish, and it feels like the 'right' way no matter what.
Best of all, it's a game that will make you outright laugh -- an emotion that too few games elicit.
'Braid' may look like a basic 2D platformer, but it's a pivotal game in the ever-evolving history of the video game medium. When it launched in 2008, it was one of the first major indie games to blow up on both commercial and critical levels.
And that's for good reason: 'Braid' makes small twists on video game tropes known by gamers and non-gamers alike, in such a way as to subvert what you thought the game was 'supposed' to be. To say more would be to potentially ruin a beautiful experience.
If you haven't played 'Pac-Man,' well, I'm not sure how that's possible. 'Pac-Man Championship Edition DX+' takes the classic 'Pac-Man' formula and updates it for modern expectations. It's a genuine evolution on a gaming classic, and it's a game you'll almost certainly love. The music alone is worth downloading the game for, though the game itself is just as fantastic. It's a great family game as well.