Are you looking for some of the best games on Xbox Game Pass? We’ve got you covered.
Since Microsoft launched its online library of first-party, third-party, and indie classics, gamers have enjoyed a vast selection of titles. At times, navigating the library of Game Pass games can be a bit intimidating. Therefore, we’ve curated a list of some of the best games on Xbox Game Pass that you can download and play right now.
The available titles in Xbox Game Pass change regularly, so we’ll routinely update this list as games come and go.
Vampire Survivors Is One of the Most Addicting Games You’ll Play All Year
If at the start of the year, you told me that one of the best games of 2022 would be a retro twin-stick inspired survival shooter, I would have laughed. Yet here we are, at the end of 2022, and my favorite game of the year is a retro twin-stick inspired survival shooter.
Vampire Survivors looks simple on the surface. Once you peel through the layers and dive deeper into the game, you realize there’s much more here than you realized. Its ability to take a simple concept and build a simplistic yet addictive gameplay loop is impressive.
The concept is simple: survive as long as you can by shooting at the endless horde of enemies that appear on the screen. You’ll be able to acquire new abilities and power them up, adding a rogue-like element to the game. No two sessions are the same, and that’s the magic of Vampire Survivors. You don’t know what’s going to happen next, but you can’t wait to find out what it is.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to boot the game up and give it another run or two. Or ten.
Tunic is one of the best games of 2022
The little fox that could spends his time exploring, adventuring, and fighting its way through the world of Tunic. Puzzles, secrets, and dangerous enemies await, and should you emerge victorious, you’re filled with a wonderful sense of accomplishment.
Tunic is one of the best games of 2022, thanks to its rock-solid gameplay, charming visuals, and smooth soundtrack. This makes it an easy inclusion on our list of the best games on Xbox Game Pass.
DOOM 2016 and DOOM Eternal are some of the best shooters on Xbox Game Pass
Is it cheating to lump these two games together? Probably, but they’re just that good.
The way id Software reinvented the DOOM franchise is a textbook example of how to bring a beloved game series back to life. It had been a long, tumultuous road for the awaited follow-up to 2004’s DOOM 3. The wait was well worth it.
Old-school FPS gameplay blends with modern-level design and technology. DOOM and DOOM Eternal offer fast-paced in-your-face gameplay that takes your breath away. They are undoubtedly the best entries in the DOOM franchise for a reason. These games are one hell of a time, making them an easy inclusion on our list of the best games on Xbox Game Pass.
Unpacking is a hidden gem that’s also one of the best games on Xbox Game Pass
One of the best games of 2021, Unpacking highlights the value of Xbox Game Pass.
This indie delight delivers one of the most impressive and moving stories in a video game. The puzzle-based game isn’t afraid to tug on your heartstrings as you experience the major milestones of the main character’s life.
The gameplay focuses on unpacking (literally) as the character moves from one house to another. We learn about what is going on in their life through contextual clues. This works since everything has its specific place that it needs to go; if something is put away in an area that doesn’t make sense, there’s a reason.
Unpacking only lasts a handful of hours, but its narrative and emotional impact will linger on far longer.
ClusterTruck is chaotic fun
The only way to describe ClusterTruck is organized chaos.
Part platformer, part speedrunning game, ClusterTruck tasks players with running and jumping on top of a traffic jam of semi-trucks. It all sounds simple, right? Not so fast; a combination of the trucks’ movement and the game’s physics engine makes the objective harder than it sounds.
ClusterTruck is a game that thrives on a pick-up-and-play mentality. Gameplay is suited for short sessions, but don’t be surprised if you lose track of time before realizing you’ve been playing for hours.
The Master Chief Collection features the glory days of Halo
There may be no better value on Xbox Game Pass than The Master Chief Collection.
While Halo Infinite couldn’t meet expectations, there are still the original Halo games to enjoy. The Bungie trilogy still stands the test of time as an innovative and enjoyable FPS experience. Halo 4 is the weakest option, but it’s still a solid experience.
Multiplayer is the star of the show. From online deathmatch to the cooperative campaign, there’s no shortage of things to do with friends.
Mass Effect Legendary Edition is the definitive way to play Mass Effect
If the Master Chief isn’t the best value on Game Pass, then the Mass Effect Legendary Edition undoubtedly is.
The Commander Shepard trilogy is some of the best games you can play right now on Xbox Game Pass. From its RPG-inspired roots, complete with a touch of modern love and quality of life improvements, to the rock-solid action shooter of Mass Effect 2 and 3, few titles can compare.
Between the incredibly well-written characters and relationships you build, the deep, twisting, and engaging story, and the always entertaining cover-based shooter gameplay, Mass Effect proves why BioWare was once one of the greatest developers in the industry.
If for some reason you haven’t played these games yet, it’s a perfect time to experience what everyone has been raving about.
Overcooked 2 is co-op gaming as its best
A co-op game that will test your patience, Overcooked 2 is a testament to how much you trust your partner.
Players are tasked with preparing kitchen dishes in a restaurant-style atmosphere. The catch is that you’ll need to bring platforming skills to the table. Whether you’re maneuvering around dangerous obstacles or jumping between platforms, Overcooked 2 puts your skills to the test.
The fast and frantic gameplay feels chaotic but offers satisfaction when completing each level. It helps that the game’s charming aesthetic and soundtrack keep you coming back for more.
Hollow Knight is a modern-day Metroidvania classic
The indie Metroidvania combines the best of games like Castlevania: Symphony of the Night and the Dark Souls franchise.
Progressing your character with new skills and abilities as you explore the haunting world of Hallownest is a homage to the best titles in the genre. Add in the Dark Souls style of difficulty with combat, and you have the recipe for a smash hit.
Hollow Knight isn’t the most accessible title on our list of the best games on Xbox Game Pass that you can play right now, but it rewards the player as they progress through. It’ll all be worth it if you put the time and effort in.
Donut County is a sleeper hit that you’ll fall in love with on Xbox Game Pass
A clever take on the puzzle genre, Donut County is similar to Katamari Damacy in terms of its absurd premise.
You control a sinkhole with the sole premise of swallowing everything in your path. The combination of the game’s concept alongside the required puzzle solving is a winning combination. Everything cannot be solved by simply moving the sinkhole beneath things. There’s a good amount of puzzle solving and quick thinking required.
Donut County is the perfect type of game for Game Pass: A small, cute, and intriguing indie game that may have otherwise rotted on your wishlist.
Fable and Fable II are classic Xbox action-RPGs
The Fable franchise couldn’t meet its impossible expectations. What we got fell far short of the ambitious promise, but the first two Fable games are still very good action RPGs.
The original game’s mortality system is admittedly a bit underdeveloped. In the sequel, it feels like more consequences exist for your actions. It’s still a far cry from the “one action can change everything” premise the franchise originally had.
Still, being able to not just see but sense the world’s opinion of you changing is impressive. You become famous or infamous based on your actions, conquests, or crimes. There’s a moment of regret for being an evil and selfish person in the world of Albion.
Then the moment passes, and I go on my merry way.
Cities: Skylines is an excellent city-builder and one of the best games on Xbox Game Pass
Sadly, we’re still waiting for a proper and successful modern-day SimCity. In the meantime, we’re perfectly content with Cities: Skylines.
Honestly, it’s a better game than what SimCity could accomplish. An impressive amount of freedom and control over building, plotting, and planning your cities is featured in the game. Combined with an art style that manages to be forgiving with hardware demands while still delivering gorgeous skylines and street views, it’s a no-brainer.
Cities: Skylines is one of the best city builder games ever and one of the best games on Xbox Game Pass that you can play today.
Banjo-Kazooie is a beloved platforming adventure
One of the greatest platformers of all time, Banjo-Kazooie is everything you could ever want in a video game and one of the best Nintendo 64 titles ever.
The controls are tight and precise, platforming and collecting are seamless and well designed, and the music is incredibly catchy. Seriously, you’re going to start humming along in no time.
What really helps to put Banjo-Kazooie over the top is its personality and charm. The characters are incredibly well written and presented. Their conversations are light-hearted and legitimately funny. Developer Rare was at the top of its game with this one.
Powerwash Simulator is an incredibly relaxing experience
Sometimes you just want to wash the driveway. You can do that with our next game in our list of best games you can play on Xbox Game Pass right now.
Powerwash Simulator is one of many games in the “simulator” genre. The goal is fairly obvious: you’ll spend your time powerwashing various surfaces. Powerwashing Simulator may be the most relaxing and enjoyable of all the simulator games on the market.
It lacks the chaos of the cooking and surgeon style simulator games while providing a broader appeal compared to something like Farming Simulator. Surely it also helps that powerwashing surfaces is an incredibly satisfying feeling.
Forza Horizon 5 is the best racing experience on Xbox Game Pass
The pinnacle of the Forza Horizon franchise, Forza Horizon 5, is racing perfection.
Traversing through the country of Mexico opens up a world of opportunities. From climbing mountains and volcanos, driving alongside beautiful beaches, or racing through the jungle, there’s a new and unique locale waiting for you around every corner.
Forza Horizon 5 refines the Horizon franchise, polishing it to an immaculate shine. There’s always something to do at the Horizon festival, and one of the best games of 2021 will surely keep you coming for more.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge is old-school arcade action at its finest
Shredder’s Revenge is a throwback to the old-school arcade TMNT games and a love letter to the beat ’em up games of old.
The beautiful pixel art takes you back to the arcade. Animations are vibrant and expressive, adding an extra level of charm to an already beautiful game. This couples well with satisfying and enjoyable combat. Shredder’s Revenge plays exactly like you hope it does: accessible, replayable, and, most importantly, fun.
Its pick-up and play style is perfect to jump in and out whenever you want. Whether you have only half an hour to play, or you and a friend want to binge all day, Shredder’s Revenge is easily one of the best games on Xbox Game Pass available now.
Psychonauts is a classic Xbox game and one of the best games on Xbox Game Pass
A masterful platformer from developer Double Fine, Psychonauts isn’t afraid to zig when everyone else zags.
The controls are a little wonky at times due to Double Fine’s, at the time, inexperience with the genre shows. To still recommend Psychonauts as one of the best Xbox Game Pass titles is a testament to the game’s strength.
Filled with personality, charm, and uniqueness, Psychonauts is a true diamond in the rough. It’s legitimately laugh-out-loud funny and offers an over-the-top psychedelic trip of a story that keeps you playing, even when the game’s frustrations start to appear.
Citizen Sleeper offers an incredible narrative experience
The type of game that thrives on Game Pass, Citizen Sleeper is an RPG action-adventure that may have otherwise been missed out on.
It won’t draw you in with a fancy trailer or enticing screenshots, but the enchanting world and gorgeous visuals will keep you hooked. Citizen Sleeper feels like a visual novel but is far more engaging than most games in the genre. The well-written narratives and fleshed-out characters alone are strong enough to keep players invested. Adding gameplay mechanics with a tabletop-esque (using this term broadly) is the icing on the cake.
There are few games like Citizen Sleeper out there. I highly encourage you to give it a shot.
Hitman: Trilogy is a breath of fresh air for the long-running series
The Hitman franchise has seen its ups and downs. The most recent releases, however, are some of the best the series has ever seen.
Released in January of 2022, the Hitman: Trilogy comprises three games: 2016’s Hitman, 2018’s Hitman 2, and 2021’s Hitman 3. Known as the World of Assassination trilogy, the modern era of the Hitman series is known for premiere level design and an open-ended feel to the game’s areas.
The worlds presented in the game are often referred to as an assassin’s playground. Part of the appeal of these modern Hitman games is that it’s never afraid not to take themselves so seriously. At the same time, some missions rank among some of the greatest designs in gaming—the amount of freedom available to the player results in plenty of nonsensical fun.
Stardew Valley is a fantastic farming simulator
Stardew Valley is one of the best games on Xbox Game Pass you can play right now; it’s also one of the most relaxing.
The indie farming simulator has been a fan favorite since its release in 2016. The amount of depth and freedom available in the game not only rivals Harvest Moon, the most popular farming franchise but often exceeds it.
Stardew Valley’s strength comes in how it places equal importance on story and character development alongside its gameplay loop. An impressive amount of content is available, and it never overwhelms you. This is due to the game’s happy, relaxing, and inviting aesthetic.
As the kids would say, Stardew Valley is a vibe.
Dead by Daylight is a horror fan’s dream come true
We wrap out our list of Xbox Game Pass titles with what may be the biggest sleeper hit of them all.
Dead by Daylight is a successful take on the asymmetric multiplayer genre. Leaning in heavily on the horror theme, Dead by Daylight features a team of four survivors doing battle against a solitary killer. Survivors are tasked with completing objectives to survive before the killer, well, kills them all.
What helps spark Dead by Daylight’s popularity isn’t just the successful gameplay loop and the vast selection of beloved horror characters. From original villains to beloved horror icons like The Cenobite, Pyramid Head, and Michael Myers (plus many more), there’s a surprising amount of depth available within the game’s playable characters.
That does it for our list of the best games on Xbox Game Pass you can play right now. Since the Game Pass library goes through routine changes, we’ll be sure to update our list regularly.
What titles did we miss? What games do you think are worth downloading on Xbox Game Pass? Let us know in the comments below, and keep the conversation going!
Updated for December 2022: Added Vampire Survivors