It's not hard to browse Gamereactor, peruse our review section, select format and sort by rating. Bang! Then you have plenty of hits to choose from for the gaming platform of your preference. Of course, you can do that and cross-reference those games with those available on both Xbox Game Pass and PS Now (which we'll look at in a future article), but in reality, unfortunately, we're not able to test all of the games that are released.
Therefore, there are plenty of unheralded diamonds in the rough on both services, fun little games that are easy to miss as they simply haven't received a review, or were reviewed so long ago that you forgot about them, or maybe it's an indie game and it didn't pique your interest or it flew under your radar. In addition - and let's be honest here - it is a fact that games today often projects that are built on for a long time, and therefore a game that was mediocre or good at launch could have become a classic a year or two later.
It is precisely with this in mind that it feels right to now offer a selection of our favourites from both Microsoft's and Sony's game subscription services. With so many games being added and removed, it can be hard to keep track of what's out there. And so, here are a bunch of games available on Xbox Game Pass that we suspect many of you might have missed or skipped past when browsing for something to play.
• Battle Chasers: Nightwar - You probably recognise the feeling of seeing an indie game with a distinctive and wonderfully-cool design that you want to throw yourself into and play for ages... only to find out that the design was the only thing that really lasted. Battle Chasers: Nightwar has such a design, but it backs it up with really good gameplay. This is a lovely role-playing game reminiscent of those from bygone times, but with modern graphics and totally epic boss fights. Make sure you don't miss this one.
• Blazing Chrome - Konami is still acting grumpy and refuses to understand what made Contra/Probotector so good back in the day, and the rest of the industry seems to ignore classic run 'n' guns, too. Fortunately, Joysmasher stepped forward to deliver Blazing Chrome last year. While it doesn't really offer anything we haven't seen before, that familiar feeling it offers is exactly why we love it and it's why we go back to it again and again. It really feels like Super Probotectors' forgotten twin sister has reappeared, and we embrace this newcomer as a true, dear family member. You should, too, preferably with a couch buddy for some old school co-op.
• Children of Morta - There is no shortage of so-called roguelikes out there, but not all of them are good, and even fewer are excellent. But then we have the Bergson family, who together offer a phenomenal narrative, co-op adventures, and countless dungeons to chop your way through while gathering equipment and skills. There is so much personality and story to pick through in this treat of a game, and those of you who like local co-op can't afford to miss it either.
• Frostpunk: Console Edition - Strategy games sometimes struggle on consoles, and unfortunately we find the genre often leaves little to be desired when it comes to narrative and storytelling. But then there's Frostpunk. 11 Bit Studios really made an effort and delivered a game that seems to have flown under the radar of many console-owners, but it works perfectly with controller and we have forsaken countless nights of sleep to keep working for our poor colony. Download and play this one when you have a lot of time to really indulge yourself.
• Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams - Director's Cut - A surprising choice? Maybe, but the fact is that this platform game is one that we've been returning to for a long time. When we tell people to play it with Xbox Game Pass, they tend to be surprised by the suggestion or even unaware that it exists. But it does, and it's an excellent 2D platform game with a nice twist and top-notch music. We wouldn't recommend it for younger children because of the challenge and the trying puzzles you need to solve along the way, but for everyone else this is an energy pill that will make your life better.
• Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun - We never get bored of just sitting on the roof as Yuki the assassin, watching our potential victims, contemplating the best strategy, before swooshing down for an instant attack. In fact, Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun offers no less than five assassins who, in beautiful Japanese environments, conduct assassinations in what can best be described as strategic puzzles (think classic Commando). This is an incredibly rewarding and entertaining adventure game that has made us consider several times if we shouldn't abandon the day job to become a full-time ninja.
• Shadow Warrior 2 - Sometimes it's hard to understand why some games didn't become more popular than they actually are when they launched. Like Shadow Warrior 2, for example. It has senselessly brutal action, a heavy feel to the gameplay, rock-solid combat, co-op, and humorous violence. It absolutely deserved to be a real success instead of an anonymous adventure most people missed, but screw that. It's available with Xbox Game Pass and the odds are that you missed it, which on the other hand means you have a really crazy journey ahead of you. Neat.
• SteamWorld Dig 2 - It may seem strange to list the Gothenburg-based Thunderful's runaway success SteamWorld Dig 2, as this was supposed to be about hidden nuggets. But the fact is that the game is intimately associated with, above all, Nintendo's platforms. A surprising amount of people we've talked to haven't even realised that it's available on Xbox One at all, and much less on Xbox Game Pass. But it is, and you should play it because it's one of the best Metroidvania adventures ever.
• Westerado: Double Barreled - It has been a long time since we saw a game that looked so deliberately cheap but that was so masterfully crafted in the end (maybe Stardew Valley can give you a clue as to what we mean by that). We are talking about a fully-fledged western adventure where your choices are of great importance for a story that is nicely tied together by well-composed music, complete with a big world full of interesting characters and places. Simply let yourself sink into the adventure and enjoy several alternate endings, find new secret areas, unlock more playable characters, and catch a couple of the many Achievements that are available. A cosy deluxe adventure, which has much more to offer than you might think at first glance.
It's probably worth noting that most of the games mentioned in this list are also available via the Game Pass on PC, with the exception of Westerado: Double Barreled and Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams - Director's Cut.
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