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Sunday, December 4, 2022

29 best games on Xbox Game Pass (October 2022)

Xbox’s Game Pass service is having another strong year. From new titles like Nobody Saves the World to legacy juggernauts like Halo: The Master Chief Collection, it’s still the easiest way to keep up with gaming without breaking the bank. And the service is always evolving, adding new games each month, with many of the titles available across multiple Xbox consoles and PC through Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.

Microsoft’s Bethesda acquisition saw great titles like Skyrim and Fallout 3 come to Game Pass. And many expect similar moves to come for games like Overwatch 2, Diablo 3, and maybe even World of Warcraft, with Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard still churning in the background.

Past first-party day-and-date releases and Xbox Studios games, Game Pass offers some of the best third-party and indie games out there, including titles like Tinykin and Mass Effect Legendary Edition.

With the sheer size and the bounty of choice it offers, Game Pass can be a bit overwhelming to digest. But we’re here to help. Here are the 29 PC and Xbox Game Pass games that you should be checking out if you subscribe to Microsoft’s flagship service.

[Ed. note: This list was last updated on Oct. 1, 2022. It will be updated as new games come to the service.]


A screenshot of Tinykin

Image: Splashteam/TinyBuild

Tinykin is one of the best collect-a-thon platformers since the golden age of the Nintendo 64.

You play as a young astronaut, of sorts, who is trapped inside a normal human house. The catch here is that you’re only about the size of an ant, and you use even smaller creatures called Tinykin to help you get around.

As you adventure through the house you’ll command your Tinykin to help complete various tasks, like creating a disco bathtub rave for some resident bugs, rescuing a small critter from inside a piano, or baking a delicious treat with a host of hard-to-find ingredients. Each type of Tinykin has a unique function, and it’s your job to solve puzzles with their variety of skills.

If this sounds reminiscent of Nintendo’s Pikmin series, that’s because it is. But unlike Pikmin, there is no combat in Tinykin, which allows you to focus entirely on exploration and collectibles.

It’s one of the most peaceful games you can pick up on Game Pass, and one of the best games of 2022.

Tinykin is available on Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X via Game Pass.


A group of actors in Immortality

Image: Half Mermaid Productions via Polygon

Immortality is the third full-motion video game from writer and director Sam Barlow. It follows the disappearance of fictional actress Marissa Marcel, who starred in several films from the late ’60s to the late ’90s, none of which were ever released.

The game is awash with old technology and film, which you’ll use to explore videos from Marcel’s movies, interviews, and even behind-the-scenes footage and clapperboard shots. Similar to Her Story before it, you’ll need to use these old clips to unravel the mystery of what happened to Marcel over the course of her career.

Immortality is a surprising journey, with twists and turns that are best discovered on your own. If you love mysteries, old movies, horror, and the filmmaking process, then Game Pass is the perfect place to check out Immortality for yourself.

Immortality is available via Game Pass on Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.


Inside - boy standing in shaft of light

Image: Playdead

Inside is the second of Playdead’s minimalist side-scrollers. Whereas Limbo — the studio’s first game — showcased the dangers of nature, Inside is all about the horror humans can inflict upon one another.

In Inside, you play as a small boy in a red shirt investigating a giant factory/secret lab. You’ll explore, platform, and puzzle-solve your way through a variety of areas, and most likely meet a swift and unexpected death a few times along the way. Inside is grim and dark. It’s scary, but beautiful — like the lure of an angler fish. It pulls at your curiosity enough that you’ll keep ambling forward, through the horrors, until you finally see the credits.

Inside is all about its haunting mood and visuals, making it an experience you can’t quite explain without giving it away. So take advantage of your Game Pass subscription and jump into Inside fresh and unspoiled.

Inside is available via Game Pass on Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.

PowerWash Simulator

PowerWash Simulator - someone is cleaning a red helicopter with a power washer.

Image: FuturLab/Square Enix

PowerWash Simulator is the perfect game to sit on your couch and space off to. As the name suggests, you’re a professional power washer, and your job is to use your washing tools to obliterate grease, grime, and goop off of vehicles, buildings, and even entire playgrounds.

There are some minor upgrade and currency systems, but PowerWash Simulator mostly takes a minimalistic approach — you power wash stuff, no more, no less. Sure, you can take special jobs where you wash something wild like a Mars rover, but it’s really just about making things clean. And while it might sound like boring yard work, it’s actually quite meditative.

Blasting the black film off of a colorful slide provided me with one of the biggest serotonin bursts I’ve gotten from any piece of media in years. It’s a delightful, peaceful game that never fails to relax me after a long week.

PowerWash Simulator is available via Game Pass on Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.

Watch Dogs 2

Watch Dogs 2 art

Image: Ubisoft

Watch Dogs 2 isn’t just the best installment in Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs trilogy, it’s one of the best open-world games the studio has put out in years.

Watch Dogs 2 takes you to San Francisco and puts you in the shoes of Marcus Holloway, a hacker who works with a hacktivist group called DedSec. You’ll use your drone and RC car to hack things from a distance, or sneak around and remote hack objects with your phone. And when things get too dangerous, you can pull out your stun gun or eight-ball-on-a-rope to deal some serious damage.

Watch Dogs 2’s writing doesn’t always do it any favors when it tries to get serious or make a point about the dystopian police-state future its characters were dreading living in, but its heroes add enough character to the game that even the idiot in the emoji-eyes helmet is lovable.

Watch Dogs 2 is available via Game Pass on Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge

Screenshot featuring Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael, and Michelangelo fighting enemies in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge.

Image: Tribute Games/Dotemu/Nickelodeon

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge is already a classic Turtles brawler. If you could’ve overheard bunch of kids talking about their dream TMNT game while playing the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arcade cabinet at a local pizza bar in 1989, or Turtles in Time in 1991, this is the Turtles game they’d be imagining.

But over 30 years later, Shredder’s Revenge implements some features that distinguish it from the days of the coin operated arcade. There’s a world map, side-quests, new heroes, experience points, and online matchmaking that help modernize the throwback trappings. Shredder’s Revenge manages to balance itself nicely between the world of retro and revamp.

With only 16 “episodes,” it’s the perfect Game Pass game to jump into with some pals at a sleepover — as long as there’s pizza, of course.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge is available via Game Pass on Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.

Assassin’s Creed Origins

Assassin’s Creed Origins

Image: Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft

Assassin’s Creed Origins has always been good — but it was only in hindsight, three years after its release, that I began to consider it great.

It’s a phenomenal concoction of historical tourism, sci-fi storytelling, and open-ended combat. It also displays a confidence that the more recent Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla can only partially match. Whereas the two most recent entries embrace the insecure ethos of “content” that has so defined the last decade of open-world games, Origins is content to leave vast swaths of its world empty and to let things burn slowly, in ways both narrative and explorative. Its map unfurls over deserts, mountains, oases, and sun-swept cities slowly being buried in sand, all while its two central figures (Bayek and Aya) navigate one of video games’ most compelling romances. It’s not completely averse to daily challenges and cosmetic DLC packs. But it’s the rare open-world game that trusts my attention span. It understands that pastoral beauty and tragic storytelling, successfully interwoven, are worth more than any number of distractions its successors can throw at me. —Mike Mahardy

Assassin’s Creed Origins is available via Game Pass on Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.

Citizen Sleeper

A Sleeper stares out over an expanse in The Eye in Citizen Sleeper

Image: Jump Over the Age/Fellow Traveller

Citizen Sleeper is a hyper-stylized tabletop-like RPG set in space. In a capitalist society, you find yourself stuck on a space station. You’ll need to manage your time, energy, and relationships to survive the collapse of the corporatocracy and the anarchy that follows. You’ll roll dice and make decisions to get paid and help those around you.

Aside from its interesting setting, Citizen Sleeper making features a vibrant cast of impactful characters, making each interaction memorable. It follows an excellent trend of table-top inspired games to encourage you to find your own objectives, and to revel in the story when things fall apart. It’s packed with tense decisions, great writing, and striking visuals.

Citizen Sleeper is available via Game Pass on Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.

Umurangi Generation

A character faces left in the super stylized Umurangi Generation

Image: Origame Digital/Playism

Umurangi Generation is a photography game set in the “shitty future.” Players can go around taking pictures of the environment, and pick up on story beats by observing their surroundings in a melancholy city.

Taking pictures of the game’s bizarre but intriguing art style keeps the game interesting, but it’s the story and setting that makes Umurangi Generation memorable. It’s set in a city that’s occupied by militarized mechs sent by the government. As a photographer, you’re taking pictures with friends, yes, but also documenting a brutal future about resistance, oppression, and an epidemic.

It’s beautifully done, and hits close to home with its biting social commentary.

Umurangi Generation is available via Game Pass on Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.

Vampire Survivors

Vampire Survivors guide: Combinations and evolution chart

Image: Poncle

Vampire Survivors wants you to “become the bullet hell.”

The only control you have over the game is what character you select, what items you choose during your run, and where your character moves. Depending on your weapons of choice, knives, whips, flames, magic bolts, bibles, or holy water fly out of your character in every direction, decimating hordes or pixelated movie monsters, earning you cash for your next adventure.

Though extremely simple on its face, Vampire Survivors is one of the best games of 2022. It perfectly walks the line between peaceful and stressful, requiring the perfect amount of attention for success. It also facilitates growth through skill and through roguelite progression, ensuring that each run is a bit different from your last.

Vampire Survivors is available via Game Pass on Windows PC.

Halo: The Master Chief Collection

Halo: The Master Chief Collection product art

Image: 343 Industries/Xbox Game Studios

The Xbox brand might never have taken off without the Halo series, the first-person shooters that helped to popularize local competitive multiplayer on consoles before taking the party online after the launch of Xbox Live. The Master Chief Collection package includes multiple Halo games, all of which have been updated to keep them enjoyable for modern audiences.

But what’s so striking about the collection is how many ways there are to play. You can go through the campaigns by yourself. If you want to play with a friend but don’t want to compete, there is co-op, allowing you to share the games’ stories with a partner, either online or through split-screen play. If you do want to compete, you can do it locally against up to three other players on the same TV, or take things online to challenge the wider community.

These are some of the best first-person shooters ever released, and they’re worth revisiting and enjoying, no matter how you decide to play them. Sharing these games with my children through local co-op has been an amazing journey, and this package includes so many games, each of which is filled with different modes and options. It’s hard to imagine ever getting bored or uninstalling the collection once it’s on your hard drive.

This is a part of gaming history that continues to feel relevant, and very much alive. —Ben Kuchera

Halo: The Master Chief Collection is available via Game Pass on Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.

Slay the Spire

In Slay the Spire, I play as one of three unique characters, in order to fight my way through a randomly generated map filled with battles, treasure chests, and RPG-like encounters. Combat is similar to that of a turn-based RPG, but instead of selecting attacks and spells from a menu, I draw cards from each character’s specific pool of cards. These cards allow me to attack, defend, cast spells, or use special abilities. Each character has their own set of cards, making their play styles radically different.

I also learned to buck my expectations for the kinds of decks I should build. The key to deck-building games is constructing a thematic deck where each card complements the others. In card games like Magic: The Gathering, this is easy enough to do, since you do all your planning before a match — not in the moment, like in Slay the Spire. Since I’m given a random set of cards to build a deck from at the end of each encounter, I can’t go into any run with a certain deck-building goal in mind. I have to quickly decide on long-term deck designs based on what cards are available to me after a battle. The trick with Slay the Spire is to think more creatively and proactively than the typical card game requires. —Jeff Ramos

Slay the Spire is available via Game Pass on Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.

Among Us

Among Us imposters being murdered

Image: InnerSloth

Among Us was originally released in 2018, but it took the events of 2020 to make it a phenomenon. You can play with up to 10 players, running around each level trying to finish tasks while an imposter (or several) tries to kill everyone else without being found out. It’s basically a goofy take on The Thing, but weaponized as a social game with multiple levels of strategy. How the imposter tries to get away with it, and talk their way out of it when emergency meetings are called, is half the fun.

There’s something amazing about the idea that there are so many games out there, so many titles across so many platforms, that the near-perfect game for every situation seems to already exist … somewhere. In this case, it was found and rescued from relative obscurity, and there’s even a free-to-play iOS and Android version that can connect with PC players if you want to get a crew together.

The thought of all those hidden gems, just waiting to be given a second chance, is comforting in a time when so many people are finding it hard to continue to be creative, or have hope at all.

Among Us helped show us that relief may come from unexpected places, and the game has been keeping players occupied, and laughing, ever since it took off in the summer of 2020. —Ben Kuchera

Among Us is available via Game Pass on Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.

Tetris Effect: Connected

Two particle-based angelic creatures dance on the side of a Tetris Effect level.

Image: Monstars, Resonair/Enhance Games

Tetris Effect: Connected is another game that offers so many ways to play, and it’s also one that’s easy to match with folks who might be intimidated by most other games.

The core game is pure Tetris: Flip the pieces, create solid horizontal lines across the board, and watch them disappear as you try to deal with the falling shapes before your tower reaches the top. But the campaign brings in beautiful music and pulsing, shifting visual effects that help bring the experience to new heights of relaxation and satisfaction. It’s Tetris with a pulse, both literally and figuratively.

This version of the game comes with a suite of online modes so you can play with or against others to prove your skill or practice your fundamentals. You can play purely for the relaxation of the music and visuals if you’d like, or you can adjust the game’s options until the experience is pared down to pure ability and reaction time. How you play, and what you get out of it, is up to you. Tetris Effect: Connected is a platform as much as a single game, giving you many ways of enjoying one of the best puzzle games ever created.

Tetris Effect: Connected can show off what your home theater can do in terms of image quality and sound system, sure, but it also teaches that truly inspired game design doesn’t have an expiration date. There may be better versions of Tetris released in the future, but it’s going to be hard to top this one. —Ben Kuchera

Tetris Effect: Connected is available via Game Pass on Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.


Minecraft characters, including animals like a sheep and a pig, pose on the top of a hill

Image: Mojang/Xbox Game Studios

Minecraft is a game in which everything looks like it’s made out of large, square blocks, and you can harvest materials and use them to build whatever you’d like out of those blocks.

There isn’t much left to say about Minecraft that hasn’t already been said, but the game remains popular online, and it has the ability to keep my children occupied in a way no other game can match, in my experience. They ignore the survival mode and go straight for creative, treating it like a split-screen world in which they can build anything they’d like, without worrying about whether they’re going to run out of Lego bricks.

It’s a game that can be meditative when played alone and social when shared with others, and there are mountains of user-created content to sift through and explore. Like the rest of the games on this list, Minecraft is very easy to get into, but you may find it tricky to leave. —Ben Kuchera

Minecraft is available via Game Pass on Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.

Stardew Valley