Xbox Game Pass is easily one of the best deals in gaming, even if you don’t have an Xbox. No, seriously, Game Pass Ultimate includes over 100 Xbox games, games with gold, cloud streaming of a bunch of games to your phone (retaining your saves) and over 100 games on PC to top it all off. It’s a crazy service (that we here at Indie Game Fans are not sponsored by), that may bring up a lot of questions on the end of how the developers are paid for their work when it’s played using the service, but player side, as previously mentioned, its easily one of the best deals in gaming.
So why don’t we go through the top indie games on the service that you can play right now and just in the name of casting a wide net, all of these games are available on both Xbox Game Pass and the recently rebranded PC Game Pass.
1. Cities: Skylines
‘Cities: Skylines offers sprawling landscapes and maps with endless sandbox gameplay and new ways to expand your city. Key to progression is the ability to influence your city’s policy by incorporating taxation into districts.’
Management Simulators aren’t for everyone, but somehow Cities: Skylines is so approachable and so moreish that it seems to hook everyone that even tries it. Creating your own town and helping it evolve and develop into a thriving city is an endless joy that you can jump into for ten minutes or hours at a time.
2. Dead by Daylight
‘Death Is Not an Escape. Dead by Daylight is a multiplayer (4vs1) horror game where one player takes on the role of the savage Killer, and the other four players play as Survivors, trying to escape the Killer and avoid being caught, tortured, and killed.’
Do you have friends? Do you want them to hate you? Do they like horror movies? Dead by Daylight is THE asymmetrical multiplayer game, featuring a cast of original characters and popular horror movie villains, one person plays as a relentless killer, whilst four other players have to escape with their lives! Gamepass opens up so many opportunities for multiplayer games and this is one of the best on the service.
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3. Overcooked 2
‘Journey back to the Onion Kingdom and assemble your team of chefs in classic couch co-op or online play for up to four players. Hold onto your aprons… it’s time to save the world (again!)’
Do you have gamer friends? Family? Roommates? Good, you’ll need them. This stressful cooking co-op game is engineered from its core to be an absolutely fantastic time. You’ll be working with, or at least trying to work with, your friends to create the most delicious dishes for a plethora of patrons. Just hook up a couple of controllers and bring over your closest friends, and hope you’re still friends when they leave!
4. No Man’s Sky
‘No Man’s Sky is an exploration and survival game set in an infinite procedurally generated universe. You can fly seamlessly from the surface of a planet to another, and every star in the sky is a sun that you can visit. Every planet’s landscape is different from the next and populated by species never before encountered.’
Ok, Ok, I know you read the name ‘No Man’s Sky’ and raised an eyebrow. To say this game had a rocky launch would be the understatement of the century. But five years later, No Man’s Sky has turned it around. There’s so much to do and see in this game that you likely won’t see all of it by yourself, and moreover; your experience will be totally unique, with every planet in the game being procedural, this space-faring adventure is yours and yours alone, unless you bring your friends along in multiplayer, then it’s for all of you.
5. Stardew Valley
‘Stardew Valley is an RPG-style farming game. It’s up to you to choose your path… Will you devote your time to raising crops and caring for animals? Will you spend time in the local village, befriending the local townspeople? Do you get a kick out of slaying dreadful monsters in the mysterious mountain caverns? Or will you try to accomplish everything and claim the coveted title of Stardew Hero?’
This widely popular farming sim by ConcernedApe needs no introduction. It has a unique world and story with each character having a deeply investing and emotional arc. Stardew Valley manages to combine a dating sim, farming sim and an RPG all into one immensely satisfying package. Playing by yourself, or among friends, there is no doubt there will be at least one area of the game you’ll want to spend hours digging into. If you have ever thought about quitting your day job and moving to a farm in a small village, this game couldn’t be more made for you.
‘LIMBO, a black and white puzzle-platforming adventure, puts players in the role of a young boy traveling through an eerie and treacherous world in an attempt to discover the fate of his sister.’
A modern(-ish) classic from ‘Inside’ developer Playdead, Limbo follows a young boy through a treacherous land. This puzzle-platformer is the textbook definition of less being more. Using simple visuals Limbo is perfectly crafted from its head to its feet. Very few games are as original, atmospheric, and consistently brilliant. It may be over too quickly, but you will be hooked for every second. If you’ve not played Limbo yet, be sure to pick it up on gamepass, it’ll be an afternoon you won’t forget.
‘Hades is a god-like rogue-like dungeon crawler that combines the best aspects of Supergiant’s critically acclaimed titles, including the fast-paced action of Bastion, the rich atmosphere and depth of Transistor, and the character-driven storytelling of Pyre.’
Hades is the new kid on the block. An immediate hit, this game puts you in the shin-armoured boots of Zagreus, prince of the underworld. Using tools from the gods, he attempts to escape from the Underworld to reach Mount Olympus. This randomly generated hack-and-slash from the developer of Pyre, Transistor and Bastion builds on their previous games to a smooth, gripping and engaging gameplay experience with interesting and engaging characters; and it’s easily one of the best games to have released in 2020.
8. Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
‘An independent game from Ninja Theory; Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice takes you on a journey into savage viking heartland with Senua, a Celtic warrior struggling with trauma & psychosis.’
This game might be too much for some people. Exploring and personifying various real-life mental health issues in its dark fantasy norse setting, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice Follows the titular character as she attempts to retrieve her fallen loved one from Helheim. On the way she must face her past, and her own inner demons. Featuring perspective puzzles and a simple-yet-satisfying combat system, the real star here is the story and visuals, bolstered by fantastic performances, particularly from the lead actress.
9. Superhot: Mind, Control, Delete
‘ONE OF US. ONE OF US. Still outnumbered, still outgunned. Enemies swirl around you in a storm of slow motion violence. Battle after battle, each fallen foe pushes you closer to the secrets hiding in the game and each secret gives you more powers to fight the System’s unending opposition.’
Originally intended as a free DLC, Superhot MCD is bigger, better and SUPER… (wait for it)… HOT. The original game was a smash hit but the sequel has largely flown under the radar for a lot of people, which is a shame because this is easily a huge improvement on the original, and easily one of the best games you can play on Gamepass.
And if you’re new to the SUPERHOT franchise, it’s a game where you shoot red guys, and it’s one of the most innovative shooters I’ve played in years. Give it a go.
‘Welcome to UNDERTALE. In this RPG, you control a human who falls underground into the world of monsters. Now you must find your way out… or stay trapped forever.’
Undertale is a game that precedes itself. Easily standing tall as one of the most popular, and influential, indie games of the 2010s. This earthbound inspired and (mostly) one-man-band game from Toby Fox features a fun and interesting combat system, compelling and funny writing and a lot to think about. This game captured the hearts and minds of indie game fans the world over, and now it’s open to its widest audience ever on gamepass.