It’s time for another Xbox Game Pass refresh, which is seeing some interesting games enter the platform and some must-plays leave. You can check out the full list of games heading to Game Pass and the ones falling off on Xbox’s Game Pass website, but I thought I might call out some of them here.
Civilization VI is coming to game pass on March 16th. I know Civ VI has been out on consoles since 2019, but I am relatively new to and fascinated by the idea of PC strategy games on console. I checked out my beloved Age of Empires II on console earlier this year and found the experience a fairly seamless transition between PC and console. I’m extremely intrigued to check out Civilization VI on Xbox to see what it does differently in its approach to console optimization.
Side note: no, I do not have the same enthusiasm for Crusader Kings III. That game can smell fear.
A preview of Valheim will hit Game Pass on March 14th. I missed the overwhelming hype for this game because of its PC exclusivity. Now with its console debut around the corner, I’m interested to see what all the Norse-themed fuss is all about. The game blew up in 2021, and even though it’s not talked about like it’s the new hotness anymore, I still know people who play regularly and enthusiastically.
On the other side of the Game Pass equation, some phenomenal games are leaving the platform on March 15th, and you should check them out before they’re gone.
If you somehow missed out on the last seven (seven??) years of gaming culture, then allow me to impress upon you that you need to play Undertale. It’s a phenomenally written and designed game full of emotionally gutting moments that butt up against nonsensical, laugh-out-loud humor. Gameplay and story weave together seamlessly, reinforcing each other and building to an explosive climax that’s molded by your own decisions. Undertale is the model of the indie game success story of the last 10 years. Play it, if not for your own enrichment, then at least so you can understand what all the young people are talking about when they say “Tumblr Sexyman.”
Kentucky Route Zero
I need to practice what I preach on this one because despite there being a big mental note pinned in my head to play this game, I still haven’t. My colleagues at The Verge and my peers elsewhere have raved about this game, but I still ignored it to my absolute shame. Maybe give it a chance and tell me about it so I can finally get off my butt and give it a go. But, if you do manage to miss out before it leaves the platform on March 15th, it’s on Netflix.
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy
Square Enix didn’t think Guardians of the Galaxy was a success, but I disagree. It’s a criminally slept-on game that I think combines the best of Marvel storytelling with a perfectly decent action RPG. Killer soundtrack, too.