Xbox Game Pass is dominating the video game subscription service market. Compared to other services like PlayStation Now, the Microsoft-operated online catalog is packed with a litany of titles for a small monthly price. From triple-A blockbusters to successful indie smash hits, Xbox Game Pass continues to release content to keep gamers entertained with the recent and the classic.
For this list, I compiled 10 titles from Game Pass that offer more casual gameplay as opposed to substantial grinding adventures that may require more attention to long-term objectives. With the next generation of Xbox consoles hitting shelves next month, now is the perfect time to climb aboard the hype train. In other words, here are 10 easy to learn games that are also insanely fun.
World War Z
Kicking off this list is the chaotic zombie shooter that is based on Max Brooks’ award-winning book of the same name. This Left 4 Dead-like apocalyptic shooter encourages both teamwork and carnage, for the undead can come at you quicker than a gust of wind. But with its quick-to-learn mechanics, this one can easily be a daily game for you to mess around with.
You can choose from six classes that provide different tools and abilities that can useful during battle. They’re quick to level up with, and you’ll eventually be equipped with more to punch with as opposed to just guns and your fists. There is also a multiplayer mode if just killing zombies is getting tedious for you, but the casual quality comes out of the cooperative experience – with or without friends. Random queues with unknown players have been mostly satisfactory, with many of them adhering to the objective and having a grand ole time killing zombies.
And no, there’s no Brad Pitt.
Probably the smallest game on the list, HyperDot is one experience that any gamer should not miss. It is a rather simplistic puzzler with one goal in mind: dodge everything. Playing as a swift but tiny dot, your job is to evade almost everything until the timer runs out (or with similar tasks that require completion before proceeding onward to the next level).
The music is at a top-tier level, by the way. It is such a blast to listen to and very calming, all at the same time. It’s almost designed to calm yourself down before you throw your controller at the screen because you died 200 times (which is also an achievement). You can create levels, too, with an editor that allows you to get crazy with enemy waves and patterns. You can also try to out-smart your mates in multiplayer to really get the intensity evolving when more than one of you are on the screen, dodging to outlast one another.
Released back in 2001 as a launch title for the original Xbox, Fuzion Frenzy was one of the essential party games that could’ve caused some friendships to fall through. Up to four players can locally link up to face-off against each other, with over 40 mini-games to choose from. You can play against the computer as well if social distancing is still an everyday practice for you. The good times are born when you finally defeat your buddy in Mystery Beat or Blast Man Standing though.
It may look old, but the fun factor certainly isn’t. Plus, these older graphics are now ancient history in tech time, so it’s always good to go a little retro, especially with higher framerates and advanced hardware already commonplace in the gaming industry.
Dead By Daylight
As more characters enter the dark chambers of Dead By Daylight, the popularity will continue to grow. Thankfully, the Special Edition of the game comes with Game Pass to give you a head start into the anxious gameplay developed by Behaviour Interactive.
The object of the game is simple: repair generators to instigate a desperate escape from a vicious killer who sacrifices unworthy humans to the Entity. It’s four players against another one as the killer, all while playing a game of cat-and-mouse amid terror and strange locations. Dead by Daylight is also well-known for adding licensed franchises into the game to give a wide variety of individuals to choose from. Pyramid Head can chase down Ash Williams while Nancy Wheeler and Steve Harrington bring down wood pallets and repair generators to get the hell out of the living nightmare. Leatherface can scare the bugs out of someone’s weary soul with his chainsaw, or the long screaming face of Ghostface can shank someone until they are ready for the sacrificial ritual by placing them on a meat hook.
The weirdest fantasies and clashes of horror icons can be explored in this asymmetric survival game, and it’s definitely worth a try if you’re looking for something to jump right into without too much investment.
Bank heists? Check. Kick-ass music? Check. John Wick? Uh, super check.
If you’re familiar with FPS games, then Payday 2 should be a no-brainer for you. With up to three additional teammates, you incite mayhem by breaking into guarded banks to retrieve loads of cash before your getaway ride comes to the rescue. In the meantime, you can break into safes, endanger hostages, and go off against waves of cops like Robert De Niro and his crew in Heat.
By browsing the crime net where available heists pop up on the radar, you can select what kind of job you’d like to tackle – depending on the difficulty and the amount of money that possibly be stolen. You can gear up your bank robber with customizable load-outs as well when you’re reading through the roster of characters Payday 2 has to offer. With high-octane music hyping you up in the background, you’ll feel invincible – just like Keanu Reeves when he’s got guns. Lots of guns.
Void Bastards was the first game I downloaded from Game Pass, actually. Obviously, it was because of the name, but then I realized that I was packing hours into this space adventure through dark humor and floating blue guys.
A first-person roguelike title from Blue Manchu, Void Bastards follows the misadventures of expendable prisoners who are sent to complete tasks throughout the galaxy. By looting ships, you can collect supplies to upgrade your gear and ensure your safety and security to the next available spacecraft. You must journey onward until you reach the next big objective, but dying is a permanent possibility that some might not want. If you die, then you’ll just be replaced by another prisoner who probably has a blinding effect or is built with special skills. The story isn’t too intriguing to follow along with, but you’ll get a kick out the comedic dialogue and frightening encounters with strange beings from space the more you understand the few and complex mechanics in Void Bastards.
Its comic book-style of animation is great to look at, as well. It’s a nice casual shooter that feels both retro and new, and it’s not difficult to get used to after your first ship. The roguelike design calls for experimentation, for better or worse. But either way, you’ll have a blast with Void Bastards if you’re looking for something relatively fresh to play.
I was honestly surprised to see Clustertruck on Game Pass since before I believed it was just for the PC. Despite that, I was pleased to see the bedlam of horns and destruction on my screen when its small installation was complete. Clustertruck was one of those games that YouTubers would play in the background of their commentary videos, and I would always get lost in the gameplay as opposed to the discussion they were trying to have. Least to say, I’m happy to see that it’s a part of Xbox Game Pass.
Clustertruck is very easy to play, but the omnipresent mayhem of trucks colliding into one another creates adrenaline not many games can replicate. You play as a truck jumper who tries to reach the finish line throughout a variety of stages with or without the help of the suicidal trucks. Add in some debris and weather effects, and you got yourself one disastrous adventure that is sure to bring joy to you and those who may be watching alongside you. With only a few controls to master, it’s only up to your platforming skills to help you get to the finish line.
Descenders is a bundle of high-flying fun that I was not expecting. For someone who isn’t too fond of sports simulation games, this one is quite the exception. Taking several cues from skateboarding video games, Descenders allows the player to max out their action cycling skills through different game modes. Whether you’re on your own or cycling with friends, the trials in Descenders are both rewarding and challenging. Throughout the extreme procedural experience, you’ll often find yourself going down a steep hill and suddenly launching yourself up in the air. You can perform one trick after the other to get that awesome combo, but it’s very easy to turn a look thumb that will have your cyclist crashing and burning (in an often hilarious way, too).
You can build your own track or you can choose to ride with other players in Descenders. There’s always music playing to keep the vibes a chill level, creating a casual atmosphere that goes very nicely with this list. Descenders is easy to pick up, and I highly recommend giving it a try from Xbox Game Pass.
Halo: The Master Chief Collection
An imperative Xbox addition to any gamer’s library, Halo: The Master Chief Collection is one humongous package that lined up with games and modes that make it almost impossible to forget. From the original Halo: Combat Evolved to Halo 4, the Collection allows players to pick and play from any of the titles (excluding Halo 5) for solo or multiplayer gameplay. You can play against others in Slayer; team-up in Firefight to battle against waves of enemies; or become the Master Chief in the campaign with a friend. Especially with multiplayer, you can quickly jump into a match or two, call it a day, and still feel satisfied – even if you’re the victim of a triple kill.
The entire story of Halo can be experienced over and over again, which makes the Collection almost feeling like an essential installation to Xbox Game Pass. Halo changed the game for first-person shooters, and its aesthetic is universally recognizable by any passing eye.
To say that Minecraft is overrated is…well, overrated. Over the years, the guys over at Mojang have been releasing new content to expand upon the pixelated world of Minecraft. With the staggering updates from the Nether Update to the upcoming Caves & Cliffs expansion, the game isn’t slowing down, and that’s a fantastic thing to rejoice about. This makes it a wonderful addition to Xbox Game Pass.
Minecraft is the epitome of video game creativity, exploration, and adventure, all mixed and morphed into one incredible package that offers endless possibilities of gameplay. The casual players can simply slay monsters and construct small homes to pass the time; all the rest may be spelunking to uncover the secrets underneath the ground.
It’s even better with friends who enjoy building structures – much like the nostalgic days of messing around with LEGOs to invent some bizarre design only us kids knew how to do best. Minecraft presents that similar magic but with role-playing elements and action to factor in as well (if you aren’t playing Creative). Whether you’re just putting together your dream mansion or climbing to the sky by stacking cubes of dirt on top of each other, only your imagination is your limitation in Minecraft.
Any games on this list that you enjoy? Any that you plan to play? Let me know in the comments below.