This is not sponsored content. Microsoft haven’t given me any money, hardware or software to write this (if I had there would be a chunky disclaimer at the start and end)
I know how daunting a huge library of video games can be. You look at the huge wealth of choice and think, “where do I start?” Well, don’t worry yourself about it. I’ve been using my Xbox One X and PC with Game Pass for almost a year now and I have got the perfect list for you. This page is based on the games launching with the service on the 15th September 2020. Keep in mind if you’re coming to this page after the first few months there maybe some new ones and some may have left. The service does shift titles in and out similar to Netflix so don’t be surprised if some (like Red Dead Redemption 2) don’t stay on the service long before leaving again.
How do I know they’re worth playing on a mobile without actually playing them on a mobile? I used an incredibly accurate scientific approach and have attempted playing most of the Game Pass games from a far enough distance from the TV where it would be the same size as using a mobile propped up next to me. That and I’ve used the PS4’s remote play feature on my mobile a fair bit and have a good idea of what scales well and what doesn’t. That’s enough explanation, it’s time to dig out a Xbox One controller and let’s get gaming!
Descenders – A perfect game for a quick go when on the go. Essentially an exciting endurance test with procedurally generated short stages that give the game a rouge-like fashion. Moments of tight knuckle action and a killer soundtrack. Descenders feels like Steep but on a BMX and with greater highs and crash-outs. Easy to slip into a quick game and descend down into its gameplay.
Absolver – A Dark Soul style exploring game but with a melee action focus that lends itself nicely to quick bursts of energy. The bold art style makes it enjoyable to see and play on a small screen. You can easily sink a long time in as well with plenty to unlock and discover. You can absolve yourself of doubt for trying the game before purchasing it outright.
The First Person
ClusterTruck – Mobile games can be fantastic when they provide quick bursts of action. The best titles tend to be ideal for a slow and boring commute. ClusterTruck is both fast paced and compact with tight controls and levels. Perfect for when you’re not going anywhere fast but you wish you were. Even if you keep failing on a challenging level, try to keep on trucking.
Journey to the Savage Planet – An absolute gem that a lot of people missed first time around. It’s a colourful exploration game with a fantastic sense of humour. You can re-watch any of the in-game videos in full screen normally so watching them on your mobile you can pretend your scratching a living in space. You can journey to the savage planet and still take a break from the current one you inhabit.
Hotshot Racing – The vest Vitua racing title that never was. Hotshot Racing absolutely nails the speed and sensation of early arcade racing games and has a ton of unlockables to work your way through. The rubber banding is a little frustrating but the boosts and drifting makes victory all the sweeter. You too can be a hot shot racer.
Forza Horizon 4 – There’s a reason Microsoft have largely showcased the Project XCloud (what this service used to be called) with Forza Horizon 4. It’s the exclusive feather in the Xbox One cap (although technically it’s on PC as well) Blasting around the bends and villages that surround Edinburgh is fantastic and this will definitely test your connection the most. Just be sure to keep an eye on the horizon before you walk into a post.
Moving Out – The chunky art style and super fun gameplay lends itself nicely to a mobile screen. It’s easy enough to see what you need to do and although there is some text to read, most of the games enjoyment comes the gameplay and simple actions. Successfully lobbing a sofa the right way is just brilliant. Besides if you don’t enjoy the game you can always move on up or move on out.
Human Fall Flat – There is already a mobile port of this but if you don’t want to have to pay for that you can always enjoy Human Fall Flat through Game Pass. The controls are still as wobbly now as they always were but the sense of satisfaction that comes from navigating the areas is brilliant. Just don’t throw your controller or fall over in frustration or you’ll need to buy a new mobile as well.
HyperDot – Words don’t convey how good HyperDot is. You really just need to play it for yourself to understand. People who’ve played Super Hexagon will understand what I mean. An absolutely fantastic game where each tiny level is a bubble of puzzling choices where your actions matter. A pop of sheer joy and elation when you beat each level and you’ll be hyper afterwards!
Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid – You don’t need to have any prior understanding of Power Rangers lore to enjoy this flashy and bonkers 2D fighter. It may have launched without a lot of features (similar to Street Fighter 5) but just like that title everything was added after launch and now it’s feature rich. A bonkers story mode, stages with a lot of pop and a lot more polish overall. It’s mobile morphin’ time.
Streets of Rage 4 – This one is so obvious that I almost didn’t include it. What better way to enjoy a small screen and quick gaming moments than the best brawler in years. I’m not a super fan of the series and don’t typically play a lot of games in the genre but it’s absolutely stellar. An amazing soundtrack and incredibly fun gameplay loop. Why wouldn’t you want to clear a stage or two during lunch? It’s better than walking the streets in a rage.
Battletoads – It seems like a lot of the fanfare fizzled out for Battletoads after its launch and I’m not sure why. The new title feels like a modern take on what was an incredibly ‘nes hard’ title back in the day. Modern allowances to make the original gameplay a lot more enjoyable and the bold cartoon art style lends itself nicely to scaling. The action is frantic feeling and perfect for short battles with the toad crew.
Touhou Luna Nights – I’m not sure if everyone will be quite as surprised to enjoy this as I was. Most Touhou titles are enjoyable enough but the quality of Luna Nights is incredible. The controls are easy to pick up and hard to master in the best way. If you enjoy JoJo references, anime tropes and fantastic 2D metroidvania gameplay then this is for you. Just don’t play too late into the night.
Neon Abyss – A superb side-scrolling shooting roguelike that will have you protecting eggs, shooting drug monsters and jumping through a neon punk abyss. Each procedural level is broken into floors and this gives way to brilliant bursts of action. There’s lots to like here to enjoy and although you could replay Dead Cells again (it’s still as amazing as you remember) Neon Abyss is a welcome change to something new, even if it’s styled after the abyss of old.
Spiritfarer – This is such a strange game to me. I can appreciate everything about it and my god everything about it is simply stunning. There’s nothing wrong with it but it’s just not for me. My partner completely clicked it with it from launch and has 100%ed every possible quest and upgrade before finally finishing the last chapter. The collecting and quest thread nature lend itself to being a great game to pick up and play and you’ll be ferrying spirits in no time.
Untitled Goose Game – I mean, come on. Why wouldn’t you want to play this again? The coop patch will be going live on the 23rd September and there are still the perfect timed runs to get down to a tea. Honking away on your phone and disturbing everyone around you as you ruin the villagers quiet afternoon. Untitled perfection.
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I don’t run a Patreon because all the work I create ends up on the site in one way or another and I fund the site myself so any money does directly go to the site to fund the web hosting and such, anything left over will go on games and coffee!