Xbox & PC Game Pass best kept secrets: 10 games you need to play

Xbox Game Pass logo
(Image credit: Windows Central)

Since launching back in 2017, Xbox Game Pass has provided gamers with an ever-changing catalog of games to sieve through and play at their disposal. These games have ranged from incredible AAA experiences to smaller indie titles that you perhaps wouldn’t have thought to pick up — had it not been for Game Pass.  

Unfortunately, due to the service having such a high volume of games, it can be easy for smaller titles to get overlooked and passed up on, and believe me, there are many Xbox Game Pass games available that deserve so much more attention.

With our list, you will be able to find and try out some of these hidden gems and potentially, find your next indie game of the year.

Xbox Game Pass hidden gems: Dreamscaper

Help the young Cassidy overcome her nightmares. (Image credit: Freedom! Games)

Dreamscaper is an action RPG roguelite that is developed by Afterburner Studios and published by Freedom Games. This surreal, endlessly playable experience sees players take the role of Cassidy, a young girl with a very dark mind, on a journey to save herself from her own subconscious.

A roguelite like you’ve never seen before, Dreamscaper sees players adventuring through Cassidy’s dreams; uncovering memories, upgrading various gear items and, ultimately, vanquishing the nightmares that haunt those dreams. Each dream you enter differs from the last, even differing in weapons and abilities. But it’s in Cassidy’s waking life that is the most unique part of this roguelite.

Players will live Cassidy’s waking life; forge friendships, visit various locations, empower her with hopes and memories that will apply permanent changes whilst in the dream state. This is a game where you never stop learning new things, and you never stop unlocking new things to experience.

If you’re a fan of roguelites, then you must give Dreamscaper a try. You won’t be disappointed.

Xbox Game Pass hidden gems: Escape Academy

Outsmart your teachers to become the world's greatest spy. (Image credit: iam8bit & Skybound Games)

Escape Academy is a puzzle game that is developed by Coin Crew Games and published by iam8bit and Skybound Games. Players will become a part of Escape Academy, a school designed to train young adults to become the next best spy.

Classes work a little differently here, though. Instead of taking tests in Maths, English and Science, your teachers will test in solving various puzzle rooms – or escape rooms. Now, if you have ever done an escape room in real life you will know exactly what to expect; hidden keys, coded passwords and more, except Escape Academy does it with a little more flair.

It’s incredibly fun, and you can enjoy it in its entirety in local and online co-op. What’s not to love? Oh, and playing it co-operatively is a unique experience too because it actually splits the screen so that each player can see what the other is looking at.

If you’re a lover of puzzle games, or just escape rooms in general then Escape Academy is not to be missed.

Xbox Game Pass hidden gems: Somerville

Embark on a perilous journey to reunite with your family before the aliens capture you. (Image credit: Jumpship)

Somerville is a narrative sci-fi adventure that is both developed and published by JUMPSHIP. This was their debut title, and boy, what a title it is. This intensely atmospheric British-set sci-fi game grips you from the very beginning.

Starting out as a family man feeding his loyal dog, an explosion rocks the entire countryside – including your home. Long story short; aliens are invading Earth, and our protagonist has discovered some very unearthly abilities. On a mission to reunite with his lost family, Somerville will tug at your heart strings.

The short 4-hour story can easily be completed in a single sitting, which is great for those of us that struggle to find time for the 20+ hours of story that often comes with games these days. Not to mention, there are multiple endings, so there’s replayabilty for sure.

Somerville is like if War of the Worlds made a video game, it’s totally worth your time.

Xbox Game Pass hidden gems: Townscaper

Kick back, relax and enjoy building humble little towns. (Image credit: Raw Fury)

Townscaper is a town-building experience that is developed by Oskar Stålberg and published by Raw Fury. With no real gameplay elements to offer, this one is the epitome of relaxation. No goals, no time limits to adhere to, and no annoying gameplay elements – just pure beauty.

Townscaper allows you to seamlessly build quaint island towns, curvy streets, canal networks and more with a simple click of a button. Choose what colours you want to select from the palette, place them down and watch as a beautiful town unfolds from before your very eyes.

The game has an underlying algorithm that will automatically transform everything you place into a fully fledged town with arches, stairways, and bridges. If you want a game that is zen that allows you create something truly beautiful and completely yours, check out Townscaper.

Xbox Game Pass hidden gems: FUGA Melodies of Steel

FUGA Melodies of Steel combines cute and cuddly with dark and harrowing.  (Image credit: CyberConnect2)

FUGA Melodies of Steel (both 1 and 2) are awesome tactical anime games from CyberConnect2. Set in a fuzzy and furry world beset by war, FUGA follows a troop of youngsters across battle-scarred plains in search of friends and family. Players pilot a large tank with mystical properties, and need to manage the behemoth across increasingly difficult battles in turn-based combat. 

Despite its cutesy art style, FUGA weaves a deeply harrowing tale that comes with some rather bleak gameplay mechanics that could spell life or death for your intrepid heroes. 

Xbox Game Pass hidden gems: Cassette Beasts

Use the power of retro cassette tapes to transform into cool monsters. (Image credit: Raw Fury)

Cassette Beasts is a retro-inspired open-world adventure game that is developed by Bytten Studio and published by Raw Fury. This Pokémon inspired game see players in the vibrant world of New Wirral, a remote island chocked full of strange creatures.

What’s unique about this one? Well, you remember those strange creatures we mentioned. The inhabitants of the island have discovered that they are able to transform into them during battle by using old cassette tapes. Record the monster to the tape, and press play to transform. That’s one way to do it!

Explore a beautiful pixelated open-world, solve various puzzles, find dungeons and fuse monsters together to create the ultimate form. Lovers of the Pocket Monster genre will not be disappointed.

Gotta tape them all, right?

Xbox Game Pass hidden gems: Golf With Your Friends

Bring your friends to take the craziest golf courses the world has ever seen. (Image credit: Team17)

Golf With Your Friends is a mini golf game developed by Blacklight Interactive and Team 17 and published by Team 17 also. This one really puts the crazy in crazy golf as you and up to 11 friends (or not) can take on a plethora of themed courses, from dinosaurs to pirates to a worms course!

Collect various powerups to throw your friends over the edge; turn their ball into a cube, freeze it or even trap their ball so they can’t move. With three game modes to choose from too, you can’t go wrong: classic mini golf, hoops, or hockey. All of which will provide many laughs.

To make it even better, you can customise your golf ball. Change its colour, give it a hat, a floater and even a fancy trail! Because who doesn’t want their golf ball to look like a penguin?

Xbox Game Pass hidden gems: Road 96

What strange adventures await you on this epic road trip? (Image credit: Ravenscourt Games)

Road 96 is a story-driven adventure that is developed by DigixArt Entertainment and published by Ravenscourt Games. Inspired by the likes of Tarantino, The Coen Brothers, and Bong Joon-ho, this is a fantastic title that offers players an incredibly immersive experience.

Set in the 90s, Road 96 is the story of a crazy, emotional, action-packed road trip… among other things. You will come to know several teenage characters as they attempt to flee the country due to its harsh dictatorship. The way this is played is in a unique way though, as each time you successfully cross the border (or fail) you will take control of a new character – each one advancing the story a little further each time.

Road 96 has a visually pleasing art style, an incredible-yet-emotional soundtrack and the freedom to drive across many different routes to give you a fresh experience each time you play. Go on, take the risk.

Xbox Game Pass hidden gems: Chained Echoes

Relive the golden age of 16-bit JRPGs with Chained Echoes. (Image credit: Deck13)

Chained Echoes is a JRPG game that is developed by Matthias Linda and published by Deck13 Spotlight. This one is for those of us that love a good story-driven, retro-inspired JRPG. This revolves around a group of heroes that are travelling the continent of Valandis to attempt to put an end to the war between the three kingdoms.

Players will travel through many diverse areas such as gorgeous plateaus to sunken cities – and believe you when we say its 16-bit SNES style graphics really do look the part. Turn-based combat, interesting characters and dragons await you.

If you want a game that will take you back to the good ol’ days, then Chained Echoes is your guy.

Xbox Game Pass hidden gems: Monster Train

Build the ultimate deck to destroy your enemies and claim glory. (Image credit: Good Shepherd Entertainment)

Monster Train is a deck building roguelike game that is developed by Shiny Shoe and published by Good Shepherd Entertainment. There are many deck building roguelikes out there, but only a select few come close to this one.

In a world where hell has frozen over, players will traverse up a series of train towers, defeating the numerous enemies that are trying to take them over. Use the cards in your deck to implement your own warriors onto the battlefield to fight back against the monsters that are swarming you.

As well as the single-player levels you can partake in, Monster Train also comes with a multiplayer mode in which eight players will battle to become the last one standing. With each player occupying the same resources and warriors, this is a test to see who can make the best decisions under severe pressure.

With over 250 different cards to craft the perfect combination for you, and various clan champions to lead your army across various locations, Monster Train is one of the best deck builders on offer.  

Which games have you been playing on Game Pass?

As you can see, there are a whole bunch of games available through Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass for Xbox and PC. What have you been using the service to play? Which of these games will you be trying out next? Is there a game you feel should have been on this list, but isn’t? Let us know!


Xbox Game Pass Ultimate

Do you wish to take Xbox gaming to the next level? Look no further than Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. This monthly subscription service will net you access to thousands of Xbox games to play, the ability to stream your games on mobile devices with Xbox Cloud Gaming, access to online multiplayer in games, and more.

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Chelsea Beardsmore

Chelly is a part-time writer. She loves all things gaming, building LEGO and spending an inappropriate amount of money on silly things she can’t afford. Some of her favourite games are Monster Hunter, Borderlands and Pokemon. When she’s not writing, she’s probably adding another game to her ever-growing backlog.