Microsoft’s game subscription includes all the obvious Xbox hits, from Halo to Minecraft – but, if you’ve exhausted those, here are some deeper cuts from its library
A 1930s mystery set on a sun-saturated yet eerie island full of mysteries and puzzles. This is a relatively short game that pulls you effortlessly through its story, about a curse-afflicted woman who follows her explorer husband on an expedition from which nobody has returned. It’s slower-paced, beautiful to look at and unexpectedly introspective. Read a full review.
Guide an endearing pink-haired woman up a forbidding mountain and through an encroaching mental health crisis in this acclaimed indie platformer. It’s tough as nails but makes you feel a tremendous sense of accomplishment when you get through it, a game-design achievement that fits very nicely with the game’s themes of getting to know yourself and overcoming self-doubt. No one makes big, ambitious genre adventures like Remedy Entertainment, creator of Max Payne and Alan Wake and effectively the Christopher Nolan of video games. Control is the team’s latest, a quasi-supernatural thriller in which government agents battle an astral entity know as The Hiss. The storytelling, combat mechanics and visual imagination are as strong as ever. Read a full review.
It’s been around for almost five years, but this co-operative online horror game is still a blast with a bunch of friends. Four participants are the survivors trapped in a series of nightmarish domains, working together to open the exit doors and escape, while a fifth player takes on the role of a sadistic murderer hunting them down. Tense, thrilling and fun. Read a full review. If Bafta award winner Hades has ignited your interest in the roguelike genre, it’s definitely worth getting stuck into Dead Cells, a 2D scrolling hack-’em-up set in an endlessly regenerating castle. Excellent controls, searing visuals and a difficulty level that’ll test you to the limits and quite possibly beyond. Read a full review.
Recent Resident Evil games have revived interest in video game horror, so now is the time to discover this gruesomely effective chiller from Shinji Mikami, the creator of Resident Evil 1 and 4. Its a classic third-person jump-scare fest, following Sergeant Sebastian Castellanos as he sets out to investigate a mass murder at the Beacon mental hospital, but then descends into a monster-filled Freudian hellscape. Read a full review.