Yesterday, we were treated to another Xbox Indie Showcase, and regardless of how you feel about the presentation's setup, there's no arguing there were some intriguing games shown. In fact, Xbox has been delivering a stellar library of indie titles in the past few months, plenty of which have dropped day one into Xbox Game Pass. In a year where many titles are receiving delays and whatnot, it's proven to be a beacon for those gaming lulls where we've fallen into a bit of a slump, and in all honesty, has delivered some of my favourite games of the year.
It's hard to find one specific place to start, but beginning with last night, we were introduced to a pretty varied selection of titles coming to Xbox Game Pass. Evil Genius 2: World Domination looks to scratch that itch initiated by Two Point Hospital, Pupperazi is everything I could ever hope and dream for in a game, and finally I can pick up Stardew Valley to see what all the fuss is about. This isn't even counting the dozens of other titles we already know are coming to the service and my backlog of Xbox Game Pass titles which is ever-growing.
Sure, it's great to see AAA games such as Halo Infinite and Forza Horizon 5 join day one, but by the year's end, they most likely won't be the experiences I remember. Instead, it will be the much smaller games that I knew nothing about and that surprised me. A recent example was Last Stop - a narrative-driven adventure in a similar vein to Telltale Games' classic catalogue of adventures. Its TV series-style structure kept me hooked from beginning to end, with an array of twists and turns around every corner. Pre-release footage left me feeling very cold about the game, and if it wasn't for Xbox Game Pass, I never would have stumbled upon this little gem.
The inclusion of EA Play with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate even delivered the EA Original, Knockout City, a fantastic multiplayer game that has soaked up just under 48 total hours of my life, according to my Xbox stats. When the initial trailer dropped, the reaction was fairly negative, so its addition into Xbox Game Pass on day one was something I was feeling fairly lukewarm on. But low and behold, it proved to be a big hit and has gained a small loyal community of players since its launch. Who would have guessed?
Without Xbox Game Pass, I never would have dreamed of checking out some of these games, but months later some are in the running for being in my top ten games of the year. The other benefit of this is how it's encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone and try other indie titles, not included within Xbox Game Pass. For example, The Forgotten City intrigued me, so I took the plunge and tried it out. Without my confidence in indie titles I'd stumbled upon already this year, I most likely never would have given it a chance.
Just looking through the selection of games available today, it's absolutely insane the quality some of these titles possess. Cris Tales, Dodgeball Academia, Deep Rock Galactic, Hollow Knight, Ori and the Will of the Wisps - these are just a small handful of amazing titles that could easily provide hundreds of hours worth of content. When people say 2021 has no games, I only have to point them to the first page of Xbox Game Pass to find one or two incredible indie titles that have launched this year. Sometimes taking a risk on a new game pays off, but with Game Pass, you're eliminating any risk and reaping all the benefits.
2021 has been the year of indies, and Xbox has continuously proved just that.
Have you stumbled across any amazing indie titles in Xbox Game Pass? Drop us a comment and let us know.