It’s official: Xbox Game Pass now supports streaming. If you’re a subscriber to Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass Ultimate service – which bundles in Game Pass and an Xbox Live Gold membership, making it ideal for anyone with an Xbox console – you can now access Microsoft’s streaming services on Android devices. You’ll need Android version 6 or greater and a device that supports Bluetooth 4.0, but once those hardware and software hurdles are out of the way, there’s nothing standing between you and streaming games to your smartphone or tablet. Here are our 10 favourite games on Xbox Game Pass that support this streaming feature, in no particular order. Quick disclaimer: some of these games may no longer be available when you subscribe, as the lineup changes frequently. Onward!
Who’d have thought that when The Coalition declared its intention to create an XCOM-style game in the Gears of War universe, it would work so well? The slower-paced and more methodical style of strategic gameplay serves this dark, gritty universe well, but there are a few pace-improving features in there to help combat move along a little quicker. The narrative isn’t particularly attention-grabbing, but there’s so much tactical fun to be had here that it hardly matters.
Batman: Arkham Knight
Despite getting somewhat short shrift from the critics on release, the Arkham Knight PC port is now faring much, much better than it did at launch. If your system is beefy enough, you can enjoy the biggest and most maximalist of Batman’s adventures at a silky-smooth framerate. Batmobile sections notwithstanding, Arkham Knight arguably represents the pinnacle of what the Arkham series is capable of doing. Simply put, it’s a great open-world superhero experience.
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night
All too often, Kickstarter nostalgia projects fall flat on their faces and fail to deliver on the promise of what they could have been. Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, Koji Igarashi’s love letter to the Castlevania games he helped to birth, couldn’t be further from that stereotype. It’s a sprawling, accomplished Metroidvania with plenty of secrets to find, enemies to defeat, and powers to accumulate. It’s even got some nice little Castlevania nods if you look closely enough.
The survival genre isn’t for everyone. It can feel weighed down by constant micromanagement, nagging interface elements repeatedly reminding you that you need to eat and drink. Subnautica does do that, but it takes a far more narrative-centred approach to its world; unlike many in its genre, Subnautica doesn’t feature procedural generation, so there’s a hand-crafted world under its violent oceans for you to discover and exploit for resources.
Nier: Automata is a profoundly strange game. It marries the high-octane combat of Platinum – best known for Bayonetta – with the decidedly odd aesthetic and design approach of Japanese auteur Yoko Taro. Their collaboration results in a restless, genre-hopping flawed diamond that refuses to compromise in order to match what you think of as a conventional gaming experience. Frustrating, funny, and frequently amazing, Nier: Automata should be on your list if you’re in any way interested in quirk.
Do you love the science fiction of the 1960s and 70s, before Star Wars dominated the landscape? Are you often to be found quoting from – and extolling the virtues of – movies like Duncan Jones’ Moon and Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival? If so, Observation is the game for you. It’s a lo-fi, camera-driven odyssey through a dark, unsettling tale about AI and humanity. Gameplay-wise, it’s a touch slow-paced, but if you can handle periods of languor, Observation will thrill.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
At this stage, recommending The Witcher 3 is a little like recommending the experience of breathing or eating food. Everyone’s surely played it by now, right? Well, there must still be some who haven’t, so if that’s you, now is the perfect time to check out CD Projekt Red’s fantasy masterpiece. Geralt of Rivia’s world is better-realised and better-written here than it ever has been, and the gameplay’s no slouch, either. You’ll get lost in the nuanced fantasy politics The Witcher 3 offers.
Dragon Age: Inquisition
This absolutely isn’t the game for anyone who loves the CRPG-heavy tactical gameplay of Dragon Age: Origins. If you’re here for well-developed characters and a compelling fantasy world, however, Inquisition more than delivers. After the lacklustre showing of Dragon Age 2, Inquisition returns to what BioWare does best: a set of three-dimensional companions, a nice uncomplicated evil to thwart, and a huge world full of distractions and sidequests to explore. You get your own castle, too!
Resident Evil VII: Biohazard
“The Resident Evil series won’t work from a first-person perspective,” cried the naysayers. How wrong they were. Biohazard is a superlative reboot that successfully grasps what makes Resident Evil special – well-designed monsters, a claustrophobic setting, and a labyrinthine plot full of conspiracies – and streamlines the formula to cut out the fat that had been accumulating since the series’ inception. It even finds time for those silly key-hunting puzzles, too.
Now for something completely different. You won’t find traditional gaming staples like combat or levelling up in Spiritfarer. Instead, Thunder Lotus’ game offers a deeply meditative, peaceful experience in which you get to know a series of characters before shepherding them on to the afterlife. Along the way, you’ll upgrade your ferry – which used to belong to the boatman Charon – and pet your adorable cat Daffodil plenty of times. In the hectic, chaotic year that is 2020, Spiritfarer is the balm we all need.