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Monday, February 26, 2024

Best of Game Pass: February 2023

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Let's talk Game Pass. There's news about Game Pass cannibalizing sales (though is anyone surprised by that?), but I'm more interested in using this space to share some neat games you can play on Game Pass now that may go overlooked. With a whopping 379 console games and 448 on PC as of this writing, there's a lot to check out.

I try my best to play games outside of my comfort zone and, generally, grab ones that just look cool. Unfortunately, some of my favorite gems on Game Pass have been removed, but with those large aforementioned numbers, there's no shortage of games to check out. The following games are all on Game Pass and are scheduled to stay through at least the month of February.

A Quick Mental Scrub

With as heavy as things are these days, sometimes you just need a quick run of something that doesn't involve dropping into a massive (or small) map with other humans and something that won't threaten to send you into a spiraling rage. The games below are easy to pop on and dip out of, or, they've got some sort of relaxing element to them.

Totally Accurate Battle Simulator (Xbox, PC)

Starting with the most chaotic and joyous option, Totally Accurate Battle Simulator pits your selected group of fighters against another preset challenge. Once you've got your fighting group ready to go you sit back and watch the battle playout, featuring, as the official description puts it, "wobbliest physics system ever created." The ragdolls are fantastic, the eyes are goofy, and the victors of each battle aren't always the ones you'd expect! Whether you're interested in solving battle puzzles using your limited resources to select the right kind of fighters or playing around with weird matchups, these quick rounds are almost always a delight. Even better, there's local and online co-op and multiplayer!

My Time at Portia (Xbox, PC)

If you're still on the hunt for the right farming simulator, give My Time at Portia a try. I reviewed this back when it was released in 2019 and found it to be one of the most pleasant post-apocalyptic worlds I've explored. Combining farming, relationship building, combat, mining, building, and all sorts of activities in one, My Time at Portia is one of the few persistent simulation games I miss and plan on going back to.

DJMax Respect V (Xbox, PC)

DJMax Respect V isn't the best rhythm game I've ever played but it's certainly a fun one in quick bursts. If you're a fan of the Hatsune Miku games, Guitar Hero, or other input-based rhythm game, DJMax Respect V is quick to get into with plenty of fun music. There are some more challenging inputs to figure out on controller, but ultimately it's a quick download and a fun distraction if you're looking to rest your thoughts.

A Longer Journey

Tinykin (Xbox, PC)

I mentioned this one on Podcast Unlocked previously, but in case you missed it, Tinykin is a pleasant trip down memory lane for those of us who grew up with adventure platforming games that gave us a space littered with an abundance of trinkets to collect while working to reach the next area of our journey. Tinykin features a small extraterrestrial man exploring a bug-infested home in search of a way to get back to his home planet. With the help of creatures called Tinykin, you'll platform, solve environmental puzzles, and investigate secrets. Every time I hop in to explore a new area I come away happy. Tinykin taps into that kid-like wonder of exploring something bigger than yourself and having fun while doing it.

Prey (Xbox, PC)

For folks looking for something more intense, you've gotta check out Prey. No, this game is not new nor is it all that unknown (I'd like to assume), but come on y'all if you haven't played it, this is your reminder that it's on Game Pass and it rules. In Arkane's Prey, you're left alone on a ship with a mysterious lifeform out to get you. And, unfortunately for you, it could be literally anywhere and mimicking anything. This first-person shooter is a tense, neat journey with an excellent DLC.

Up Next

Below are a few titles I'm interested in checking out soon. You can also check out my backlog on my Playlist page.

  • Genesis Noir (Xbox, PC) – I've had this one on my list for a long time. It's a stylish puzzle game and that's really all I needed to see to be interested.
  • Soccer Story (Xbox, PC) – Did you ever play Backyard Soccer or the other Backyard sports kids games? This vaguely reminded me of those and I'm interested to see how its story about a magical soccer ball in a world where soccer is forbidden plays out.
  • Signalis (Xbox, PC) – Ever since IGN's Senior Features Editor Matt Kim described this survivor horror game to me I've wanted to play it. I'm not usually great with horror, but the – perspective makes it seem like something I could handle and enjoy.
  • Opus: Echo of Starsong – Full Bloom Edition (Xbox, PC) – This looks like a rather dreamy adventure and I like that it's described to put its story front and center. I had a brief stint of digging deep into visual novels and I'm curious how it blends those elements with its puzzles and resource management.

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate Catalog

This is the complete list of all Xbox Game Pass games. Log in to copy games, make your own rankings, or mark what games you're playing or have completed.See All

Got a Game Pass recommendation you think has gone unnoticed? Don't keep it to yourself! Share it in the comments below. You can check out other columns from the rest of the Podcast Unlocked crew on our show's column page.


Miranda Sanchez is the executive editor of guides at IGN and a member of Podcast Unlocked. She's a big fan of stationery and fountain pens. You can find her on Twitter and Twitch.

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