A new year brings with it new games, which of course also means more games coming to Microsoft‘s subscription service Xbox Game Pass. The first half of the month features a huge 2021 release hitting EA Play, another great crop of varied indie titles, and the first of several Day One releases heading straight into Game Preview as well. After hitting its stride in 2021, Xbox Game Pass January 2022 looks to continue the trend of giving gamers plenty of quality titles to play.
Olija, The Anacrusis, Mass Effect Legendary Edition Coming to Xbox Game Pass January 2022
Goroga (Console, Cloud, PC): A literal moving block indie game from Jason Roberts and Annapurna Interactive. Pieces of art are used to combine and complete moving scenes. Ranging from buildings to simple things like a bowl of fruit it all blends together beautifully. I own this on Switch and it was a short and enjoyable way to spend an hour or two solving puzzles.
The Pedestrian (Console, Cloud, PC): A very unique 2.5 D puzzle platformer that sees you literally playing as the icon of The Pedestrian street signs. Starting with simple connecting fare and then venturing out further into more complex configurations as you progress. You help guide The Pedestrian through various locations by completing each piece of a given puzzle. Released at the end of January 2021 for PS4 and PS5, The Pedestrian makes its debut for Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S systems today.
Olija (Console, Cloud, PC) Lastly, one of the most underrated indie games of 2021 Olija can be played immediately. This Devolver Digital published title from Thomas Olsson and Skeleton Crew Studio is a mixture of Action Platformer with light puzzle elements and uses an 8-bit graphical artstyle. You play as Faraday who is shipwrecked while trying to locate food for his people and now must complete his quest by making it through this treacherous land. The game originally released for consoles and PC on January 28, 2021
Available Starting January 6
Mass Effect: Legendary Edition (Console, PC) Coming as part of EA Play, this is all three Mass Effect games remastered for 4K Ultra HD, with all the DLC and a bunch of extras. This was no doubt one of the most anticipated titles of 2021 and now anyone that hasn’t tried out Mass Effect in the past, (like me), can certainly do so. The biggest changes come mostly to the first Mass Effect game, but the other two do see some slight improvements and changes too.
Embr (Console, Cloud, PC) Originally releasing in September 2021, Join up with some friends on any device to put out fires and rescue people from the same burning buildings, all while being judged on how efficiently you do the job. Are you going to be squeaky clean or disregard the safety of residents to become looting maniacs? You decide.
Outer Wilds (Console, Cloud, PC) Making it’s second appearance on Xbox Game Pass, the 2019 critical darling released some DLC in 2021 called Echoes of the Eye that brings the story of Outer Wilds to a conclusion. So, if you never got the chance to try out this wonderfully written Time Loop space game the first go around, I urge you to take the opportunity to do so. This was undoubtedly one of my favorite games of 2019 and hopefully, its reappearance on the service will encourage any doubters to see why this is such a beloved indie title.
The first big new game of 2022 drops Day One on Xbox Game Pass with The Anacrusis. After getting some major screentime at the Extended Xbox Games Showcase last year, the hype has certainly grown around this game. And of course, when it’s a four-player co-op shooter the multiplayer gamers certainly perk their ears up for a game like this. Stranded somewhere on a spaceship in the outer reaches of the sky, you have no choice but to blast your way through hordes of aliens. Whether you are looking to earn some perks, or just want to spend a few hours with some pals it looks like this Sci-Fi adventure will provide plenty of both.
The sequel to one of the most beloved Roguelikes in existence, Spelunky 2 continues on what made the first game such a hit with its procedurally generated levels and freedom of exploration, all the while also maintaining its difficult challenges. And although Spelunky 2 will certainly test even the most patient gamers mental endurance, at least you can play the game with some friends to share the pain with you.
What’s Leaving Xbox Game Pass
As is customary, with every addition there are also games that unfortunately must make their exit. On January 15, the following games will be leaving the service.
Kingdom Hearts III (Console Desperados III (Console, Cloud, PC) Ghost of a Tale (PC) Mount & Blade: Warband (Console, Cloud, PC) YiiK: A Postmodern RPG (PC) Pandemic (Console & PC)
Sadly, we are still in the midst of this actual COVID-19 pandemic, but at least now we officially have what Xbox Game Pass is bringing to the table for the first half of the month. Stay tuned to The Outerhaven for more of everything you love in gaming and entertainment.