Xbox Game Pass has truly shifted the landscape of gaming since its 2017 launch, serving as an essential tool for gamers to sample and explore a massive variety of titles from a plethora of genres at the price point of $9.99 to $14.99 per month depending the subscription tier. While Game Pass is chock full of Xbox’s most well-known AAA titles and exclusives, it may come as a surprise to some that many of the most critically acclaimed videogames available on Game Pass are not big-name exclusives, but rather indie games, developed by smaller teams with limited budgets that managed to create some of the most desirable experiences on Xbox consoles. This guide will highlight some of the most notable indie games immediately available for download by Xbox Game Pass subscribers, sorted from lowest to highest Metacritic scores.
On July 21, 2021, Death’s Door was released as a timed exclusive on Xbox consoles before its universal launch on PlayStation and Nintendo platforms four months later. The dungeon-crawling, souls-like, indie game developed by Acid Nerve collected numerous accolades, including “Best Indie Game” at the 2021 Golden Joystick Awards, and holds an 87 on Metacritic, which places it at 13th among Xbox Series X|S games.
Unlike Death’s Door, Xbox players had to wait quite a while to play the 2015 indie hit Undertale, developed by Toby Fox. The subversive 2D RPG finally came to Xbox One in March 2021, but was undeniably worth the wait. With its retro-styled graphics, incredible musical score, and turn-based bullet hell gameplay, the story of a child falling underground into a world of monsters was met with critical acclaim earning a 92 Metascore on PlayStation 4 and PC, as well as a 93 on Nintendo Switch. While Undertale currently does not have a Metascore for Xbox, it seems fair to suggest that it would undeniably be in line with the other platforms’ high critic ratings.
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What Remains of Edith Finch
Shortly after its initial launch on PC and PlayStation approximately two months earlier, on July 19, 2017, What Remains of Edith Finch arrived on Xbox One to the tune of a 92 Metascore, making it the 9th ranked game of all-time in the console’s history. The somber, story-driven walking sim about a young woman exploring her cursed family’s abandoned home and experiencing the final moments of each of its former occupants deeply resonated with indie game fans at its release. According to Metacritic, What Remains of Edith Finch is best experienced on Xbox consoles, as its 92 Metascore exceeds the critic ratings of all other platforms the game is available on. Furthermore, What Remains of Edith Finch was also recently remastered for the Xbox Series X|S on July 28, 2022.
Playdead’s successor to its highly regarded 2010 release, LIMBO, was met with critical acclaim, as the timed exclusive INSIDE launched on Xbox One to a 93 Metascore on June 29, 2016, approximately a week and two months before its PC and PlayStation counterparts respectively. The 2.5D puzzle platformer’s blend of science fiction and horror is better experienced than explained and became available to immediately install for Xbox Game Pass subscribers on July 29, 2022. INSIDE is the 6th highest rated Xbox One game of all time according to Metacritic, only trailing Celeste among the console’s indie titles.
Supergiant Games’ indie, rogue-lite, dungeon-crawler, Hades, became available on Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S nearly a year ago on August 13, 2021 (as of this writing), following its September 2020 launch on PC and Nintendo Switch. The action-packed, Greek mythology-based story of Zagreus, a prince trying to escape the Underworld and his father, Hades, won “Best Indie Game” at both The Game Awards and The Golden Joystick Awards. The game garnered a 93 Metascore making it the 2nd highest rated Xbox Series X|S release of all time on Metacritic, and the best indie game currently available on Xbox Game Pass.