The summer months are usually quite barren when it comes to new games. However, it’s the perfect time to check out something new! I’m here to give you 5 of the best games you can play over the summer months, all available on Xbox Game Pass.

Before we begin, I want to go over some ground rules. These are my personal opinions. These aren’t THE 5 best games on Xbox Game Pass, but what I view as great games that you might have missed. Therefore, I also won’t be including giant AAA titles that most gamers probably bought Day 1, (so games like Fallout 4, Skyrim, and the staple Xbox titles won’t be included). Lastly, I won’t be including games that are leaving Game Pass soon, ‘I’m looking at you Greedfall’.

In no particular order, let’s begin:

Hades

Supergiant Games has made some phenomenal games in the past such as Bastion, and Hades is no exception. It’s a rogue-like dungeon crawler set around trying to leave Hades dominion. The controls are tight, the gameplay is fun, and most importantly, the characters are interesting. As the name suggests, it focuses on the Greek Pantheon of gods.

Hades consistently makes you want to play one more run if only to learn more about all the different characters in the game. The lore is well written, given to you in pieces that make you crave finding out the mystery that is Zagreus’ life. Even once you’ve beaten the game for the first time, you’ve only scratched the surface of the story.

Slay the Spire

I promise this is the last rogue-lite/rogue-like, but Slay the Spire is the gold standard for deck builders. There are 4 different characters, each with their own starting decks and cards to add as you face combat encounters. Each character plays differently enough to not feel repetitive while keeping the core gameplay mechanics and style in place.

Related: Xbox/Bethesda Showcase

Finding the right synergies between cards, relics, and potions is immensely satisfying. There isn’t a better feeling than getting the perfect matchup of cards and relics and absolutely slaying (pun absolutely intended) everything in your path. Even once you get to the ending, there is still so much more to do. There are 20 Ascension levels that add more and more difficulty spikes to the runs, plus a secret ending.

Unravel/Unravel Two

I’m cheating a little here and including two titles for the price of one, but Unravel and Unravel Two are both worth playing. You play as Yarny, a character made of… (you guessed it)… yarn! You use his body to traverse the different puzzles the game throws at you. The first game (Unravel) is single-player only and includes the better of the two stories. The second game (Unravel 2) allows for local co-op and includes a more unique gameplay style due to the mechanics of being able to utilize two Yarny’s to solve the ever-increasing level difficulty.

The background art in both games is absolutely gorgeous, and the game’s soundtracks fit perfectly. Even with no voices, Unravel and Unravel Two both manage to make you feel something for the world you inhabit. They are perfect games if you’re looking for Puzzle Platformers. And Unravel gives off a great summer vibe as well.

Tropico 6

Another perfect summer game is Tropico 6. You play as the leader (read: dictator) of a Caribbean island, during 4 different eras, colonial, world wars, cold war, or modern. City builders, or in this case, island builders, don’t always work on consoles, but this one does. The controls are easy to understand and master and allow for some great customization of your own island.

You can choose what type of leader you want to be, whether you want to help your people and provide healthcare, food, and quality shelter. Or you can siphon funds into your personal bank account while letting your people live in squalor. There’s a campaign that takes you through the modern era, or you can play sandbox with everything unlocked.

Dragon Quest Builders 2

Minecraft is the dominant force for block-based games, but don’t sleep on Dragon Quest Builders 2. Part RPG, part construction game, Dragon Quest Builders 2 is a very fun title. It has a little more handholding than Minecraft, since you are given blueprints for buildings you can construct, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make anything you want.

There are 3 story islands in Dragon Quest Builders 2 on top of the main island. You traverse through the story unlocking new blueprints, materials, and friends for your main island. There are also 9 different explorer islands that make it so you have unlimited wood, ore, and other key building materials. The story is worth playing and once you’re done, you’re free to make the island of your dreams.

That wraps up 5 of the best games you can play on Xbox Game Pass. Let me know in the comments if I missed anything. With the number of games on Game Pass, there will be another list in future weeks. For more on Xbox, check out the highlights from the Xbox/Bethesda Showcase. Stay tuned to 9to5gamers for everything from video games to sports, to WWE.

Next Up: 10 Games you need to play on PC NOW!

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