Ever since Microsoft launched Xbox Game Pass it’s undeniably been a boon for gamers. Offering both value and variety, Xbox Game Pass is a way for players to experience an enormous library of games for a fraction of the cost of purchasing them all. With every first-party game available on Xbox Game Pass at launch and now, Game Pass Ultimate bundling Xbox Live Gold and Game Pass for console and PC, it’s never been better.
Something else that Xbox Game Pass has done is provide a platform for Aussie made games to get some well-deserved attention. Currently, a number of great Aussie made games are available on Game Pass both for PC and console.
Six of the games available are highly-acclaimed, well-loved and incredibly good fun. If you have Xbox Game Pass, you have no excuse to not play these.
Aussie Xbox Game Pass
Ashen, from New Zealand developer A44 (we’re Russell Croweing them, alright?) is a soulslike with a twist. Described as a game about relationships and making connections, Ashen holds a 78 on Metacritic.
It includes “passive co-op” that sees players occasionally encounter others in the massive open-world. Similar to the multiplayer in Journey, Ashen puts players together but it’s up to them to join them, fight together or ignore them and move on.
Featuring crafting, combat and plenty of enemies, IGN called Ashen, “Like a home away from home, Ashen feels both startlingly familiar and original.”
Available free on Xbox One for Game Pass subscribers, Ashen is just one of the local games available on the service.
Void Bastards, developed by Canberra based Blue Manchu, is inspired by BioShock and System Shock 2. It’s easy to be inspired by those games when Void Bastards was created by ex-Irrational Games founder Jonathan Chey who served as director of System Shock 2 and BioShock. Other staff members at Blue Manchu are also ex-Irrational Games members.
So, Void Bastards. What is it?
Well, it’s billed as a strategy-shooter that “will test your wits as well as exercise your aim.” Holding a 75 on Metacritic, Void Bastards requires players to plan carefully, find the supplies they need to survive and finally, escape.
Featuring an incredible cel-shaded comic book style and some of the hardest gameplay in recent memory, Void Bastards is a great game to add to your collection.
What’s left to say about Team Cherry’s Hollow Knight. Part Metroidvania, part soulslike, Hollow Knight is an incredible video game. Available for Game Pass on PC, the Voidheart Edition includes the original game and four additional content packs.
With a robust 87 on Metacritic, Hollow Knight is a rare, must-play game. Players will need to explore the massive, sprawling world of Hollownest, level up, unlock new abilities and skills, fight over 150 enemies and 40 bosses and more.
The gorgeous hand-drawn visuals and orchestral score are simply wonderful and when you can get the game for free, you really should play it.
The Gardens Between from Melbourne’s The Voxel Agents is a meditative, ethereal experience. In our review, we scored it 8.2/10 and said;
The Gardens Between is a stunningly beautiful look at friendships through the lens of video games, once again showing that video games are an artform.
As a puzzle game, The Gardens Between sees best friends Arina and Frendt stuck in a strange, dreamlike world, only able to move forward by solving each challenge presented to them. The challenges and puzzles are all themed around memories of their friendship and of events that have occurred in their past.
Winner of multiple awards and called a “masterwork” by the Guardian, The Gardens Between is a great addition to Xbox Game Pass.
Another game from a Melbourne based studio, The Stillness of the Wind is a game about the quiet life of a farm. From Fellow Traveller, The Stillness of the Wind scored 9/10 in our review. We wrote;
The Stillness of the Wind is a magical slice of life that tackles heavy subject matter with the ease of a masterpiece. For those who are seeking a ruminative experience about perseverance, family and the inevitable setting of the sun, this is a game not to be missed.
Set on a farm that’s slowly been abandoned by everyone except Talma, players need to simply live day to day, develop a routine and care for the animals.
With a 76 on Metacritic, The Stillness of the Wind is another artistic game that should be experienced.
What list of Aussie games would be complete without Ashes Cricket. Developed by Big Ant, Ashes Cricket is the officially licensed game for cricket’s greatest rivalry.
Featuring both men’s and women’s 2017/2018 Ashes Tours, Ashes Cricket uses Big Ant’s photogrammetry to create photorealistic likenesses of all of the Australian and English teams.
With a 79 on Metacritic, Ashes Cricket is as Aussie as it gets and it’s free on Xbox Game Pass.
If you’re an Xbox Game Pass subscriber and you’re looking for some local Aussie talent, look no further than these games.
Xbox Game Pass is available for both Xbox One and PC.