15 best indie games on Xbox Game Pass PC to play in 2022
Aside from big hits, there're a lot of hidden indie gems on Game Pass. Which games can be considered must-play?
It’s no surprise to anyone that Microsoft’s platform is full of great titles. What’s surprising is that there are still numerous new additions to Xbox Game Pass each month and the trend doesn’t seem to slow down at all. Cloud gaming is a thing now and you can’t escape the subscription service, as it is now pre-installed on Windows 11. Not that we’re complaining or anything, but it gives a certain perspective of gaming industry domination.
In all of this greatness, we thought that among all of the triple-A hits, there’s a place for some alternatives. We’ve decided to gather a bunch of best indie games on Xbox Game Pass that you should play in 2022. You may expect some familiar titles in the following list, although there is a number of games that are lacking well-deserved love and appreciation. We thought that we should change that, so here we are 😊
Are you also wondering what are the indie games worth playing in 2022 on Xbox Game Pass PC? Here's the list to check out!
The Artful Escape
Francis Vendetti has a lot to prove, especially considering the fact that his uncle is kind of a legend in the music industry. In this platforming game, you help Francis find his own musical self.
With a heavy pinch of adventure game-like mechanics (meaning some puzzles and you do a lot of talking) and platformer sections set on locations based on real music. This is a great indie game for those who like all of these features combined together. There is great balance between all of the elements and despite getting them here in one big package, none of them feel overwhelming.
You’re single and this is your great chance to finally start dating someone, as you get a free apartment for summer and a job that involves visiting the so-called “dunjs” and finding new weapons. Oh, and these weapons are your potential love interests, as they can transform into humans. Sounds like a plot of some ridiculous anime? Fair enough, point taken, but it's in no way a drawback.
Although this sounds like a weird interpretation of Soul Eater, the game is a very fun mix of isometric dungeon-crawler and a dating sim that leaves the choice to you: if you prefer dating boys, you’re free to go, platonic relationships are also a thing here. You will have a chance to “date” a cat (that is one of the weapons you’ll find), although we don’t really recommend that option.
Curse Of The Dead Gods
At the first glance, this one looks awfully similar to Hades (spoiler: which we will talk about later), although the darkness seems to play much bigger role in this roguelike installment. You’ll take more damage if you’re attacked in the dark, but how else can you find all of the hidden treasures that are waiting for someone to take them?
The curse system is also one of this title’s gimmicks, basically offering you some sort of a perk, while taking something else in return. Choose wisely, as there are more than enough opponents whose sole ambition is to send you right to the very beginning of your adventure. What will be your curse, and what your salvation?
You may not have expected that on a list of independent best PC Game Pass games 2022 there is a turn-based roguelike title where you play as a literal, giant dice. Now you do, and that’s obviously not the only thing that’s great about this game.
Lady Luck organises a game show of sorts where there’s a lot to win. You need to make sure that the dice will roll the way you want it while you’re fighting enemies. Depending on which character you choose (as the game progresses, you will unlock more), the strategy changes. Sometimes, you will have to roll big numbers only, there are also times when a specific number has to appear on the dice. Think of this PC title as a D&D experience with some “slight” changes here and there.
This game has been endlessly praised, won a couple of prizes and is still standing firmly on the pedestal. It’s not as much of a hidden gem, although not mentioning it in the list of must-play indie games 2022 wouldn’t be fair. Play as Zagreus, son of Hades, who really wants to escape his home in Tartarus, partially due to his father being a little bit harsh on him. What he does is start a journey through the Underworld full of characters and creatures known to us from Greek mythology. And he slays a ton of monsters.
The title is a roguelite, which means that after each run, there are some resources that you can keep and spend on new abilities, weapons and all other things you’ll need. If you’re feeling generous, you may as well decorate the House of Hades so it looks a tad nicer. Add well-written characters that are played by just as great voice actors, fantastic gameplay and masterful soundtrack - and voilà! This included even fishing, which is also an absolutely crucial feature, if you ask us. It takes a lot to be one of indie games on PC Game Pass that you absolutely must try out and this is one of them for sure.
First impression? Papers, Please with the exception that you’re a doctor of sorts and need to take care of patients. What binds Mind Scanners with the aforementioned title is that you need to choose who gets treatment. To diagnose your patients you will have to use your own intuition and special devices, while developing new ones with the resources you get along the way.
As you can imagine, there are no easy decisions to be made, not even mentioning good or bad. If you face moral dilemma on your journey, it’s only you who can sort out the problem. A mindscanner has to do the job, so that the Structure (a place where humanity lives after a meteor catastrophe) can continue to exist.
One Step From Eden
We have a little something for fans of deck-building titles, too. Provided you also like side-scrollers, real-time combat and roguelikes, this title is a perfect match for you. The game varies greatly each run, as the locations on which you’re fighting are procedurally generated. This means there are no runs that feel the same.
There are 9 characters to choose from, over 200 spells and more than 100 items that will all help you win. You can also play the game via local co-op, so that your friends can also join the fun. Will you make it all the way to Eden?
Are you something of an explorer yourself? You’d better be, as in this indie game you will have to investigate solar system to the best of your ability. Fly between planets in your cosy little spaceship and do the exploring stuff mostly on foot. Outer Wilds Ventures don’t want their new recruit to slack off.
Remember though, it’s not a given that you’ll find the planets you’ve already encountered in the same state as they were the first time due to the loop we mentioned. They’re constantly changing, so this may even mean that some of them can be already gone. Can you uncover the mystery behind this phenomenon?
First Spelunky, although extremely difficult, has found a way to our hearts. The sequel is also a really tough game and you should know it before venturing into the unknown. It’s a platformer with a bunch of game mechanics straight out of roguelikes. You need to explore constantly: what happens, if you offer this turkey to Kali Altair? What happens if you take an item without paying for it (well, maybe this one is kind of obvious)? The possibilities are endless.
As many say, it’s not about beating the game, it’s the experience that you get along the way. The more you explore the caves, the more knowledgeable you are and can go even further. It’s one of the best Game Pass indie games 2022 because of its clever use of physics and creating an open field for endless experimentation. Good luck on the adventure!
Tetris Effect: Connected
Bet you didn’t expect a classic formula to appear in such list. Well, the original Tetris will be 40 years old quite soon and, even though it’s a simple concept, it can still surprise in 2022. This variation of the legendary title can be what you want it to be: a relaxing blast from the past (with some nice trance music playing in the background), a co-op adventure or even a competitive game with a ranking system. Look up a couple of videos on the Internet, it’s quite impressive.
Another interesting element of Tetris Effect: Connected is that you can stop time that is called a “Zone” mechanic here. Fill your Zone Meter by gradually clearing up the lines and once it’s full, take control over time! It doesn’t last too long, although getting out of a really risky situation isn’t a bad thing. Furthermore, speaking of co-op: the idea of combining up to 3 people’s blocks on one single field is as simple as ingenious. That’s generally the strength of the original and this version of it captures the same magic.
The Forgotten City
Speaking of supernatural occurrences, it’s not too often that we see a mod to a game turn into a standalone, full product. Yet, this happened with The Forgotten City, that at first was “only” a mod to Skyrim. It was bound to happen anyway, just looking at the premise: Roman Empire is alive and kicking, as we’re 2 thousands years into the past. There is a big problem once you arrive to an underground city on your adventure: you discover several bodies turned into golden statues. You can save people who turned into them by a portal that allows you to travel in time.
Similarly to what you may remember from, say, Majora’s Mask, you won’t settle things at once. You’ll need to explore the city, talk to its inhabitants, fight a little and do a couple of platforming sections. As much as this sounds like a re-telling of Link’s darkest adventure, it’s a standalone, compelling story that managed to see the light of day on its own.
You may have guessed it, but yes, you control a pedestrian in this indie game. Yet, we’re not talking about a regular one: it is the little guy that you may recognise from road signs. Still, it has to cross the street anyway and you’re gonna help. The title is a mix of a platformer and a logic game that kind of reminds us of Crazy Machines, except you’re not trying to make your experiment a successful one, you just help your pedestrian move around.
As it can only move on signs and screens, you’ll have to think this through. The game looks great, thanks to the contrast of a minimalistic protagonist and stunning environment around the pedestrian. Crossing a street was never this fun!
Ashley S. Nowak is a Riftbreaker, someone who is kind of a scientist commando and moves around inside a Mecha-Suit. Enter a one-way portal to Galatea 37, a distant planet at the far reaches of the Milky Way Galaxy, with the purpose of building up a base that will allow travel back to Earth and further colonization. Once you enter Galatea 37, a faraway planet, you have a mission. You’ll need to build a base that will make going back to Earth possible.
Thankfully, the aforementioned Mecha-Suit (aka "Mr. Riggs") is built for each end every eventuality, including fighting. As you explore Galatea, local fauna doesn’t seem to be too excited about your stay and you’ll have to face them. Gathering resources, building new facilities and a little bit of tower defense action is what you’ll do to return to Earth. And it will be fun, we can assure you.
It’s a single-player title where the titular twelve minutes determine a time loop in which you found yourself after being shot by a policeman claiming that your wife is a murderer. You’ll have to find several clues that will help you understand the situation and, well, survive.
It’s a psychological thriller in the form of an adventure game: despite the fact the there’re not many rooms to explore, there’s much to do in every one of them. As you can see, this is a movie-like experience and it just so happens that the cast fits perfectly, with James McAvoy, Daisy Ridley, and Willem Dafoe making the plot even more interesting. Not that it wouldn't have been without them, but their presence helps.
Last, but certainly not least, Unpacking. It’s a strangely relaxing sensation when you’re unpacking the unknown girl’s belongings in a new apartment and you get to see her hobbies and preferences as to how a room should look like. She moves to different places quite a lot, so you’ll get to know more and more about her. It’s as if she told you a story via the things she owns (or owned).
There’s absolutely nothing rushing the process, so you can focus on exploring and, yes, unpacking without worrying about some time limit. You learn the story from the pieces you’re given in a cute, pixel-art form. This is a well-earned rest that you might want after all of the excitement built by previous games. Enjoy your stay in Unpacking for as long as you like.
That was the list of best indie games 2022. It featured a number of different approaches to gameplay, atmosphere and story, although there is something that connects all of these. It’s the passion of independent creators who developed their works putting all of their hearts into them. Xbox Game Pass has a lot to offer in this regard, you only need to start exploring.
You can naturally do so by starting your adventure with the service for a good price:
Do you think we’ve missed an independent game that you absolutely love? Or maybe you didn’t like some of the choices? We’d love to see what is your opinion on the games we’ve mentioned, as well as on other gems that you found on PC Game Pass. In any case: comment down below!
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