Exploring new worlds with Xbox Game Pass
Escape to faraway lands with these great titles available on Xbox Game Pass.
Nothing is more inspiring than exploring new lands and discovering new people and cultures. With that in mind, we’ve selected some of the best exploration games you can play right now when you join Xbox Game Pass.
The Outer Wilds
The Outer Wilds is a journey best experienced first-hand. The game is built around a 22-minute time loop where you fly from planet to planet in a mini solar system –in search of ancient secrets from a long-since vanished civilisation – before resetting back to the beginning of the game to start all over again (but in possession of knowledge you gained from all your previous trips).
It focuses on a race of gentle spacefarers who build rockets out of wood in order to map the other planets that circle their sun and dig up answers on ancient settlers who left their wisdom spread throughout the galaxy. The developers have clearly thought long and hard about the alien universe they’ve created, from the specific nature of its physical laws to the culture of the creatures who populate it. The result is a game where the simple act of discovery becomes its own reward. It also has one of the best soundtracks of any game in recent memory.
In Spiritfarer, Stella, the player character, has taken over the role of shepherding the dead to the afterlife. But she also needs to care for them, and help them settle their last needs before they’re ready to leave. Her actions take the form of management-type gameplay: collecting and harvesting goods from a growing collection of shops and homes on the ship, and visiting different parts of the world to gather resources and other special items.
Set aboard a ferry for the deceased, the game is equal parts puzzle-adventure and management sim. You can build rooms, grow a garden, and embark on adventures embarked as the ferry master Stella and her passengers travel the world and learn how to self-sustain through mining, farming, cooking, fishing and crafting. Along the way, Stella also cares for the spirits of the dead, fulfilling their final wishes before they say goodbye. With a direct but life-affirming approach to the topic of death, the game’s optimistic vulnerability is as wholesome as its charismatic and upbeat characters.
Earthshade is the story of travelling to an island to paint. Those are the stakes of the game, and very little is explained after the initial rocky landing on the beautiful island. It’s up to you to explore, talk to folks, paint the beautiful things you see, and learn more about this place and the humanoid animals who live there. Your character is armed only with a paintbrush and canvas and your ultimate goal is merely to make some pretty landscape paintings and enjoy a respite from the real world.
This is what imbues the game with a feeling of hopefulness. Playing a game in which the only goal is to refill your “inspiration” metre by visiting new places and lining up the best vista to paint, feels like a validation that there’s more to life than a job, school, and obligations. In other words, if you don’t feed your soul, it’s going to wither.
No Man’s Sky
After a rocky launch in 2016, No Man’s Sky has grown into one of the biggest and most popular games around, as the developers continue to refine and release new and interesting content for the player base. With an entire galaxy of procedurally generated planets, plant and animal life to explore and discover – along with other player-built bases and cities – NMS is a game in which you can truly get lost.
Xbox Game Pass
Xbox Game Pass gives you access to more than 100 high-quality games, including AAA titles, all at the click of a button. Browse and choose to your heart’s delight with an ever-rotating and changing library of games that deliver game experiences you’d never have thought possible. You get access to Xbox Game Studio releases on day one, with gaming content appropriate for all ages and members of the family.
Get all this for just R99 per month.
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