Microsoft launched the Games With Gold program in 2013. The first game offered was Fable 3 from Lionhead Studios. Soon, the Games With Gold program offered gamers 2 games a month. This usually consisted of a AAA title and an indie game. After a while, the program transitioned to the Xbox One as well. Max: The Curse of Brotherhood and Halo: Spartan Assault were the first games available for Xbox One owners to download. Microsoft has continued to expand the program by allowing the games that are offered on the Xbox 360 to be playable through backwards compatibility on the Xbox One.
Since the program launched on the Xbox One, these have been the games that players were able to download. (Xbox 360 games not included)
- Halo: Spartan Assault
- Max: The Curse of Brotherhood
- Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition
- Crimson Dragon
- Strike Suit Zero
- Super Time Force
- Volgarr The Viking
- Worms Battlegrounds
- D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die
- #IDARB (It Draws A Red Box)
- Rayman Legends
- Pool Nation FX
- Child of Light
- CastleStorm: Definitive Edition
- Massive Chalice
- Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
- So Many Me
- Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes
- How To Survive: Storm Warning Edition
- The Deer God
- Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition
- Valiant Hearts: The Great War
- The Walking Dead: The Complete First Season
- Pnuema: Breath of Life
- Knight Squad
- The Incredible Adventures of an Helsing
If you take a look at these titles, there are plenty of recognizable games on this list, but the list also contains quite a few games that many gamers may not know about. There are many indie games on this list that could benefit from promotion. #IDARB is a fun party game that allows players to engage in online matches with each other. Sure, on the first week or two of release, there was a multitude of gamers that were enjoying the over the top antics that only #IDARB can provide, but after a short period of time, it became difficult to find a game.
So Many Me is an extremely difficult platform/puzzle game. In fact, here at Xbox Enthusiast, we found the game quite enjoyable. I have about 100 friends on Xbox Live and when the game came out, I only had 4 people on my list play the game. Even now, a few months after the game has been released, not many people on my list have even tried the game. That’s a shame because So Many Me is the type of game that seems overly cute and simple, but that is not the case at all. The title will prove a challenge for even those gamers who are skilled in the genre. I’ve been playing games for over 2 decades and it threw me for a loop on multiple occasions.
Knight Squad is one of the most pleasant surprises that my friends and I have had the pleasure to experience on Xbox Live. I tried playing the game on the first night that it was offered, but I couldn’t even find a match. For a game that relies on matches over Xbox Live, there is a very small community in the game at the moment. When you can find a full group of 8 people, Knight Squad is filled with pandemonium and some memorable moments. This is the type of game that can catch players off guard. My friends didn’t want to play, but we were waiting for a game to install on our console so we gave it a chance. Little did we know that we would spend hours with Knight Squad.
D4, oh D4 how I love this game. Hidetaka Suehiro also known as “Swery” is one of those creators who’s games will be known by name alone. When Microsoft announced that D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die would be coming to the Xbox One (and as a Microsoft published game no less), I was giddy with excitement. Deadly Premonition is by no means a great game, but it is a guilty pleasure with a cult classic status among gamers. The game is absurd and filled with plenty of bizarre characters, but it is thoroughly appealing. I often criticize games that rely on “Quick Time Events” as a form of gameplay, but the mechanic just worked for D4. The mystery within the storyline is intriguing and the twists and turns kept the player glued to the screen. I bought it on launch date and was happy to see that Xbox Live members were able to experience the game because of this program.
I’ve given four example of games provided by Games with Gold that exceeded expectations and are fun games to play. When I don’t see people talking about these games or playing them, it saddens me. The developers are hard workers that put so much time and effort in order to release a quality product. The fact that these games are free means that everybody should at least download them in order to own the monthly offerings. I really think that Microsoft should build up some hype regarding the latest Games With Gold titles before they are released to the public. Sure, when Microsoft announces the next month’s games, people may be turned off that the game they “want” isn’t being offered, but that’s not the way we should be looking at it.
The way I see it is like this. We are getting a free game. We are also often receiving a game that has not yet been released on the Xbox One before. The Deer God, Knight Squad and So Many Me are examples of games that were available for free on the first day that they debuted on the Xbox One. Sometimes seeing pictures of a particular title on the Xbox Live page for the game won’t do it justice. This happens regularly, but what if Microsoft gradually revealed more about the various games leading up to their releases?
If Microsoft (or the developer for a certain game for that matter) features a livestream of a future Games With Gold title before the beginning of the month, maybe public interest would be more noticeable. If Knight Squad was shown to the public before it went live via Games With Gold, I believe that the game would have had a better community at launch. With these multiplayer centric titles, Microsoft should have a community game night like the company had on the Xbox 360. Let there be an incentive to play these games. I personally look forward to each month so I can download a few new free games. I just wish that I had more people to partake in these games with.
Games With Gold is slowly becoming a better program with each passing month. The quality of the games provided are getting better and the experiences are usually fun. I hope that during one month, we will see many players enjoying a new indie or multiplayer title. As an Xbox community, we should be supporting developers’ hard work, but we can’t do it alone. Microsoft needs to step up and build a bridge to connect gamers and developers. Knight Squad and #IDARB deserve more love.
While I can only do so much, there are higher powers that can make these games thrive. If you would like to see this happen, play these games, coordinate a group and set up a few matches. If you like a game, it’s time to support it and spread the word.