With much of the country going into stay at home mode many gamers are finding themselves with a lot more time to enjoy their favorite past time. For some, it’s a great time to knock out one of the big RPGs or check out an MMO that they don’t normally have the time for. Others are probably using the extra time to work through some of their Steam backlogs, but I am finding too much of a good thing can be a curse and am already starting to burn out on some of my favorite games.
When I die one too many times in The Division 2 or my mouse finger starts to blister from casting too many spells in Wolcen I take a break with something a little more casual. Not every game has to be an adventure that you invest hour upon hour in, so when I need to unwind after a hard day of gaming (yes, I get the irony of that statement) I look to the Xbox Gamepass (and Gamepass Ultimate for PC) for relief with some of the more casual games it has to offer. I already find great value in the service so I never feel like I’m being short-changed when a game only holds my attention for an hour or two. So without further ado, here is my list of 7 casual games on Xbox Gamepass (one for each day of the week). For anyone who doesn’t have Xbox Gamepass, all the games listed can be purchased through other outlets (links provided in the descriptions).
West of Loathing
- Release Date: August 10, 2017
- Developer: Asymmetric Publications
- Other Outlets: Steam, Nintendo Switch
Not all RPGs have to be a lengthy affair filled with huge open-world zones and min-maxing your build. Nope, sometimes it can be a side-scrolling world filled with stick figures wearing cowboy hats, just like West of Loathing. Experience witty humor filled with satire and one-liners as you set out to make a name for yourself in the wild west of the Kingdom of Loathing.
Reigns: Game of Thrones
- Release Date: October 18, 2018
- Other Outlets: Steam, Nintendo Switch, Apple Store, Google Play
I usually play Reigns on my phone while I’m out in the wild and find myself with a few minutes to kill. There isn’t a whole lot going on outside the house right now and since I had never played the Game of Thrones Edition I figured why not give it a try? It was different enough from the original version of Reigns to keep me interested for a while and I was even able to stay alive longer than most rulers of Westeros.
My Friend Pedro
Most platformers these days are all GO GO GO and leave very little time to pause and catch your breath. My Friend Pedro still has its fair share of shooting and jumping mayhem but it also gives you a few seconds to plan out a course of action and reload your guns before your next onslaught begins. And the levels aren’t too long, making My Friend Pedro a great choice to burn an hour or so before getting back into your primary game.
- Release Date: October 23, 2012
- Developer: Dennaton Games
- Other Outlets: Steam
Speaking of GO GO GO, Hotline Miami is nothing more than a chaotic ballet of twitch reflexes and one shot one kill brutality, but what a wonderful dance it weaves. At least until you hit a level that has you ready to throw your controller against a wall. Pro tip: put the controller down and move onto another game on this list.
Human Fall Flat
- Release Date: July 22, 2016
- Developer: No Brakes Games
- Other Outlets: Steam, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Apple Store, Google Play
Being stuck in the house with the same people 24-7 isn’t really what most people meant when they said they wanted more quality time with the family. The kids have only been out of school for a week and they are already bouncing off the walls. Human Fall Flat may not look educational but the puzzle-like gameplay will get everyone’s brain churning. Not to mention that when I’m ready to get back to my solo gaming all it takes is a few “accidental” deaths or screw-ups I’m politely asked to quit. It’s a win-win for everyone.
If you’ve never played any of the Worms series from Team17, you are missing out on pure gold. Worms W.M.D is another game everyone in the whole family will enjoy and, unlike Human Fall Flat, you might be the one begging everyone to play another round. With some of the weirdest weapons available in any game, nothing in WMD ever goes quite as expected, leaving everyone involved giggling like a schoolgirl, winner and losers alike.
Demon’s Tilt may not be the right game for the pinball purist but if you’re looking for all that digital pinball has to offer, you’ll find it here. Demon’s Tilt offers 8 flippers spread across a 3 tiered board that is filled with the basic bumpers and ramps of a physical board blended with all sorts of digital targets and scoring opportunities. For anyone who wants to make Demon’s Tilt more than an occasional diversion, I recommend reading this guide on Steam.