Try these 2 indie greats before they leave Game Pass next week

I’m always excited for those two days every month when Xbox drops a blog post detailing the new additions coming to Game Pass. Even in slow months, there’s usually a hidden gem on there that I’m curious about digging into. Though as curious as I am about checking out what’s new, I often forget to scroll to the bottom and see what’s leaving the service. And just as there are a few standouts added to the service each month, Game Pass also tends to quietly lose just as many with each new batch.

That’s exactly the case this July. While the service gains Grand Theft Auto V and Exoprimal this month, it’s also losing two standout indies: Spelunky 2 and Exo One. If you’re looking for some games to play during a slow month for big releases, here’s why you should check out both before they leave the service on July 15.

Spelunky 2

Screenshot of Spelunky 2

If I had to make a list of fundamental video games everyone should play, Spelunky would undoubtedly be on it. The first game in the 2D series is a groundbreaking roguelike that created the foundation for one of gaming’s most popular genres. Without Spelunky, you don’t get games like Hades or Dead Cells. And you also don’t get Spelunky 2, a top-notch sequel that delivers everything that made its predecessor great and more.

Following the same winning formula, Spelunky 2 is a tough-as-nails roguelike that has players adventuring through randomly generated caves in search of treasures. While plenty of games follow its 2D action template, Spelunky’s main claim to fame is its wealth of deep secrets that make each run feel entirely different. You could pick away at it for well over 100 hours and still never discover some of its hidden routes, secret weapons, and obtuse item interactions that its community has mined for since its launch. It’s a tremendously rewarding game, though one that’s built to test your patience with surprising deaths that are as infuriating as they are hilarious.

You won’t get to the bottom of what Spelunky 2 has to offer before it leaves Game Pass on July 15, but if you’re curious, now’s the time to dig in and see if you can handle the heat. And don’t forget that you can get 20% off the full game with your Game Pass membership if you feel like continuing it after it leaves.

Exo One

An orb sits in an alien desert in Exo One.

One thing that I really value about services like Xbox Game Pass and PS Plus is how they give me access to bizarre games I likely wouldn’t pick up on a whim. Game Pass is full of those titles, but it’s about to lose one of its oddest and most alluring titles in Exo One. The minimalist sci-fi game is unlike anything I’ve ever played, making for an atmospheric oddity that’s worth your two hours.

Exo One is an elegantly designed game that’s easy to explain, but hard to fully communicate why it’s so engrossing. Players pilot a disk-like spacecraft through a series of alien planets, flying through the air using gravity, speed, and momentum. It’s like playing an intergalactic game of Frisbee. There’s a light, sci-fi story thread underneath that gameplay hook, but the journey is more about atmosphere than anything. It’s an otherworldly experience that’s stuck with me ever since I first played it in 2021.

If you want to check it out, it’ll be available on Xbox Game Pass until July 15. Considering that it’s a two-hour-long game, you should have plenty of time to finish it before that date. After you’re done, check out the trailer for developer Exbleative’s next game, an outer space racing title called Exo Rally Championship that’s currently in development.

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