So. You’re new to gaming, and happen to have a subscription to Xbox Game Pass. Where on earth do you begin?
Thankfully, there are plenty of games on Xbox Game Pass that are suitable for beginners. When talking about games for “beginners”, or people new to gaming, we don’t think ‘kids games’. We’re thinking about games that are simple to play, without complicated control schemes, confusing systems or difficult encounters. Games that focus on story and exploration make great games for those new to the medium. As do games that are easy to understand.
And so, we’ve scoured Xbox Game Pass’ extensive library and found a selection of games that really hit that mark. Whether you’re brand new to gaming or simply want something that isn’t going to challenge you, here are the best easy games for beginners on Xbox Game Pass.
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Playing Firewatch is more like taking the leading role in an interactive movie than it is playing a game. You take on the role of Henry, a man who has taken several weeks out of his life for a job as a fire lookout deep in a forest. That means limited human interaction for a while, and time to be alone with his thoughts. In fact, the only contact Henry has for the duration is with Delilah, his supervisor, who contacts him over a radio.
When Henry isn’t in his lookout tower, he’ll be out exploring the forest, where he encounters something strange. Along with figuring out what’s going on, players will also learn more about Henry, his life back home, and what made him decide to escape to the forest in the first place. Ultimately, Firewatch is a small game, but it will keep you hooked and it packs in more tension than you’d expect from a game of its type. Easy controls and limited interactions make this the perfect easy Xbox Game Pass game for beginners.
2. As Dusk Falls
As Dusk Falls feels more like an interactive TV drama than it does a video game. And that reason alone makes this an excellent choice for someone new to Xbox gaming. This tense drama follows the events of a hostage situation as it unfolds, and players will experience the viewpoint of several key characters. You’ll get to know them – both victims and perpetrators – and learn about their lives over the course of the game.
As you play, you’ll make certain decisions which will affect how As Dusk Falls ends. There’s a branching narrative, and so the ending you get will depend on what choices you make. People could live, or they could die – and it’s all in your hands. High stakes, then.
Read our review of As Dusk Falls
Easy games for beginners on Xbox Game Pass don’t get much better than this. Pupperazzi is all about exploring small locations and taking pictures of dogs. Yes, you read that right. That’s the whole point of the game. And so why is this one of the best easy games on Xbox Game Pass for beginners, you ask? For that precise reason: all you do is walk around, and take photos of dogs. Perfect.
You do have goals to achieve, which you’ll find by opening up your menu. But these start out very simply; take a picture of a dog in front of a lighthouse, pet a dog and take a picture, give a dog a bone. The fact that players can take it at their own pace makes it a great game to start out with too. There’s no pressure to complete anything in any given timeframe. Simply enjoy existing with a bunch of virtual doggos. It’s the ideal game for pet lovers.
4. Stardew Valley
If you know Stardew Valley, you might be wondering why we’d suggest it as an easy game for beginners. After all, there’s a lot going on in this farming life sim, much of it quite complex. And while that’s true, what we love about Stardew Valley is that players can take it completely at their own pace. It’s a game that can be played however you want to. You can set about making the world’s greatest farm if you want, befriending every person in town and nailing the mining sections. Or you can ignore all of that, and simply enjoy your day potting around, planting a couple of seeds and seeing what happens.
This approach to player-led gameplay makes Stardew Valley a great starting point for people new to gaming. There’s a great learning curve here, where players can slowly but steadily start interacting with more of the game’s features, learning how everything works in their own time. Few games offer that freedom, and that’s what makes Stardew Valley the perfect Xbox Game Pass game for beginners.
Read more about Stardew Valley
We love Unpacking. Not in real life, of course. That’s a pain in the backside. But in this sweet game, unpacking a person’s belongings is an absolute joy. You’ll follow a character through from childhood to adulthood, charting each move and unpacking their stuff as they go. From their childhood bedroom, to their first university dorm, to the apartment they share with their first serious romantic partner, to ultimately their final family home. To say you never see or hear from the main character, Unpacking does an incredible job of painting a picture of their life.
This is a serene game about finding the right place for everything, and simple drag-and-drop mechanics means Unpacking is a great place for beginners to start. Tiny details make this something special; the sounds of cupboard doors and drawers opening; the unmistakable sound of a DVD case being placed on a shelf. It’s wonderful.