3 Xbox Game Pass games you need to play this weekend (May 3-5)

The Grim reaper drinks coffee in Have a Nice Death.
Arc Games

Another weekend is upon us, and you’re probably looking for some games to kill time with over the course of it. We’re in a bit of a lull right now ahead of a flurry of releases starting next week, so it’s a great time to dip back into the Xbox Game Pass catalog and check out some games that you may have missed. There are three games in particular that I think you should check out this weekend if you’re looking for something to play.

One is an unsettling adventure that’s getting an Xbox-exclusive sequel later this month. The next is a finely animated roguelike indie that recently made its way to Microsoft’s gaming subscription service. Finally, there’s a relaxing adventure that gives players a lot of freedom, yet is short enough to beat in a weekend. If you’re having trouble deciding what to play this weekend, give one of these games a shot.

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice

Senua in Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice.
Ninja Theory

On May 21, Ninja Theory and Xbox Game Studios will release Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2, one of Microsoft’s big console exclusive releases of the year. If you’re interested in checking that game out, but haven’t played its predecessor, 2017’s Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, then this weekend is the perfect time to give the latter a shot. Do that and you’ll find a game that feels quite different from anything you’ve played before. Although Hellblade‘s core is that of a fairly standard linear action game, Ninja Theory makes the experience stand out with how it depicts psychosis.

Senua, the game’s protagonist, experiences psychosis, so players will hear the voices in her head and have to discern what’s real and what’s not while playing. This is definitely a game that you’ll want to play with headphones on. This depiction of a mental health problem isn’t just a cheap horror gimmick; Ninja Theory did its research and worked with neuroscientists and other mental health specialists in order to properly depict psychosis in video game form. This is certainly an experience you won’t forget anytime soon.

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is available on all versions of Xbox Game Pass. If you don’t have a PC or Xbox console, you can also try it on the PlayStation 4 or Nintendo Switch.

Have a Nice Death

Gameplay from Have a Nice Death.
Arc Games

If you don’t want to make a commitment to a very story-driven game, then a roguelite where you can do as many runs as you want might be a better fit. If that sounds up your alley, then I’d recommend Magic Design Studios and Arc Games’ Have a Nice Death, which just came to Xbox Game Pass on April 30. It’s an action-platformer roguelike, a formula that will be instantly recognizable to those who have played Dead Cells. The twist? You’re playing as Death itself.

Death had created beings called Sorrows and a corporation called Death Inc. in order to make reaping souls easier, but those Sorrows have gone out of control and Death is feeling overworked, even as CEO. As a result, he sets out on a journey to defeat the Sorrows he created and decrease his workload. It’s a funny premise and a solid backbone for this action-platforming roguelike. What stands out the most about Have a Nice Death is how slick the animation is and how smoothly it plays. Even if you only play a few runs of this roguelike this weekend, you’ll have a great time.

Have a Nice Death is available through Xbox Game Pass on PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S. You can also check the game out on PS4, PS5, and Nintendo Switch.

A Short Hike

A bird flies around in A Short Hike.
Adam Robinson-Yu

The reason you should check out A Short Hike is right there in the title: It’s short! That doesn’t mean this indie game from Adam Robinson-Yu lacks substance, though. It’s a very personal adventure about a young bird dealing with family issues. The main goal of A Short Hike is to get to the top of the mountain that is Hawk Peak Provincial Park’s namesake. Players are given absolute freedom in how to do this, with the main guiding objective being to get Golden Feathers that increase your bird’s stamina. It’s possible to find these just by exploring the park or by helping out the other animals visiting Mount Peak.

It can be cozy and relaxing, but it also emphasizes how the connections we make are what make us stronger. A Short Hike is an uplifting adventure that will leave you with a smile on your face after the one to five hours it takes to beat it. Treat yourself this weekend and give this indie game you might not normally check out a shot.

A Short Hike is available for PC and Xbox One through Xbox Game Pass, but you can also pick it up for just $8 on PS4 or Nintendo Switch.

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