In early June, select Xbox users received a message from Microsoft with a surprise gift: $10 of Microsoft store credit. Some of those unexpected gift cards have already expired, but some are still valid into August or even September. While I certainly wouldn’t put it past you to use that $10 towards a bigger purchase, you just can’t discount the feeling that you’re pulling something off by using that $10 to get a game without paying a cent. With a library spanning over 20 years, the Microsoft Store has a ton of gems on it that you can grab for $10 or less—whether you plan on using a gift card or your own hard-earned money. Here are 10 purchases under $10 on the Xbox’s store that we recommend.
This isn’t technically a game. After all, Fortnite’s been free-to-play since its juggernaut Battle Royale mode launched years ago, but the Battle Pass adds an extra layer of fun to the game, by opening up new missions, costumes, objectives and challenges. It adds games within an already fun mode. If you’ve managed to avoid the massively popular shooter, now’s a better time than ever to jump in.
Ori and the Blind Forest felt like a definitive turning point for the Xbox brand in a lot of ways. A lush, heartfelt departure from the bro-y blockbusters rife with gritty greys and washed-out camo greens that most people associate with the platform, Ori defied expectations in nearly every way. The Definitive Edition takes this must-play title to an unbelievably low price and delivers the best way to experience one of the best Metroid-style games of the last decade.
If you’ve already played Ori and need another game to scratch that Metroid-y itch, look no further than the game that put Castlevania next to Metroid in a seemingly omnipresent portmanteau that we prefer to not use here at Paste. Gorgeous spritework, tight platforming, and an all-timer soundtrack make Symphony of the Night required playing; not just for fans of the genre, but for fans of the medium too.
This isn’t technically a game either, but Xbox’s subscription service is too good to pass up. For $10, you can check out the massive library of games available on Game Pass for a month. Game Pass puts the likes of Halo Infinite, Ori and the Will of the Wisps, Garden Story, Guardians of the Galaxy and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge at your fingertips. Buyer beware, though—once you start installing games with the subscription as your only price of admission, it’s hard to stop.
Quiplash has been the crown jewel of the Jackbox franchise since its inception. If you’ve never played a game of Quiplash at a party or in a packed Zoom call with friends, you’re seriously missing out. This take on games like Apples to Apples or Cards Against Humanity democratizes the judging process and, in perhaps its most inspired element, turns players’ phones into controllers. No game out there will give this many laughs, and certainly not for this price.
This Xbox Live Arcade classic may be simple, but don’t let its looks fool you. Once you pick it up, you’re probably going to have a tough time putting it back down. From the first shot to the euphoric, comical rendition of Ode To Joy that plays after completing a level Peggle is thoroughly enthralling in a way few puzzle games are. If it gets its hooks in you, you might find yourself playing the entire game in one sitting.
If you’ve played and enjoyed 2016’s DOOM or its sequel, DOOM Eternal, you owe it to yourself to play the original. In many ways, it’s the things that make DOOM and DOOM Eternal great distilled down into a more bite-sized package. Naturally, its age makes it a bit less approachable than its contemporary counterparts, but if a game’s beloved enough to get working on every device imaginable, chances are it’s worth at least checking out.
This charming teen mystery-thriller expertly builds characters, tension and mystery, all while keeping the player engaged. The perfect choice for a game to play in a sitting or two in lieu of a movie, Oxenfree’s narrative, voice acting and subtle mechanics are as creative as they are engaging. And with a sequel on the way, now’s a great time to see what all the fuss is about.
Stick Fight is the ideal game to round up some friends and play in-between sips of beer. Delivering the chaotic fun of games like Smash in tight, bite-sized matches, Stick Fight: The Game’s physics, weapon variety and offering of destructible stages all make up for its deliberately sparse look.
A Short Hike is small in all the best ways. An adorable art style, a friendly cast of characters, and a small but dense open world all work together to make this chill, short hike one to remember. This charming, intimate experience can be played in just one sitting, but it’s just so well-crafted that it begs to be re-played.
Charlie Wacholz is a freelance writer and college student. When he’s not playing the latest and greatest indie games, competing in Smash tournaments or working on a new cocktail recipe, you can find him on Twitter at @chas_mke.