It’s taken a few days, but the first Game Pass game of 2023 has arrived. If you called it, congratulations: this wouldn’t have been our first guess.
Today sees Stranded Deep (Cloud, Console and PC) arriving onto Game Pass. You would be forgiven for not hearing about it before: this was a release way back in April of 2020, which makes it something of a doddery old gent of the Xbox Store. But as with all Game Pass releases, we will absolutely take it.
Stranded Deep is a survival game that leans on the simplest of premises: being castaway on a desert island. You crashland in an aircraft, thousands of miles from civilisation, and it’s up to you to survive. There are no basketballs with faces on, no hatches or polar bears, but there are still mysteries and stories to be found in the palm trees.
Subnautica fans will know the game loop. Stranded Deep pushes you to explore further into the island, gathering resources that you can then take back to base and construct shelter and tools. You will need them to hold back exposure, thirst and hunger, as well as any other hazards that the island throws at you. Before long, your island will resemble a game of Tropico, full of settlements, followers and power plants. Well, probably not.
We gave Stranded Deep a reasonably healthy 4/5, saying it “is an excellent example of a notion done countless times in other media. There is an open-endedness to it for those looking for a new way of life but there is also a primary objective for those wanting to escape. Despite being a survival game, giving players the opportunity to play at their own pace means Stranded Deep is a game to be enjoyed over and over again.” Sounds like it manages to capture the relaxation of being left alone on a beach for a few days.
There are whispers of two more games arriving on the service today, but we are unsure if this is hearsay or confirmed. Keep refreshing that store to see if Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection and The DioField Chronicle turn up.
Otherwise, the big question is what else is coming to Game Pass in January. We can only give a partial answer, as the full announcements haven’t been made. We know a little, thanks to previous confirmations: Persona 3 Portable and Persona 4 Golden are coming on Jan 19th, Monster Hunter Rise is arriving on Jan 20th, and Age of Empires 2 Definitive Edition and Inkulinati are both due on Jan 31st.
The only formal announcement has been about the games that are leaving the service. On January 15th we must make do without The Anucrusis, Nobody Saves The World, Danganronpa Trigger Happy Havoc Edition, Windjammers 2, and Pupperazzi.
Are you planning to cast yourself away on a desert island with Stranded Deep? Let us know in the comments or on social media.