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Best new Xbox and Game Pass games for August 2023

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up next august 2023
The Best Xbox Games Releasing in August 2023

It’ll quieten down in the coming weeks, but right now everyone is talking about that whole Barbenheimer thing. Are you Team Barbie or Team Oppenheimer? Someone’s marketing department is getting a bonus this year. 

So what is Xbox’s Barbenheimer? That’s what we want to know. Well, look no further than August 10th. On that one glorious Thursday in August, we’re getting Atlas Fallen, Stray and – a personal highlight – Stray Gods: The Roleplaying Musical. We’re calling it Stratlas Day, and you can’t stop us. 

Oh, and there are other cracking games out this month. The Holiday Season starts early this year, as we dine out on Madden NFL 24, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Immortals of Aveum and more. Yum.

Want to know what we think are the 13 best new Xbox and Game Pass games you should be playing on your Xbox in August 2023? 

Gord

gord
Gord. Grim? Great? GOTY?

Gord is a grimy-looking adventure-strategy game with a cracking pedigree. It’s published by Team17 who have a nose for a high-quality indie, and its developers are Convenant.dev, who are a gaggle of ex-CD Projekt creatives. If they can bring even a fraction of the quality of their previous games, then we’re in for a cracker. 

Mired in Slavic folktales, it’s a grim-fantasy tale where you build and manage a community. Construct fortifications so that your people can be protected against enemy tribes and gruesome monsters, but then you’re worrying about the plagues and infighting from within the walls. That’s before you venture out into the wilds, looking for quests and resources. 

Pack some waders: Gord looks gruesome.

Atlas Fallen

atlas fallen
Yep, Atlas Fallen looks like it’s going to smash it

Oof, just think of the friction burns. Atlas Fallen’s killer app is sand-surfing. It’s absolutely stuffed with situations where you can glide along the yellow powder. It must really get in the cracks. 

Developed by Deck13 who are probably best known for The Surge series, it’s almost outrageously gorgeous. The vast, sandy dunes are expansive and beg to be explored. But the real emphasis is on combat, as things go a bit Monster Hunter when you encounter hulking creatures. It’s at this point that your shape-changing weapons get wielded and some dynamic one-on-one combat kicks into gear.

Atlas Fallen could be a dark horse for game of the month, perhaps – whisper it – even more than that.

Stray

stray
The little kitty comes to Xbox

Wind back a few months, and we would have said that Stray would never come to Xbox. But a surprise announcement in the Annapurna Games Showcase meant that Stray was not only scampering onto Xbox, but was doing so in a matter of months. 

Why should you care? Stray isn’t short of plaudits. It was nominated for Game of the Year at The Game Awards 2022, which should give you some idea of the quality that it’s got in its litter tray. Plus it has you controlling a cute old tabby, experiencing a cyberpunk-esque world from a cat’s-eye view. 

Makes a nice difference from all the stabby-stabby and shooting stuff.

Moving Out 2

moving out 2 keyart
Ready to go Moving Out again?

As it happens, we’re on a run of three games that avoid the usual stabby-stabby and shooting stuff. August sees the launch of a sequel to multiplayer favourite Moving Out, as Team17 stick a flag in August and claim it as theirs.

Moving Out 2’s big talking point is the inclusion of online multiplayer. Now you can lose friends digitally, as well as in real-life. Woo! Coordinate with randos to move eccentric individuals in and out of their homes. Thanks to inter-galactic portals, proceedings are less Earth-bound than before, making this altogether a more wacky and imaginative moving-home sim. 

Marble It Up! Ultra

marble it up ultra keyart
We’re calling it – GOTY!

Aw man, now this is bringing back memories. The team behind Xbox Live classic Marble Blast Ultra are back, seventeen years after the first game (gosh, has it really been so long), to roll over your toes with a new spherical puzzle game. 

With sixty levels, one-hundred marbles and weekly challenges, there’s a good reason why ‘Ultra’ is tucked onto the end of that Marble It Up! Ultra title. If the original game is anything to go by, we will be cursing physics, climbing leaderboards and collecting power-ups as we race for the best times. 

Seventeen years though! Where has it all gone?

Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew

shadow gambit the cursed crew
Joining the Cursed Crew?

Mimimi Games have quietly become one of our studios to watch. First making an impact on us with Shadow Tactics, they dropped Desperados III and suddenly we started paying attention. If you want real-time stealth and strategy action, then Mimimi know their beans. 

This time round, we’re heading to the Caribbean. You’re the human captain of a ghost ship – one that has its own soul, no less – and your task is to build a crew, take to the seas and find the lost treasure of Captain Mordechai. The problem is that the Inquisition is after you (nobody expects them!), which is the reason for all that stealthing and adventure. 

Oh, and Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew looks gorgeous enough that you’ll regret hiding one eye behind an eyepatch.

Madden NFL 24

madden nfl 24
Expect some tweaks in Madden NFL 24

Ah yes, the annual release that I struggle to write about more than any other. It’s when I go running to the EA website in the hope that there’s some juicy bulletpoints to regurgitate, because I’m buggered if I know anything about American Football. 


Ahem. This time out with Madden NFL 24, you can expect a complete overhaul to the FieldSENSE™ system, new player animations with SAPIEN Technology (honestly, are they making this stuff up on the fly?) and smarter AI. 

If you like more incomprehensible jargon, then there’s also Skill-Based Passing 2.0 and Hit Everything 2.0 chucked in for good measure. 

Oh, and don’t forget that the money pit of Madden Ultimate Team™ is present and correct, resetting all that lovely Madden NFL 23 progress so you have to start all over again! Hut-hut!

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre

the texas chain saw massacre screen keyart
A massacre is coming

Dead by Daylight and Friday the 13th fans rejoice! You have another asymmetrical horror game to ‘enjoy’, as Sumo Interactive tackle The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. It’s enough to get us onto our human-skin covered sofa and pick up our custom-made Ear-lite Controller. 

It is everything you would hope and expect. Either you are playing as one of the Slaughter Family, decorating your house with players on meathooks, or you’re a scream queen, running around the maps and trying to gather enough resources and material to escape. 

With Friday the 13th: The Game soon to be delisted, it may be time to hop ship and get a different dose of ‘70s horror.

Immortals of Aveum

immortals of aveum keyart 2
Which way will Immortals of Aveum go? We’re hopeful…

Bit of a curveball this, and Immortals of Aveum could go any which way. Coming from EA (sturdy, well known publishers), it’s a debut game from Ascendant Studios (less well known), but is being led by the creative director of Dead Space and Call of Duty. Mixed bag, that. 

The pitch is that it’s a first-person shooter but with magic, and it’s purely a single-player game rather than anything more live service-bound. Perhaps we should treat it as an action progression from Hogwarts Legacy

We’re less sure about the emo Jak as the main character, but the world and surrounding art gives us hope. Jak is aiming to join the Immortals, the champion protectors of Lucium, and he’s chosen a time when the world is about to be swallowed up by ancient forces. 

You couldn’t have submitted the application a few week’s ago, Jak?

Blasphemous 2

blasphemous 2 keyart
Team17 are back with Blasphemous II

Ooh, nice: I wasn’t aware that the Blasphemous sequel was out this month, but there it is, glowing up our release calendar. Blasphemous, if you haven’t played it, was a rather brill little hack-and-slasher that came out in 2019, and it did a better job than Dante’s Inferno (the game) at delivering a twisted interpretation of the afterlife. It fully deserved a sequel, and now here we are. 

The story continues from the Wounds of Eventide DLC from the original game, as The Penitent One has been tossed back into a cycle of death and rebirth, all so he can face The Miracle and the birth of another miracle child. So far, so Blasphemous 1. But we’re promised a completely non-linear world, more choice in character progression, and even bigger, more daunting bosses in Blasphemous 2

That’s the good stuff.

Daymare 1994: Sandcastle

daymare 1994 sandcastle keyart
Wanna build a sandcastle?

Daymare: 1998 was a fun – if derivative and clunky – love letter to the ‘90s survival horror. You just know it had a poster of Chris Redfield up in its room. But that leaves it lots of room for technical improvements and a unique identity. Perfect sequel fodder, then.

Daymare 1994: Sandcastle hasn’t done things by halves. It looks like a completely different game, moving several notches up the fidelity ladder, and introducing what seems to be a more electric-flavoured feel to its enemies. 

That Sandcastle moniker is a bit of a red herring by the way: you’re not fighting through the Raccoon City mansion, redone in sand (which we would buy, btw Capcom). It’s the name of an operation that investigates the very first outbreak that led to Daymare: 1998. 

EVERSPACE 2

everspace 2 header
The hotly anticipated sequel

Oh neat-o, we weren’t aware that EVERSPACE 2 was out this month. Full of surprises. The sequel to the well-received space shooter came out in April on PC, is now docking with Xbox and other consoles. 

If you’re not well-versed in what it offers, imagine a fast-paced, single-player space shooter with lovely, luminescent visuals, that has a habit of straying off piste to do a bit of mining, crafting and trading. 

It’s Elite Dangerous on fast-forward, and we mean that as a compliment. 

It has you playing as a clone called Adam (bit on the nose, that) as you try to find your place in the universe, and it’s ratcheted a ‘Very Positive’ on Steam. Bodes rather well. 

WrestleQuest

wrestlequest
Pin em, in WrestleQuest

As a child of the ‘80s, WrestleQuest makes us all kinds of happy. We want to find our old Legion of Doom costumes (won’t fit: we don’t care), apply the face makeup and practice jumping from the top-rope. 

Unlike a lot of the recent indie wrestling games that we’ve been grappling with, WrestleQuest is undoubtedly the most imaginative, whimsical and nostalgia-fuelled. It’s a ‘hero’s journey in tights’ as the promotional material says, as you take your newbie wrestler on an adventure through a magical realm with wrestling greats as your mentors. Macho Man Randy Savage is among them, as you fight in the ring and out of it, dropping powerbombs on mythical enemies. 

It’s a fever dream brought on from Papa Shango’s spells, and we can’t wait to see what it’s got hiding under the ring. 


But there’s more

We had to apply a vigorous filtering system to just get to thirteen of the best new Xbox games for August, as there are some fantastic games that we had to ignore. Stray Gods: The Roleplaying Musical and Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon hurt the most, so make sure to keep an eye out for those two. 

In terms of September, things start hotting up. Games flow like the melting of the Arctic Circle, as we get a little game called Starfield, plus Lies of P, Mortal Kombat 1, EA Sports FC 24 and more. 

For now, let us know what new Xbox games you’ll be playing from our August 2023 list on your Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S and through Game Pass. The comments are below. 

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Daniel
9 months ago

I can’t decide which one to dive into first; each title seems more thrilling than the last. Thanks for putting this list together; it’s a real gaming paradise for Xbox enthusiasts like myself. Time to clear my schedule and embark on some epic virtual journeys. Keep up the great work!

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