The Xbox Games Pass is one of the best investments in gaming from a consumer standpoint. It offers a huge list of games with titles rotating in and out during various points in the month. With over a hundred games posted at any given moment and access to special offers, it makes sense to get as much mileage out of it as possible. The only downside is something I refer to as “The Netflix Problem” where sometimes it feels like you have to sift through a lot of things that don’t appeal to you as a player to find something worth dusting off. For every worthwhile venture like Tell Me Why, Battletoads, or Batman: Arkham Knight there were several that were always passed on. Case in point, after I downloaded it and tried to enjoy it twice, I will never reinstall Bleeding Edge. Nor will I seek to try Crackdown 3 or Disneyland Adventures. It would be nice to shuffle out games or mark that I don’t enjoy games like Killer Instinct so I can filter them out with newer games. That being said it is still worth getting Games Pass Ultimate. Below are some of the games I have been enjoying off Games Pass as well as some other gems I tried out recently. Battletoads (Xbox One, PC) I never played the original Battletoads but as I understand it they were pretty challenging classics. It seems rather fitting then that the 2020 entry into the series has some of that same difficulty. Battletoads follows the three hero toads from the first games back after a 26-year hiatus to try to regain relevancy. Rash, Zits, and Pimple have to team up with long time arch enemy Dark Queen to destroy these aliens that took over and are strong holding the galaxy. The combat to the game is pretty simplistic offering both light and heavy attacks. Those attacks can also be mixed in with tongue-based attacks that push or throw enemies depending on which way the player flicks. The puzzles to the game ranged from mindlessly dull to incredibly stressful depending on the difficulty. The security systems would sometimes start overloading within a few seconds of starting the sequence. Overall the game is great. I wanted to hate it at first because it felt like dropping the 90s into today’s world. Over a very short amount of time though that signature charm and humor won me over. It even helped me overlook those stupendously aggravating and drawn out vehicle sections in the latter half of the game. I recommend getting the game via Xbox Games Pass to save the most money, but if you would rather play it at your own pace then feel free to drop the twenty dollars on this game. It is a solid afternoon’s effort to play and will give the player a ton of achievements on the first playthrough. Horizon Zero Dawn (PS4, PC) The complete edition of this game is well worth the price as it offers even more content to the player. Better yet, on PlayStation, it only costs two dollars extra to get the complete edition of the game. This is probably the best way to enjoy Horizon Zero Dawn as the complete edition cost almost double on PC. The standard edition of Horizon Zero Dawn runs about eighteen dollars on PS4. The complete edition runs about twenty dollars across the board for PS4. On PC however, since Horizon Zero Dawn just released the complete edition on that platform it runs about fifty dollars. Still, worth the money but on a tight budget I would rather spend twenty instead of fifty for virtually the same experience. Now that that is out of the way, let’s talk about the game overall. Following the protagonist, Aloy who from birth was cast out by her tribe due to whomever her mother was. We get to see her young childhood, coming to terms with not fitting into her tribe as well as her training from surrogate guardian Rost. Then comes the moment where she is set to find out more about who she is as she enters this right of passage for the tribe that cast her out. If she finishes, she’s back in. That all goes tits up when an outside group attacks and burns the village to the ground killing many villagers. Things get even crazier from there as Aloy learns she was the target of the whole thing sending things spiraling even further. The game features a pretty decent combat system focusing on gathering resources and crafting needed ammo and health items. Players need to use the tech that Aloy has found to scan enemies for weak points as well as travel paths. Horizon Zero Dawn also features wonderful RPG elements that make the game more immersive. A branching dialogue tree, as well as clothing swaps, weapon upgrades, and character tree all, make the experience worthwhile and one of the true standouts for the PS4. Night of The Dead (PC) Have you ever wanted to take the crafting and fun of 7 Days to Die but make it a little simpler in certain ways? Night of The Dead does all of that in a surprisingly decent way for an early access game. Most of what there is to complain about in Night of The Dead is super nitpicky and will likely be fixed soon with coming patches. The core of the gameplay boils down to building a base and surviving a world filled with the undead. This isn’t as easy as it seems as everything that is required to build a base also requires the player to build the tools to do so. Case in point in order to get boards for a wall the player needs to have the right bench built for it which requires several pieces scavenged from the world. It isn’t super hard to do but don’t expect to have Fort Kickass built in under an hour. Combat is passable although I don’t understand why it takes several arrows in a zombies head to put it down when Aloy is chilling a few game realms over destroying whole ass baby Autobots with two shots and a spear. It gets a little easier when you get a crossbow, but at least the starting knife does a great job at dispatching zombies. Even the nightly hordes can be dispatched with it given enough skill. Speaking of the zombies they overall are okay however their sprint animation is a little weird it doesn’t throw the game off but it is noticeable. The other odds and ends don’t really detract from the game either. Birds get stuck in objects which can be funny when hunting. Weapons so far do not deteriorate so the starting ax you make to knock trees down with will stay with you but is too awkward for combat. Overall, twenty-five dollars isn’t bad for this game. I played about two hours of it and I already want to start a server with friends and am trying to get some of them to buy it. Pick of The Month: Tell Me Why (Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, PC) I can not scream loud enough the praises I have for Tell Me Why. It has a superb depiction of trans character writing that does justice to trans people and some of what they have to go through. Following the tale of two twins returning to their childhood home to clean it out and sell it. The two of them haven’t seen each other in a decade or so due to some extreme events. Their mother tried to kill them and cornered Tyler on the docks near their home. Forced to save her brother Alyson stabs her mom with a pair of scissors she had just used to cut Tyler’s hair. The focus of the game is to find out why she actually reacted that way and if the past is as clear as they remember it. The twins communicate through telepathy, the dialogue matters, and choosing which way events played out changes things in a wonderfully crafted and gripping story. It isn’t always perfect as some of the puzzles involving aspects like the childhood book their mother wrote can be a skosh annoying but it is still a great game I cannot wait to finish. Grab the first three episodes now on Xbox Games Pass or get the entire season for just thirty dollars. Whether you’re looking for something to kill a few hours or an entire afternoon these games will help you do that and more. If you have any suggestions for games to wind up on future Games For Budget Gamers let us know in the comments below. Until then respect trans people, eat pizza, and practice self-love. Show some empathy to others, we’re all trapped on this decaying rock, don’t be cruel especially to yourself.