Xbox Live Gold members don’t always have the best games offered each month, especially with Game Pass looking more and more inviting every month.
However, we’re now at two months in a row for having a decent offering of free games if you’re a Live Gold subscriber. Here are the offerings for December and the dates they’re available to download:
- The Escapists 2, December 1 to 31
- Tropico 5 – Penultimate Edition, December 16 to January 15
- Orcs Must Die!, December 1 to 15
- Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet, December 16 to 31
Xbox Live Gold December 2021 Highlights
The Escapists 2 is an adorable-looking prison escape game that puts your time management skills to good use. It can be a bit repetitive at the beginning until you get the hang of the flow of things. Your ultimate goal is to break out of prison, but how you do that and what you do during your time behind bars is up to you. Originally released in 2015, this sandbox/open-world/puzzle game should be at the top of your list for this month’s games.
Tropico 4 was offered as a free game back in May, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that Tropico 5 is on the docket about six months later. If you’re in the mood for a city/world-building game that takes you from colonial times to past the 21st century, this is your game for the month. The Penultimate Edition also includes the add-ons of The Big Cheese and Hostile Takeover.
Orcs Must Die! does the tower defense pretty well. Released in 2011, it’s a little dated today, but still relatively playable (even if servers are shut down). It gets more entertaining the longer you play it. Each level has puzzles that aren’t always as straightforward as you might think, some of them giving off Portal-esque vibes where you need to leave and clear your head before you can come back and figure it out.
Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet will sate your desire for a solid Metroidvania game this month. The animation is absolutely beautiful and it’s unfortunately far too short of a game to fully appreciate it. Play as a cute little UFO exploring a crazy alien world full of tools and puzzles. Honestly, if you’re a fan of Hollow Knight, you’ll love this game.
Of course, don’t forget you still have access to Kingdom Two Crowns from the November free games through December 15th.