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Xbox’s Games With Gold for December are... well, we’ve never heard of them either

November’s selections are still available

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Xbox’s Games with Gold logo on a green background Image: James Bareham/Polygon
Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

Xbox Live’s Games With Gold subscription benefit limps to the end of the year with two Xbox One games we’ve never written about: Colt Canyon and Bladed Fury.

Colt Canyon, which launched in 2020 for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows PC, and Xbox One, is a top-down roguelite shooter with cooperative multiplayer support. Imagine a spaghetti western at lower resolution than the NES’ Gun.Smoke and you’re halfway there. Here’s a YouTube video to fill in the rest.

Bladed Fury launched in 2018, also for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows PC, and Xbox One. Cloaked in Chinese history and mythology, players deploy very precise, combo-based attacks against mortals and deities alike. Again, the best explanation is a YouTube video:

Games With Gold began in 2013 as a response to PlayStation Plus’ free games lineup (which was, itself, a response to Xbox Live, which shrewdly got players to sign up for a monthly subscription in addition to buying a console). The service used to offer four titles a month, but cut back to two in October after Microsoft determined there were no more Xbox 360 games to serve up. An Xbox Live Gold subscription costs $9.99 a month.

The better value, which Microsoft, clearly, would rather everyone buy, is Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, at $14.99 per month, which gives subscribers access to online multiplayer, the PC Game Pass and Xbox Game Pass libraries, and EA Play’s catalog of games to boot.

Xbox One and Xbox Series X Gold subscribers may still pick up November’s free games, Praetorians — HD Remaster until Thursday, Nov. 30, and Dead End Job until Dec. 15.