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June’s Xbox Game Pass lineup is a chance to play 2022’s most overlooked racing game

Take Need for Speed Unbound for a spin on June 22

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A close-up of a custom car back in Need for Speed Unbound’s garage, showing the livery, decals, and huge custom spoiler on the back. Image: Criterion Games/Electronic Arts
Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

EA Play and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers get a chance to play 2022’s most overlooked racing game, Need for Speed Unbound, with the update coming to both services this week.

Need for Speed Unbound launched in early December, after the glut of holiday-shopping-season AAA releases. It caught eyes by putting anime-style characters (and vehicle flair) on the series’ usual photorealistic fleet, but on the whole, Criterion’s first NFS game in a decade was a solid recovery for a series that seemed to have lost its way in the interim. We gave it a Polygon Recommends badge for solid driving gameplay and realistic performance that lets the player spend a lot of time getting to know their favorite car, rather than just collecting a fleet of one-use unlocks that always finish first.

Need for Speed Unbound is available through the EA Play library that comes with Game Pass Ultimate, the highest tier of service that affords access to everything (PC, console, and cloud-streaming play). It joins both subscriptions on June 22.

In addition to NFS Unbound, PC and Xbox Game Pass subscribers will get access to:

  • The Bookwalker (Console and PC) — June 22. This is a narrative adventure launching the same day on Game Pass (as well as PC via Steam, GOG, and the Epic Games Store, plus PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5). In this narrative turn-based adventure, the player is a writer who has the means of jumping into the realms of the books he reads and writes. Legendary artifacts like Mjolnir and Excalibur are among the treasures to be retrieved.
  • Bramble: The Mountain King (Cloud, Console, and PC) — June 27. A “grim adventure set in a world inspired by dark, Nordic fables,” Bramble launched in late April, also for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.
  • FIST: Forged in Shadow Torch (Cloud, PC, and Xbox Series X) — June 27: This puzzle-platforming Metroidvania was announced in the summer of 2020 and launched in the fall of 2021. The player character is an anthropomorphic rabbit named Rayton, who is out to save his other animal friends from the machines who have overrun their city. FIST is making its Xbox debut here; it’s also available on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5 and Windows PC.
  • Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town (Console and PC) — June 29: In this cozycore farming sim that launched in 2020, players take over their late grandfather’s farm to restore it to its former, abundant glory. It was added to the PlayStation Plus Extra library in May.
  • Arcade Paradise (Console and PC) — July 3: We called Arcade Paradise a “love letter to management sims and ’90s arcades” in our August 2022 review. In it, the player is in their late teens, tasked with managing their father’s laundromat. Naturally, they turn it from a dull washer-and-dryer parlor into a jamming arcade, where all the cabinets are playable. The game is also available on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and Windows PC via Steam.
  • Sword and Fairy: Together Forever (Console and PC) — July 5: This Chinese-made role-playing game first launched in 2021, and is a party-based adventure in which players explore the stories and rivalries among three factions: Human, Deity, and Demon. It’s also available on PlayStation 4 and PS5.

Of course, with a batch of new games joining the service, some older titles will be leaving as of June 30. They are:

  • DJMax Respect 5
  • Empire of Sin
  • Matchpoint — Tennis Championships
  • Olija
  • Omori
  • Road 96

Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass both cost $9.99 a month. PC Game Pass includes EA Play access, which offers another 70 games on PC. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, at $14.99 per month, gives subscribers access to everything — the PC Game Pass and Xbox Game Pass libraries, EA Play on both console and PC — as well as Xbox Live Gold membership, which is needed for online multiplayer.

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