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Two iconic indies are joining Xbox Game Pass in August

A Short Hike and Celeste lead the lineup

a humanoid bird stands in front of a pixel campfire in A Short Hike Image: Adam Robinson-Yu
Nicole Carpenter is a senior reporter specializing in investigative features about labor issues in the game industry, as well as the business and culture of games.

Two of the best games released in 2018 and 2019, respectively, are joining the Xbox Game Pass lineup in August: Celeste and A Short Hike. Alongside these two iconic indies, Microsoft is adding Broforce Forever, Limbo, Airborne Kingdom, and Everspace 2.

Celeste is available immediately on console and PC, as well as via the cloud. Polygon awarded Celeste the number five slot on our 2018 game of the year list. If you haven’t given it a try, it’s the perfect time to know — the game is not only one of the best games of 2018, but one of the more important games of that decade. Celeste is a platforming game about climbing a mountain, both physically and mentally. Though Celeste is a difficult game, it’s one that uses that struggle to build its intimate, moving narrative. In our GOTY essay, former Polygon writer and New York Magazine editor Emily Heller called Celeste a “therapeutic personal challenge.”

A Short Hike, which is also about climbing a mountain, is one of my favorite games ever. It’s a quiet and unassuming game set on a mountainside within the Hawk Peak Provincial Park. You play as Claire, a teenage bird who’s visiting family on a that remote island park, as she’s climbing to its highest point to use her cell phone; that journey has so many delightful places and animals to discover.

Here’s when and where these games and others will become available to Xbox Game Pass subscribers:

  • Celeste — available Aug. 1 via cloud, console, and Windows PC
  • A Short Hike — available Aug. 3 via cloud, console, and Windows PC
  • Broforce Forever — available Aug. 8 via cloud, console, and Windows PC
  • Limbo — available Aug. 9 via cloud, console, and Windows PC
  • Airborne Kingdom — available Aug. 10 via cloud, console, and Windows PC
  • Everspace 2 — available Aug. 15 via cloud and Xbox Series X

As with any monthly Xbox Game Pass update, Microsoft is taking several games off the service. Death Stranding, Edge of Eternity, Midnight Fight Express, and Total War: Warhammer 3 will be removed from Game Pass on Aug. 15.

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