Microsoft’s recent announcement of PC Game Pass’s arrival in Malaysia made waves among the local gaming community. The reason why PC Game Pass is lauded worldwide is that PC Game Pass comes with over 100 high-quality PC games, including new Xbox Game Studios releases on day one, classic Bethesda games, and an EA Play membership. There’s something for everyone to enjoy with a wide range of PC games across genres with new titles being added all the time.
Think of it as the Netflix of video games but instead of a catalogue of movies and tv shows, you get hundreds of different games, ranging from popular titles like Halo or Gears of War to lesser known indie games like What Remains of Edith Finch. However, if you’re only interested in games that offer you puzzles, mystery and exploration on PC Game Pass, look no further.
We’ve compiled the best indie games for players old and new which explore mysteries, puzzles, and engrossing storytelling that will satiate even the most curious of minds.
In Outer Wilds, you play a character who explores a solar system trapped in a 22-minute time loop that concludes with the sun going supernova. The player advances through the game by touring the solar system and learning clues about the time loop’s source. Outer Wilds’s unique way of telling a non-linear story is one of its best features. The game is riddled with immersive yet intriguing puzzles that offer a rewarding experience, with progression marked by how much the player learns along the way through each time loop. A cathartic experience of wisdom, relationships and exploration makes Outer Wilds one of the best games of the past few years.
An expansion of the game called Echoes of the Eye was released last year and adds a new exhibit to the observatory at the beginning of the game.
Superliminal is a puzzle video game that is played in first-person. The player-character is a participant in a dream treatment programme, but during the study, the character becomes caught in a recurring dream cycle and is coached on how to escape by the voice of the research’s administrator, Dr Glenn Pierce. The game’s whimsical use of the first-person camera and smart perspective manipulation puzzles wring something truly new out of video game cliches and mechanisms that most players will be familiar with. The game is often compared to the critically acclaimed first-person puzzle game Portal.
The Artful Escape
A teenage guitar prodigy embarks on a psychedelic journey to inspire his new stage persona, searching for who he isn’t in an adventure spanning stolen opera houses, melodic alien landscapes, and the impossible depths of the Cosmic Extraordinary in an attempt to escape the musical legacy of his uncle. The Artful Escape celebrates self-discovery, where the player finds his confidence to rock out as he uncovers the secrets by solving musical puzzles.
The Artful Escape was described by its developer as a story in the vein of “David Bowie travelling off from London on an interstellar trip to create Ziggy Stardust“.
In Spiritfarer, you play a ferry master who guides the deceased across mystical seas to finally release them into the afterlife. Spiritfarer tackles the heavy topic of death and those who are left behind, but instead of offering a grim perspective, the game handles death with a colourful and optimistic viewpoint. The spirits you meet along the way are all distinct individuals with their own backstories and mysteries to uncover. They’re all lovable additions to your quickly increasing mobile village.
Spiritfarer has a slice of life feel to it, offering a journey of meeting various charming characters who have their own somber, touching stories that will leave you feeling emotional.
You play as Sable, a young girl on a coming-of-age rite-of-passage who is on the lookout for a suitable mask so that she can rejoin her nomadic clan. Sable meets various personalities throughout her journey who offer rewards typically earned through puzzles. The game is a non-linear open world exploration video game in which the player can roam and explore. The narrative is explored through NPC interaction and environmental signals, such as remnants of an ancient society left to interpretation, rather than through conflict or a set storyline.
Sable’s best feature might not be its puzzles, but its positive perspective on growth. The game allows its players to sit idle and appreciate the moment or even by spending time with another person, all in a peaceful landscape.
Thalassophobia, anyone? When talking about first-person survival action-adventure games, Subnautica is often brought up for good reason. It offers both a nightmarish and beautiful view of the ocean and everything inside it, from the elegant fishes to the scarier monsters in the deeper part of the great big blue. The player takes control of Ryley Robinson, Aurora’s lone survivor, who is stranded on the isolated ocean planet 4546B. The main goal is to explore the ocean and survive its perils while also accomplishing activities that help the plot progress. The game allows players to gather resources, build tools, bases, and submersibles, and interact with the planet’s animals.
From handcrafting weapons to hunting for fish or scraping for parts, Subnautica offers a variety of enchanting deep-sea exploration, all from the comfort of your home.
Spelunky 2 is a 2D platform game much like its predecessor. You play as Ana, the daughter of the first game’s explorer, who travels to the Moon in search of her lost parents. Ana must collect valuables while navigating dangerous caves filled with nasty enemies and traps, and if Ana dies, the player will have to restart the game from scratch opening new pathways and difficulties to engage the player. Spelunky 2 offers a high risk vs reward design, challenging the player to rethink their strategies when it comes to taking their next step.
The game has a lot to offer. It’s a special kind of challenge that’s incredibly enjoyable to complete and always feels fair.
Twelve Minutes is a tense Hitchcock-inspired thriller about a husband who has to solve the murder accusations against his wife within 12 minutes or the time loop resets itself. Twelve Minutes shows us a top-down view of a house with only three rooms and all of the space taken up by the protagonists’ backstories. Each new session requires the player to explore the house and figure out how a range of seemingly unrelated objects can be utilised or combined to open up new conversational and logical pathways. The unconventional storytelling and noir sensibilities will satisfy murder-mystery fans with its twists and turns.
The game features the notable voices of James McAvoy, Daisy Ridley and Willem Dafoe.
Moving houses is usually a stressful experience in real life, but Unpacking makes the whole situation surprisingly comfortable. The game’s story is simple and takes you through a series of residences that reflect an invisible protagonist’s life from 1997 to 2018, and it turns out that the things they bring with them reveal a lot about them. The best part about this game is that it requires you to think about object placements, and each house comes with different objects for you to decorate your house however way you want it to look.
For the relaxation and enjoyment it delivers, as well as the intriguing, innovative ways it conveys narrative and meaning, Unpacking is certainly a game worth discovering.
What Remains of Edith Finch
Easily one of the best games on Game Pass, What Remains of Edith Finch narrates a surreal story of life, death and what gets left behind. The game follows Edith Finch, a 17-year-old girl who returns to her ancestral home and discovers the tragic circumstances of each one of her family member’s death. Already a cult classic, What Remains of Edith Finch is a walking simulator that places emotions at the forefront, with each family member’s tragic death ranging from humorous to heart-wrenching tales.
The game’s narrative is an enchanting story about love that will leave you very emotional, so ready some tissues before you play it.