The free Xbox Games with Gold for December 2021 have leaked, with four free games being handed out to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and Xbox Live Gold subscribers. It’s the same story as usual, with a selection of games that can while away the winter nights as you wait for Christmas.
Update: Microsoft has now officially announced the December lineup, confirming this leak.
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What are December 2021’s Xbox Games with Gold?
The four games are the usual mixture of two Xbox One titles and two Xbox or Xbox 360 games that can be played via backward compatibility. Everything is obviously playable on Xbox Series X|S as well. The four games will be made available at different points through the month, as follows:
The reveal comes from French deals site Dealabs and the reliable leaker Billbil-kun. They have accurately posted a good few months of PS Plus’ bundled games now, running their sources through the Dealabs moderation team each time. We expect Microsoft to officially announce the games next Monday or Tuesday.
So, do December’s Games with Gold add up to a good month for subscribers, or will they disappoint in comparison to December’s PS Plus once again? Let’s dive in.
We start off with The Escapists 2, the more refined sequel to the prison breakout simulator, and a game that I’ve been rather tempted to buy on several occasions. In our glowing The Escapists 2 review, Aran said
The Escapists 2 is a game that has added a lot to the formula that gave its predecessor success, while managing to maintain its core identity. If you played the original Escapists then getting the sequel is a no brainer, while if you fancy taking on a generally very challenging game where you have to rely on your own wits then The Escapists 2 may be just what you’re looking for. […] When you finally escape you’ll feel elation as you’ll love it when your plan comes together.
The fifth game of six in the Tropico series, Tropico 5 is a very well known quantity (and the last in the series developed by Haemimont Games), giving players a banana republic to manage on a local and global stage. This was originally released in 2014 for PC, Mac, Linux and Xbox 360, for the for December’s Games with Gold, you’re getting the Xbox One port that launched in the middle of 2016. The Penultimate Edition includes the two add=ons, “The Big Cheese” and “Hostile Takeover”, as well as 5 Xbox One exclusive maps.
Though we never reviewed the original Orcs Must Die!, you can find our thoughts on the third game here. This is one of the classics of the tower defence genre, as you lay down traps and defences and then do battle in third person with wave after wave of Orcs rushing to try and reach your portal. Can you survive?
We have to dive back to 2011 for our Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet review, a game which drew a rare 10/10 from us! One of the absolute gems from the Xbox Live Arcade programme, Dan concluded:
Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet is a triumph in almost every way possible. Stunning to look at, wonderfully crafted environments and challenging puzzles all add up to an experience you really shouldn’t miss out on. If you enjoy a good adventure, but don’t like being slapped in the face by narrative every 30 seconds, then this is the game for you.
Can I still download the November 2021 Games with Gold Games?
Yes! You’ve still got a week to grab most of last month’s games. Due to Microsoft’s staggered windows Rocket Knight has already exited the service, but the the other three games are still available:
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