Xbox Game Pass gets surprise day one bonus – a cracking 3D Metroidvania sequel

An unexpected – but certainly not unwelcome – to Xbox Game Pass adds even more value to the service today.

Many of the most exciting games on Xbox’s unbeatable Game Pass service come in the form of the bonus little games that seemingly come out of nowhere. Some of the headline indie games on the service debuted by way of these last-minute surprise additions (Coffee Talk comes to mind). And whilst some games launched in this manner don’t do too well – Generation Zero, we’d like a word – we’re never going to look a bonus addition to the service in the mouth.

Today, Supra Games UG dropped Supraland: Six Inches Under, a follow-up to its underdog Metroidvania puzzle game Supraland, as a surprise day-one addition to Xbox Game Pass. And it spins out the formula of the previous game in deeper and more interesting ways.

So, what the hell is this game? Supraland: Six Inches Under puts you in the role of a very stressed Blue Plumber, tasked with rescuing and protecting the townsfolk of Supraland after a tragic event that beset the miniature population in the form of “The Rakening”. The (literal) sandbox has been blown wide open, and now your job is to delve into the loamy land beneath to make sure these strange little people can continue on with their tiny lives in peace.

Similarly to the first game, Six Inches Under is a first-person 3D “metroidvania”, according to the developer, that is “a unified world filled with paths to discover, and secrets or sub-areas that can only be accessed once you return with a new ability or item”. The game is slightly less open than the original, thanks to the fact we’re going underground.

“Paths are more defined and distinct: caves and corridors connected by a central hub called Cagetown, where all the toy-people survivors of the dreadful Rakening dwell,” says Connor Bridgeman, senior brand manager at Humble Games.

Stick a fork in me, I’m done.

Keeping your intrigue as you spelunk deep down into this suburban underground are the game’s pride and joy: puzzles. By the developer’s own estimate, puzzling elements of the game make up almost half of the whole experience, and the team at the studio concocted a multi-tiered system to ensure that only the most riveting and satisfying challenges made it through the editing process.

If these are anything like the first game, they’ll live and die on that addictive “aha!” moment, when you figure out the process and all the remaining steps flow together like mercury until you’ve teased out the solution.

Do you need to have played the first Supraland game in order to enjoy this one? Not at all. You can dive in blind (oh, the joy of Games Pass!) and still understand quite quickly what the whole thing is about. Think about a miniature world, somewhere between Grounded, the TT Lego games, and Hollow Knight, and you’ll have a vague idea of what to expect. For returning players, there’s a revised combat mechanic and new skills you engage with that make this more than just an expansion to the first game.

So, if you want a game that is “roughly 55% exploration, 40% solving puzzles and 5% combat,” look no further than the surprise addition of Supraland: Six Inches Under, which is available on Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass today.

With this, Ravenlokthe upcoming Planet of Lana, and the other great titles we’ve seen added to the service over the past few weeks (ignore Redfall), it’s almost possible to pretend that you’re not missing out on The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom if you’re an Xbox player.