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Best xCloud games to play and take true advantage of Xbox streaming

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Project xCloud is growing and changing fast. Though it's still in preview, Microsoft's game streaming service is expected to make its official launch later this year and today it already offers nearly 100 games. But with so many to choose from, it can be hard to decide what to stream first. 

We've been playing xCloud for several months and have put together this up to date list so you know where to start. Some of these games fit the platform perfectly, while others are just downright great games no matter how you're playing them, but collectively we say starting with these top 25 xCloud games is how to get your money's worth out of xCloud… Okay, admittedly it's free right now, but watch those data caps!

25. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons 

(Image credit: Starbreeze)

If you missed Brothers until now, it makes a great case for one of your first experiences on xCloud. This touching tale of family and loss comes from Josef Fares of A Way Out, and before the director reimagined co-op in that game, he introduced "single-player co-op" in Brothers. Each analog stick controls one of two titular brothers on their fantastical journey to save their dying father. The story will stick with you and the gameplay is creative and boundary-breaking, plus it all takes just two hours to beat, making it a wise choice for any wifi-enabled plane rides you may have coming up.

24. The Surge 

(Image credit: Focus Home Interactive)

If you love a soulslike, The Surge is one of the best to not come out of FromSoftware. In a phrase, it's sci-fi Dark Souls, but it adds its own special layers to the genre too, like a rewardingly detailed combat model that lets you hack at strong and weak points depending on what kind of scraps you need your enemies to drop. It's just as hard as the usual genre fare, though, so be careful not to toss your phone in frustration.

23. Children of Morta 

(Image credit: Dead Mage)

Children of Morta is a recent indie hit you may have missed, and if so, you should totally fix that. As a procedurally-generated dungeon crawler, it may sound like the kind of indie game you've played a dozen times before, but its exacting combat and range of options lets it go deeper than virtually all games that share space in the crowded genre. The Bergson family makes up the wide-ranging cast of fantasy heroes, and each of them offers their own play style and skill tree. Levels are tough but co-op makes it better, as always.

22. Cities: Skylines

(Image credit: Colossal Order)

Cities: Skylines was once famous for being the indie city-builder that outperformed SimCity. That remains true today, but the gap has only gotten wider. Cities: Skylines has added an impressive range of expansions that have added things like concerts, parks, natural disasters, and even the ability to make your whole city go green. On xCloud, it's a dazzling proposition because Cities is the sort of game that can be hard to get back into if you step away too long given its density. But on mobile, you can stay in touch, perfecting the next city block even when you're away from your Xbox.

21. Battle Chasers: Nightwar

(Image credit: Airship Syndicate)

In virtually every way, Battle Chasers is a modern take on the classic JRPG, it just happens to not come from Japan. Instead, this party- and turn-based RPG comes from Airship Syndicate, a relatively new Texas studio that includes the artist behind Darksiders. That credit is obvious when you see the game, as some characters and monsters look torn right out of the action series, but the game stands up on its own merits too, providing a deep RPG experience that will feel nostalgic and excitingly new at once.

Turn to the next page for more of the best xCloud games...