Another month, another batch of Games With Gold. As always, these games are only “free” if you have an active subscription to Xbox Live Gold. July’s Games With Gold are:
- Planet Alpha (July 1 through July 31)
- Rock of Ages 3: Make & Break (July 16 to August 15)
- Midway Arcade Origins (July 16 through July 31)
- Conker: Live & Reloaded (July 1 through July 15)
Few would call any of these games blockbusters, but there’s something to like about each of them. Planet Alpha is a 2D sci-fi puzzle platformer with striking art. The competitive tower defense game Rock of Ages 3: Make & Break stands out with its sharp humor. Midway Arcade Origins compiles a bunch of classics. And Conker is...well, it’s Conker!
Xbox Live Gold, which costs $10 a month, is Microsoft’s premium membership for Xbox. If you want to play Xbox games online, you’ll need to sign up, though Microsoft recently lifted the restrictions for free-to-play games. (Well, only after a loud public uproar.) You also get a Gold subscription if you’re a member of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, the premium tier of Xbox Game Pass that costs $15 a month.
Historically, Games With Gold offers four games per month for current members, two of which are from prior generations. Some months, as in February of this year, Microsoft puts up five games. It’s a fine deal—you can’t beat “free,” after all—but it’s tough not to feel like Xbox Live Gold, on its own merits, is losing some allure. Earlier this year, Microsoft retired the base “Xbox Live” name. And they’re literally bundling Xbox Live Gold in with Xbox Game Pass, an enormously popular games-on-demand program that’s become so popular it has sparked an unaffiliated viral marketing campaign.