Microsoft has announced the Xbox Games with Gold January 2023 lineup. As ever, there are two games up for grabs next month, and they're both visually appealing puzzlers, so I hope you've got your thinking cap on. If not, you've got until January 1st to find it.
Both Games with Gold titles are playable on Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S, after Microsoft ditched Xbox 360 games from the Gold lineup back in October. You can redeem these games if you're an Xbox Live Gold member or an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscriber, since the latter contains the former as an included benefit.
Your first game next month is Iris Fall, a dreamlike 3D puzzler set in a pseudo-monochromatic world. You are Iris, a young woman who follows a black cat into "a labyrinthian world of light and dark", according to Microsoft. You'll face challenging puzzle scenarios, and you'll need your wits about you to solve them. Iris Fall is available from January 1st to January 31st.
The second Xbox Games with Gold title next month is Autonauts, a cutesy sim in which you must use automation to transform uninhabited planets into bustling centers of civilization. To do so, you will build worker droids that can gather resources and do much more besides. There's never been a cuter way to play god. Autonauts lands on Games with Gold on January 16th, and it'll be available until February 15th.
It's fair to say that the Games with Gold lineup hasn't exactly been stellar for a while now, and the absence of Xbox 360 games makes Xbox Live Gold an even less attractive prospect by itself. However, if you're already an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate member, these two games are nice additions to Game Pass' already-huge library, so give them a shot if you're in the market for puzzle games.