Xbox Live's Games with Gold for February 2019 have been announced, bringing a ray of warm sunshine into a month that's set to be full of frosty days. If you plan on staying indoors under a duvet for the next few weeks, these free video games should help pass the time.
This month also sees another instance of Microsoft including an original Xbox game in the promo, playable on Xbox One via Backwards Compatibility – back in December's batch, 2005 action adventure Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction was temporarily free.
There's still time to pick up some of the titles from last month's Games with Gold promotion if you have not already. The World Rally Championship is still free to download until February 15, and you have until the end of the day on January 31 to pick up Celeste on Xbox One and Far Cry 2 on Xbox 360.
These are the titles that are free for Xbox Live Gold members this month, with links to each listing on the Xbox website.
Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon: February 1 – February 28
This 2D homage to the classic NES Castlevania games is a prequel to the upcoming Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, the crowdfunded spiritual successor to the franchise's installations from Symphony of the Night onwards.
While the Ritual of the Night will have a Metroidvania approach (unlocking new abilities to access previously locked areas and so on), Curse of the Moon is a more straightforward action platformer with distinct levels played in a linear way.
For fans of the iconic horror adventure series who are chomping at the bit for Ritual of the Night, this retro companion game should help you over when ROTN is released later this year.
Super Bomberman R: February 16 – March 15
After a hiatus and some spin-offs of, we say, varying quality, Bomberman returned with this rebooted adventure. Retaining the series' gameplay formula, you'll rush around the top-down grid-based levels dropping bombs to clear paths and defeat opponents.
Alongside the campaign (solo or in co-op) there is a whole host of online and local modes with arenas to play them in.
Assassin's Creed: Rogue: February 1 – February 15
This 2014 sequel to Assassin's Creed IV: The Black Flag serves not only as a prequel to AC III but also sets up the events of AC: Unity, which, if you are one of those folks who's invested in the lore of franchise, some appeal despite Rogue is not too much of a departure from the formula.
The usual stealth action gameplay awaits, but what gives Rogue a little unique spin is that you play as a Templar, the series' bad guys. Protagonist Shay Cormac starts off as an Assassin but defects on the other side after becoming doubtful about the group's goals. DUN-DUN-DUNNN!
Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy: February 16 – February 28
Released on the original Xbox in 2003, Jedi Academy is an action shooter set in the Star Wars expanded universe that puts you in the shoes of a trainee Jedi Jaden Korr who gets caught up in a mission to defeat a Sith cult who's been stealing Force energy for nefarious purposes.
As well as an array of Force powers you can wield a lightsaber and firearms, switching the perspective between first and third person where appropriate.
There is also a multiplayer mode, though since the game's MP servers are now offline, this is limited to 4 local split screen players on the Xbox One.
How does Xbox Games with Gold work?
As a reward for keeping their Xbox Live Gold subscription, members get two free games with Gold a month to download for limited time on both Xbox One and Xbox 360. The titles range from older AAA blockbusters and cult indie hits to underrated gems and – very occasionally – a brand new release. Microsoft has sometimes included an original Xbox title in the batch.
The Xbox 360 and original Xbox games in the promotion are backwards compatible with Xbox One, meaning owners of Microsoft's current gen consol can effectively get four free games a month.
The games are yours to keep, even if you cancel your Xbox Live Gold subscription after downloading them. Just select the 'Gold' tab on your Xbox One or Xbox 360. Alternatively, you can use the Xbox website.
Even if you have not upgraded to an Xbox One yet, you can still get those games for free as long as you have an Xbox Live Gold account. Just sign in to the Xbox website, go to the title page listing and redeem the offer. The game will then appear in the console's 'Ready to install' list if you buy an Xbox One in the future.