Play Civilization and Overcooked for free on Xbox this weekend

xbox free weekend
(Image credit: Microsoft)

If you have an Xbox, you don’t need to worry about finding new games to play this weekend. As of today (May 6), Microsoft is offering three excellent games, free of charge, until Sunday. If you want to play Civilization VI, Overcooked or Call of the Sea, but didn’t feel like dishing out dozens of dollars for the privilege, now is your chance. All you need is an Xbox console and an Xbox Game Pass or Xbox Live Gold subscription.

Information comes from the official Xbox Wire blog, where marketing program manager Dan Hickey outlined the weekend promotion. The process is about as straightforward as it sounds. From Thursday, May 5 to Sunday, May 8, three Xbox games are free for Game Pass and Gold subscribers: Call of the Sea, Sid Meier’s Civilization VI and Overcooked! All You Can Eat. You can download and install the games through the Xbox storefront, and play them until 11:59 PM PT on Sunday.

If you decide to buy the games, you may be pleased to know that two of them are on sale. Call of the Sea, which usually retails for $20, is now $12. Civilization VI’s standard version, usually $30, is now $9; the Anthology Upgrade Bundle, usually $50, is now $25. Overcooked, however, is still at its standard $40 price, so taking the leap may require a little more consideration.

In case you’re not familiar with the three games, they’ve all earned considerable accolades from critics and fans. Call of the Sea is a puzzle/adventure game, where you play as a 1930s explorer, seeking out a lost civilization in the South Pacific. Civilization VI is the latest entry in Sid Meier’s beloved strategy series, where you guide one of humanity’s most influential cultures from the Stone Age through the Space Age. Overcooked! is a multiplayer party game, where you and a partner manage an increasingly chaotic kitchen. (It’s a great game to play with your partner.)

While free-to-play weekends aren’t uncommon, it’s relatively rare to see three games featured at once. It’s even rarer for all three of those games to be quite good. While it’s a little disappointing that the “free” games require paid subscriptions, it’s hard to think of another downside to the deal. You can play the games for three days; you can buy two of them at a discount afterward; all of your achievements and save data will carry over. Give them a look, and you may be pleasantly surprised.

Marshall Honorof

Marshall Honorof is a senior editor for Tom's Guide, overseeing the site's coverage of gaming hardware and software. He comes from a science writing background, having studied paleomammalogy, biological anthropology, and the history of science and technology. After hours, you can find him practicing taekwondo or doing deep dives on classic sci-fi.