Dec 21, 2022 2 min read

High On Life rides high on Game Pass success

This potty-mouthed FPS has quickly risen to the top of the Xbox charts, becoming the biggest Game Pass launch of the year.

'High on Life' on Xbox

This potty-mouthed FPS has quickly risen to the top of the Xbox charts, becoming the biggest Game Pass launch of the year.

The critics may be rather mixed on it, but the player consensus is evidently clear: High On Life has plenty of appeal.

Released earlier this month on December 12, the game — which is a comedic sci-fi shooter from Rick and Morty co-creator Justin Roiland, complete with potty-mouthed talking weapons, has quickly shot up the Xbox Game Pass charts, surpassing even the likes of long-standing hits like Minecraft.

This rise up the Game Pass hit-list following its release has been tracked by industry observer 'BenjiSales' on Twitter. Over the past week or so he has been sharing regular updates on its improving chart position, culminating in it hitting the top spot on December 19 — some seven days after release.

Following this, Xbox Games Marketing VP Aaron Greenberg chimed in calling the game a "breakout hit".

High on Life weapons

Now Xbox themselves have commented further on its success, making it official with confirmation that 'High On Life' from Squanch Games is not only the biggest Game Pass release of the year, its also the 3rd biggest launch in the entire history of Game Pass. It's also the biggest single-player launch ever on the service. A notable three-part achievement.

Xbox's Joe Skrebels explains that this stat is measured in terms of actual engagement, based on the number of hours spent with the game — so not just folks launching the title and bouncing off quickly.

Following 'High on Life' hitting the Xbox top spot, Mike Fridley, Squanch Games Studio Director said that the team had been "blown away by the response" from players.

Of course the game is also available on PC and Steam Deck, and it currently has a 'Very Positive' user rating on Steam, with over 90% of user reviews submitted being favourable.

Again, player opinion on Steam is in stark contrast to that of the critical consensus — 'High on Life' seems to have sharply divided the critics. At time of writing, the first-person shooter has a 64 out of 100 score over on Metacritic, with common complaints aimed at the games crude humour, its writing on the whole, and some performance/technical issues.

Nic Reuben writing for The Guardian summarised it as a "barrage of nihilistic jokes with flimsy gameplay". As for whether you'll enjoy it's style of comedy comes down to whether you like the likes of Rick & Morty.

First announced earlier this year back in June, 'High on Life' made quite an impressions with its over-the-top, and absurd stylings - with chatty guns smack talking throughout the intro trailer.    

The 'High on Life' release marks the first time studio Squanch Games have launced a game on day one with Xbox's Game Pass subscription service.

Prior to this Game Pass agreement, the game was rumoured (according to Axios sources) to have been a potential Stadia release.

Of course, we now know that Stadia is no more — so it seems, if true, Squanch Games had something of a near miss here, escaping the Stadia release to in-turn find massive success on Game Pass. Microsoft would be smart to get any potential sequel locked down as an Xbox exclusive.

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