December’s Games with Gold games include puzzles, platforms, magic lizards, and the imminent threat of nuclear extinction

He’s making a list and checking it twice, gonna find out who’s naughty and nice, Santa Claus is comin’ to town and he’s brought free games for everybody who’s paid their Xbox Live subscription so Microsoft’s corporate bosses can get their bonuses.

This holiday season’s stocking stuffers feature a somewhat eclectic mix of things, with Portal-’em-up discombobulator QUBE 2, the dreamy Alaskan mythology-inspired platformer Never Alone, elf politics sim Dragon Age 2, and for the first time, an original Xbox backwards-compatible game, Pandemic’s 2005 explosions-for-hire-o-rama Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction. Not what you wanted? Neither are those crocheted socks, but you tell Aunty Esmerelda thank you and you love them, anyway.

As per regularly scheduled programming, the next compilation of Xbox Live Games with Gold is available exclusively for Gold subscribers, and for a limited time, and features two Xbox One games and two Xbox 360 games that are also backwards compatible on Xbox One.

What’s what:

  • QUBE 2 (1 – 31 December, on Xbox One)
  • Never Alone (16 December – 15 January, on Xbox One)
  • Dragon Age 2 (1 – 15 December, on Xbox 360 with backwards compatibility on Xbox One)
  • Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction (16 – 31 December, on Xbox 360 with backwards compatibility on Xbox One)
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