Best Cheap Xbox One Games Out Now (June 2018 Update)
By Kallie Plagge | @inkydojikko on
High Quality, Low Price
It's been over four years since the Xbox One first launched, but the 4K-capable Xbox One X is a recent addition to the family of current-gen Xbox consoles. Whether you've had an Xbox for years or just picked one up, it can be difficult decide what games to play. And yes, there are jokes about how Xbox One doesn't have any games, but that's not true! There's plenty to play on Xbox, and your options are good even if you're on a budget.
As the years have gone by, the Xbox Store has gotten more and more crowded, for better and for worse. There's a ton of stuff to look through--be it multiplatform or not--so it can be a hassle if you're simply looking for something good to play without breaking the bank. That's only going to get worse as time goes on, especially in light of the huge number of games that Microsoft showcased during its E3 press conference.
To help you find some quality, budget-priced games, we've taken a look at what the Xbox Store has to offer. From discounted AAA games to newer, smaller-scale titles, we've picked out the best games you can get for $20 or under (around £16) on the Xbox store. We've only looked at digital prices here; there are games you can get on sale at other stores, but these games are consistently this affordable. Be sure to let us know what you think are some of the best deals in the comments below.
For more games on a budget, see our roundups of the best cheap games on PS4 and on Switch. And make sure to check out our gallery of the Xbox One exclusive games confirmed for 2018 as well as the biggest Xbox One games of 2018 for everything coming to the console.
Celeste -- $20 / £16
Celeste may look like another pixelated platformer with a youthful protagonist, but it quickly transforms into a brutal, tightly orchestrated gauntlet of death that only the best players can master. It challenges you to traverse spike-lined caverns with a modest selection of skills, with alternate pathways that push your mettle even further as you strive to acquire every last hidden item. You will die hundreds of times, but with quick restarts and a catchy soundtrack, there's never any downtime to wallow in defeat, only a new opportunity to show the game what you're made of. The action and difficulty curve are accompanied by a surprisingly engaging story that adds just the right amount of context to make your arduous journey feel justified, and to solidify Celeste as one of the biggest surprises so far of 2018. | Peter Brown
Inside -- $20 / £16
Playdead games won the admiration of its now-large audience when it released Limbo, a slow-paced puzzle-platformer that relied heavily on the use of light and negative space. For the studio's follow-up, Inside, it delivered yet another somber world to explore. It presents a tale that unfolds effortlessly before your eyes as you advance from one scene to the next, with nary a word from any of its characters. Through the power of inference and suggestion, you realize the infiltration of a malicious organization and bear witness to its sinister deeds. Inside will test your ability to think creatively, but it's the narrative--and the way it's delivered--that makes it a game worth playing. Inside reinforces the notion that, sometimes, less is more. | Peter Brown
The Sexy Brutale -- $20 / £16
The Sexy Brutale is a quirky little puzzle game co-developed by Tequila Works, the studio behind beautiful adventure game Rime. Its essentially Groundhog Day: The Game--you play through the same day over and over, but with each runthrough you learn more about the creepy mansion you find yourself in. After seeing one character shoot another, you might go and find the gun and prevent the bloody murder by replacing real bullets with blanks. A number of these murders are interconnected--solving one puzzle might prevent one murder, but that could change another branch of time elsewhere in the house. There's no way of preventing every murder in one go, but discovering and tinkering with the different timelines is where the fun lies.And with it being playable on Switch, you can live the same day countless times anywhere you want. Suffice it to say, we've played it over and over again--groundhog day indeed. | Matt Espineli
Halo 5: Guardians -- $20 / £15
Halo 5: Guardians is the biggest and boldest Halo game ever. The campaign tells an intriguing story where Master Chief is could potentially be the bad guy, and another team is tasked to hunt him down. Though the overall narrative did not exactly pay off, the campaign pushed the franchise forward with its more open level design that offered a new feeling of freedom. On the multiplayer side, Halo 5 is arguably the series' strongest offering to date. The core modes like Arena are there and have never been better, and Forge mode has allowed modders to create some truly incredible creations. But what’s more exciting is the 24-player Warzone mode, which gives Halo’s multiplayer a sense of scale that it never had before--and it’s a lot of fun. At $20 (or free with an Xbox Game Pass subscription), Halo 5 is absolutely worth checking out. | Eddie Makuch
Crypt of the NecroDancer -- $15 / £12
Roguelikes (or at least roguelike elements) have been one of the most popular trends in gaming over the past handful of years, but few have taken as interesting of an approach to the genre as Crypt of the NecroDancer. It tasks players with navigating a dungeon to the beat of the music. Rather than simply move in the direction you wish or attack the enemy that's in your path, you and your enemies' actions are tied directly to the (always excellent) soundtrack. It's essential that you always be doing something--not taking an action at the next beat resets your combo, meaning you'll earn less gold or deal less damage, depending on the items you've acquired. Particularly as the music becomes more fast-paced, this lends a real sense of tension and excitement to every moment: you need to constantly be considering your next action while accounting for how nearby enemies will react to your movements. It's an experience with few points of comparison, but it's nonetheless one that you'll certainly want to try. | Chris Pereira
Enter the Gungeon -- $15 / £11
Being a roguelike-style shooter, Enter the Gungeon naturally draws comparisons to games like The Binding of Isaac and Nuclear Throne. And while that does offer a decent starting point for understanding what to expect, Enter the Gungeon manages to rise above being a pale imitator. It feels fantastic, with a dodge-roll ability that allows you to satisfyingly evade damage with a well-timed use. There are ridiculous weapons, such as those that fire bees or a gun that shoots guns which themselves fire bullets. The well-crafted procedurally generated environments help to keep each run feeling fresh, as do the wide variety of items and secrets to uncover along the way. And co-op support makes for an especially fun, chaotic experience (although it's unfortunate that the second player isn't able to play as the different characters that the main player has access to). The entire game is also overflowing with personality and color, making for an experience that is as fun to look at as is to play. | Chris Pereira
Stardew Valley -- $15 / £12
Originally released on PC, hit farming sim Stardew Valley has made its way to console with very few compromises (aside from the lack of mods, if that's something you care about). It's an excellent take on the Harvest Moon formula, with a laid-back small-town atmosphere, tons of work to do, and bachelors and bachelorettes to date. But the valley also has its mysteries, and the added intrigue makes it easy to pick up, hard to put down, and rewarding day after day. Even though it has nothing to do with the Harvest Moon franchise, it's easily the best "Harvest Moon" game in years. | Kallie Plagge
Sonic Mania -- $20 / £16
Created by members of the Sonic fan-hack community under Sega's watch, Sonic Mania exudes passion and reverence in its recreation of nostalgic visuals, sounds, and level designs. But the game isn't content with senselessly regurgitating the past; rather, it expands upon the familiar with new ideas of its own and delivers plenty of inventive concepts that diversify and build upon the series' fast-paced level design. Sonic Mania is smart and interpretive in its approach, leveraging the strengths of its design and visuals to craft not only the best Sonic game ever made, but an amazing platforming experience overall. If you've enjoyed Sonic at any point in your life, you owe it to yourself to play Sonic Mania. And even if you're not a longtime fan, the fast-paced platforming on display is a fantastic introduction to Sega's beloved blue blur. | Matt Espineli
Overcooked -- $17 / £13
Overcooked is like a Mario Party mini-game blown up into its own standalone experience in the best way possible. It's a game that becomes exponentially better when played with at least one other person. What starts out as a relatively tame game where you help each other chop some vegetables and get them served on a plate becomes a frantic rush to put out fires, get ingredients distributed between two moving vehicles, and other ridiculous scenarios. | Chris Pereira
Thimbleweed Park -- $20 / £17
Point-and-click adventure games have experienced something of a renaissance in recent years, and Thimbleweed Park--from adventure game legends Ron Gilbert and Gary Winnick--is a prime example. The X-Files-inspired journey puts you in the role of two FBI agents that bear more than a passing resemblance to the classic TV show as you relive the glory days of adventure games. Playing on any console means dealing with a gamepad-based control scheme (as opposed to the more natural mouse controls on PC), but Switch makes up for this with touchscreen support when played in handheld mode. | Chris Pereira
Thumper -- $20 / £16
Although it's a game arguably best-suited for VR, Thumper is an incredible experience however you play it. It provides a unique blend of rhythm-based gameplay and action--what the developer calls "rhythm violence"--that provides a far more intense version of the basic mechanics you see in other rhythm games. With an incredible soundtrack and levels well-suited to chasing high scores, Thumper is a game with the potential to stick around on your home screen for a long time. | Chris Pereira
Axiom Verge -- $20 / £16
Axiom Verge is another take on the Metroidvania style, but it distinguishes itself through its wide variety of weapons and tools--most notably, the Address Disruptor, which affects the environment and each enemy type in different ways. It's also a game with an impressive sense of scale and no shortage of secrets to uncover, encouraging multiple playthroughs. Add in an excellent soundtrack and tantalizing story, and there's a lot to like here. | Chris Pereira
Bastion -- $15 / £12
Supergiant Games' debut, Bastion, set the stage for everything else the developer created. This isometric action RPG tells a gripping story of a world destroyed by a catastrophic event referred to as The Calamity in the city of Caelondia. You control Bastion's protagonist, The Kid, who is led by the charismatic narrator named Rucks in a journey to piece the city back together. Very few survivors are left, and hostile monsters litter Caelondia, which is the impetus to put a varied arsenal of melee and projectile weapons to use. The Bastion acts as a sort of home base that slowly comes together as you progress and collect cores at the end of each level.Rucks' deep, instantly recognizable voice (that of Logan Cunningham) adds a level of grandeur to the story that's superbly supported by a truly remarkable soundtrack (by Darren Korb) that's vaguely Celtic, Western, and trip-hop all at the same time. Bastion's fantastical hand-painted art style (by Jen Zee) breathes life into a world nearly devoid of it, torn apart by a conflict of different cultures. These elements came to be staples of Supergiant's work, and Bastion is still a sterling example of the team's ability to craft a game that's both fun and heartfelt. | Michael Higham
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain -- $20 (not discounted in UK)
You may have heard that Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, the final Metal Gear game to feature the involvement of series creator Hideo Kojima, has flaws. The last chunk of the game involves replaying earlier missions with small tweaks, and certain late-game story content was consigned to a special edition bonus feature. Despite all of that, The Phantom Pain stands as a seminal example of what an open-world action game can be. While still retaining much of what makes a Metal Gear game so distinct, it presents players with a vast open world and the ability to tackle its challenges in many, many ways.The mechanics of Ground Zeroes have been fine-tuned, and you can leverage them in a multitude of ways as you take part in the game's consistently excellent, thrilling missions. Just as enjoyable are the emergent hijinks you'll encounter along the way, and all of this is made better by the consistent progression of building up your own personal army. Although it's undoubtedly an experience best played after playing making your way through the prior games, The Phantom Pain is a game that everyone should ultimately try. It holds up now, even after a few years; all that's changed is the price tag. | Chris Pereira
Lumines Remastered ($15 / £13.49)
"You wouldn't think a game about arranging colored blocks into rectangles could be this interesting and this engrossing. At the heart of Lumines is an ingenious design, which someone theoretically could have dreamed up years ago, but no one did until now. And at the soul of Lumines is something that you might call completely pure. You wouldn't expect a game like this to incorporate most all of what's good about gaming--the sights, the sounds, the trancelike experience, the option of competition--but Lumines does all that." -- Greg Kasavin (2005 review)
Read our Lumines (2005) review
Lumines Remastered, as the name suggests, is an HD remaster of the classic puzzle game for modern platforms. It also features some small adjustments, including a Trance Vibration option that lets you sync controllers to the music to "feel the bass across your body," as developer Enhance puts it.
N++ ($15 / £13.49)
"[T]he purity of N++ is still its greatest appeal, a stripped-down representation of the skills that many gamers have come to know as innate, given free reign in some of the best level design ideas in the industry. N++ may represent an 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it' sort of expansion, but the exhilaration that it continues to offer speaks to the idea that it may have been perfect to begin with." -- Justin Clark
N++ represents the latest and greatest version of the stellar platforming series, packing together a positively massive number of levels--there are more than 4,000 in all, none of them procedurally generated. With local co-op support, online leaderboards, and a stellar soundtrack, N++ has a case as one of the system's best platformers, and it comes in at a budget price.
Pac-Man: Championship Edition 2 ($13 / £10)
"Pac-Man: Championship Edition 2 creates an exciting dynamic where ghosts are still dangerous, but the overall game is more forgiving than the original--and it’s more entertaining as a result. Arcade ports tend to be games we play in short bursts--mostly for the nostalgia factor. Pac-Man: Championship Edition 2 certainly relies on that nostalgia to a point, but it handles the classic game in a way that plays with expectations to surprise you. It’s the same game enhanced in the right directions to be make an old concept fun, innovative, and challenging all over again." -- Jason D'Aprile