Best Xbox Exclusive Games: 20 Picks For Xbox One And Xbox Series X|S
GameSpot may receive revenue from affiliate and advertising partnerships for sharing this content and from purchases through links.
Xbox has had some excellent console exclusives over the past few years, a number that's likely going to grow during the Xbox Series X|S's lifecycle given Microsoft's string of studio acquisitions. But that's the future--we don't know for sure what will and what won't be dope. All we can do is look at what's currently out, and decide which games are our favorites.
Our top 20 Xbox console exclusives are detailed below. We've listed them in alphabetical order. For the purposes of this list, we've only included one game from each franchise so that no one franchise can dominate the list. We'll be sure to come back and update this list as new Xbox games launch or if one of the exclusives listed below also releases for additional console platforms.
For more Xbox game suggestions, check out our roundups of the best Xbox Series X games to play right now and best Xbox One games. If you're a Game Pass subscriber, you can also take a peek at our list of the best Game Pass games available now.
Developer Mischief's Adiosis a cinematic first-person game that sees you coming to terms with an intriguingly nuanced dilemma. You play as a farmer who disposes of dead bodies for the mob by feeding them to your pigs--that is, until one day you've had enough. You tell your friend, a hitman for the mob, that you want out, knowing that he'll have to kill you if you stand by your decision. Adios' story grapples with themes of morality and grief but grounds them in a relatable tale about two people trying to come to terms with their lives. The game handles player agency so well, gifting it and stealing it away during select moments to mirror the concept of knowing what you want to say or do but not always being able to. Adios is available for Xbox One and PC.
The Big Con
Developer Mighty Yell's first game, The Big Con, is fantastic. In terms of story, visuals, and music, this adventure game is oozing with the style of '90s animated TV shows and culture. In The Big Con, you play as Ali, a teenager roped into a partnership with a con artist after finding out her mother owes almost $100k to loan sharks. You go on a cross-country trip to swindle every dime you can. The challenge of planning your own cons is pretty fun, as The Big Con encourages you to be strategic in piecing together how to maximize your profits. The story is no slouch either--seeing Ali come into her own as a talented con artist as she grapples with her mom's expectations of her and the blossoming queer feelings she has for her best friend keep you invested. The Big Con is available for Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and PC.
See our The Big Con review.
Developer Acid Nerve's Death's Door is an action-adventure game that deals with themes around death, grief, and mortality. It's not all doom and gloom though--sure, Death's Door has a melancholy vibe, but its story features plenty of charming characters and jokes too. In Death's Door, you play as a young crow whose job is to kill creatures when it's their time to die and collect their souls. However, you hit a bit of a snag when an elderly crow steals the soul you were tasked with retrieving, forcing you to journey across a land devoid of death in search of a means to reacquiring the soul you lost. Death's Door is available for Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and PC.
See our Death's Door review.
Deep Rock Galactic
Developer Ghost Ship Games' Deep Rock Galactic is a four player cooperative first-person shooter. The game is less Left 4 Dead and more Rainbow Six Extraction, putting emphasis on individual classes that have specific roles during missions that are crafted around main and secondary objectives. Depending on your team's performance, you earn a select amount of currency, which can be used to improve the equipment and weapons for your chosen class. It's a solid co-op experience that makes all of its classes viable options--not a bad first game for Ghost Ship Games. Deep Rock Galactic is available for Xbox One and PC.
Forza Horizon 4
Developer Playground Games' Forza Horizon 4 has an incredible opening showcase moment, and the thrills really just don't stop--this studio knows what it's doing when it comes to crafting a racing game that is as approachable as it is engaging. You don't have to know all that much about cars to enjoy Forza Horizon 4; you just need to be someone who appreciates really pretty racing games. This latest entry in the series stands out for the introduction of seasons, each of which provides unique experiences to the same tracks--a course that's easy to drive in the summer may be much trickier when there's ice on the ground in winter, for example. Forza Horizon 4 is available for Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and PC.
See our Forza Horizon 4 review.
The Coalition's Gears 5 expands on the scope of the series, incorporating open areas that afford you agency to pursue optional objectives. This addition adds a nice freshness to the tried-and-true Gears formula. This is still an engaging third-person shooter that rewards quick reflexes with satisfyingly brutal depictions of carnage, but there are now more opportunities to tackle the same challenges in different ways depending on how you approach an enemy base and what weapons you've chosen to bring with you. The story isn't phenomenal--you primarily play as Kait Diaz, who goes out in search of the origins of the Locust in hopes of uncovering the mystery surrounding her family's history--but the gameplay more than makes up for that. Gears 5 is available for Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and PC.
See our Gears 5 review.
Developer Obsidian Entertainment's Grounded is a survival game where you play as someone who's been shrunk down and must now find their way in a suburban backyard filled with insects and arachnids that pose a danger to you. It's basically Honey, I Shrunk The Kids meets Minecraft--which is a fairly fun set-up, especially if you have friends to party up with. As you strive to build a base and weapons to protect yourself from the critters that want to eat you, you must uncover the strange remnants of a secret lab and technology that may hold the key to how you shrunk in the first place, as well as the means for returning to your normal size. It also includes a neat assortment of accessibility features, including an arachnophobia mode that makes spiders seem less scary. Grounded is available for Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and PC.
See our Grounded review.
Halo: The Master Chief Collection
Okay, admittedly, this is cheating. 343 Industries' Halo: The Master Chief Collection isn't one game, it's six--Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, Halo 2: Anniversary, Halo 3, Halo 3: ODST, Halo: Reach, and Halo 4. But if you're looking for a story-driven, sci-fi military drama with excellent first-person arena shooter mechanics, Halo is king. Few shooter franchises have had the impact that Halo has, and The Master Chief Collection is the ideal way of experiencing that story from the beginning, regardless of whether you want to play from the series' start of Halo: Combat Evolved or the chronological start of Halo: Reach. Halo: The Master Chief Collection is available for Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and PC.
First developed by Double Helix Games (now part of Amazon) before being handled by Iron Galaxy and Rare, Killer Instinct is the third main entry and a reboot of the fighting game series. If you've played a fighting game before, like Injustice 2 or Guilty Gear Strive, then you already have an idea of what Killer Instinct is. The game is great--fighters are diverse and combat is mechanically rewarding, with many combos to learn and satisfyingly pull off. And the game's initial problems at launch--lack of fighters and content--have been addressed with three seasons of post-launch expansions. Killer Instinct is available for Xbox One and PC.
See our Killer Instinct review.
Bloober Team's The Medium just squeaks onto this list. It's a great Xbox console exclusive that deserves to be listed here, but it's also scheduled to release for PS5 in September so it won't be an exclusive for much longer. Starring Marianne, a medium, this psychological horror game sees you simultaneously exploring a decrepit resort and the trauma of those who stayed there, as Marianne's literal body and consciousness can exist side by side in the real and spiritual plane. This structure delivers some stellar cinematic shots, as well as a way to explore an intriguing story through both a literal and figurative lens. The soundtrack is incredible, too. The Medium is available for Xbox Series X|S and PC.
See our The Medium review.
Microsoft Flight Simulator
Developer Asobo Studio's Microsoft Flight Simulator is such an incredible feat. The game uses real-world data pulled from Bing Maps to inform the in-game AI to generate a fully realized 3D Earth. Flight Simulator looks at our Earth and then somehow, some way (we're convinced it's magic) updates its in-game Earth to reflect an accurate depiction of what's going on, including changing weather patterns like massive storms or hurricanes. And then it just lets you loose to fly anywhere you want in that world--so yeah, again, an incredible feat. Microsoft Flight Simulator is available for Xbox Series X|S and PC.
See our Microsoft Flight Simulator review.
Developer Cyan's Myst is a reimagining of the original 1993 Myst. This remake incorporates new art and sound assets, includes more interactions, and adds an option to randomize the game's puzzles. In Myst, you're sucked into a strange book and transported to an island where you begin to uncover clues surrounding a family that's been mysteriously trapped. The original Myst is fantastic, but it's pretty old at this point. This remake does for it what the remakes for Resident Evil 2, Final Fantasy VII, and Demon's Souls did for them--it modernizes an excellent experience to current day standards. Myst is available for Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC, and Oculus Quest.
See our Myst review.
Developer Glumberland's Ooblets is a bizarre but charming blend of farming simulator and creature collecting RPG. Think "Stardew Valley meets Pokemon." You play as the newest resident of Badgetown, where you're given a worn-down farm and the choice of your starting ooblet, a little creature grown from seeds. As you fix up the farm, you'll be able to plant crops to sell and ooblets to grow. You can also set out on a journey across the region of Oob and challenge other trainers, which play out as card-based dance battles. With the funds you earn, you can buy improvements to your farm, furniture for your house, and gifts for your neighbors--the latter of which improves your overall relationship with them. Ooblets is available for Xbox One and PC.
See our Ooblets Early Access review.
Phantasy Star Online 2: New Genesis
Phantasy Star Online 2: New Genesis is an updated and separate "shared universe" version of the original Phantasy Star Online 2--you can use the same character across both games but you'll have to level them separately across the two. New Genesis is a more streamlined PSO2. It features a new story that gets you into the action more quickly, a faster and more intuitive combat system, and new exploration mechanics--Photon Dash and Photon Glide--that help you get around the world. As a relatively new MMORPG, New Genesis is still a bit bare bones when it comes to endgame content, but what's currently there is already pretty fun. Phantasy Star Online 2: New Genesis is available for Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and PC.
Rare Replay is one of the rare (heh) games to truly be an Xbox exclusive. You can buy these games individually for other platforms but Rare Replay is an Xbox exclusive--there's no PC version and no plans to ever make one. Developer Rare's collection includes 30 games from the studio's history, from the era of the ZX Spectrum to the Xbox 360. That's a huge variety of titles, from beat-'em-up Battletoads and 3D platformer Banjo-Kazooie to first-person shooter Perfect Dark and life simulator Viva Piñata. So even if you're not a fan of every type of game, there's likely at least one title included in Rare Replay that will tickle your fancy. Rare Replay is available for Xbox One.
See our Rare Replay review.
Sea of Thieves
Developer Rare's Sea of Thieves is an action-adventure game in which you can live out your fantasies of being a pirate. The game takes place in a shared world, allowing you to both set sail with your friends and encounter other players--it's your choice as to whether you want to help them, ignore them, steal from them, or just outright kill them. Sea of Thieves' ship combat is a great time with friends, and its vast open world is quite the sight to behold. One of the game's biggest criticisms at launch--its lack of content--has been addressed with several substantial updates and expansions. Most notably, Sea of Thieves has a major Pirates of the Caribbean crossover expansion that adds hours of fun story-driven content to the game. Sea of Thieves is available for Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and PC.
See our Sea of Thieves review.
If you're tired of playing Left 4 Dead style games where you're going up against zombies, may we direct your attention to developer Systemic Reaction's Second Extinction, a cooperative first-person shooter where you and your squad go up against dinosaurs? In Second Extinction, humanity has retreated to space stations when mutated dinosaurs take over the Earth. Your squad's job is to orbital drop onto the planet in a series of missions to find a way to fight back and ultimately deal with the dino threat. The game utilizes a threat level system so engaging in missions in the same parts of the world will lower the threat level and make subsequent drops in those areas easier, but ignoring other areas will allow the dinosaur presence to spike out of control there and make future missions in those areas more difficult. Second Extinction is available for Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and PC.
State of Decay 2
Developer Undead Labs' State of Decay 2 has come a long way since its launch, expanding on its zombie survival open world formula with graphical overhauls, new maps and modes, and more story missions. It's now a solid game for those looking for that Walking Dead experience, where you're building bases, recruiting allies, managing resources, maintaining relationships, scavenging for resources, and creatively fighting hordes of the undead. There's a cooperative element to the game as well, so you can tackle State of Decay 2's challenge with friends if you want. State of Decay 2 is available for Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and PC.
See our State of Decay 2 review.
In a lot of ways, Insomniac Games' Sunset Overdrive is an early precursor to the developer's follow-up project, Marvel's Spider-Man. An open-world action-adventure game, Sunset Overdrive makes you the superhero-like guardian of Sunset City, which is in the midst of a quarantine following an energy drink turning most humans into mutant monsters. Like Marvel's Spider-Man, Sunset Overdrive mixes combat and movement--you're rewarded with incredible bonuses for shooting your arsenal of guns while wallrunning, grinding across phone lines, or bouncing on top of cars. Your character also brings plenty of hilarious wisecracks to every fight, and the game's continued references to other games and movies is pretty funny. Sunset Overdrive is available for Xbox One and PC.
See our Sunset Overdrive review.
The Vale: Shadow of the Crown
Developer Falling Squirrel's The Vale: Shadow of the Crown is a fascinating take on an action-RPG as you play as a princess who is blind. Since you can't see anything, you have to do all the stuff traditionally associated with RPGs--fighting enemies, stealthily sneaking past guards, firing a bow, and walking through markets--all via sound. You have to listen to enemies shuffling around you and exhaling as they swing a sword to know where and when to parry and attack, or pick out the clanging of a blacksmith's hammer amidst a busy market to figure out where to go to shop for new armor. It's an incredibly unique experience. The Vale: Shadow of the Crown is available for Xbox One and PC.