Skip to main content

The best cheap Xbox One games of 2020

best cheap Xbox One games
(Image credit: Mojang)

The best cheap Xbox One games allow you to squeeze the maximum amount of gaming fun from the smallest amount of money. You can get as much variation in genre and size of game as you want, and this list will show you our top picks for each of them.

Some of the games on this list have always been cheap because they're smaller projects made by indie developers. They make up for their limited scale with innovative ideas you won't find elsewhere though. Others were once full-price AAA games, but although they're no longer the hottest title on the market, that doesn't detract from their overall quality.

It's a good time to be picking up games on the cheap, since at the end of the year, we'll see the Xbox Series X (and the PS5 too) launch, marking the beginning of a whole new console generation. These new consoles and their launch titles will likely be quite expensive, so gaming on a budget now so you can afford the new console and some games later down the line would be a smart move.

What are the best cheap Xbox One games?

If you are looking for something chilled out, then a puzzle game like Snake Pass or Untitled Goose Game might be good for you. Untitled Goose Game is definitely the more funny game and is much more casual to play, while Snake Pass is a very unique challenge involving learning the ins and outs of snake movement.

With smart writing and story to spare, Firewatch and Afterparty will suit players looking for experiences driven by narrative. There's still ways for you to interact, travelling around the game world looking for your next objectives, but these are games that take after books and TV shows rather than the arcadey experiences that initially defined what video games were.

For more of an adventure with a mix of challenge and story, we'd recommend Hollow Knight or Celeste, two 2D side scrollers. Celeste is all about precision platforming and a very personal story relating to your player character. Hollow Knight is more about exploring the world around you, and upgrading your character's abilities so you can reach more and more areas and defeat the enemies you find there.

Killer Instinct and My Friend Pedro are our picks for mechanically deep games. Both are competitive, but Pedro is about getting high scores to compare with your rivals while KI lets you take them down with sweet sweet combos in a 1-on-1 fighting match. You can play these games for hours and hours and still learn how to improve, perfect for gamers looking for a cheap Xbox One game they can really get stuck into.

If you stock up on the best cheap Xbox One games and find yourself in need of more storage space, you can buy one of the best external hard drives for PS4 and Xbox One.

The best cheap Xbox One games you can buy today

(Image credit: Size Five Games)

1. Lair of the Clockwork God

Two classic genres of games get smushed into one in this platform/point-and-click hybrid. As Ben you'll be hunting for items the combine with other items to solve puzzles, while as Dan you'll be jumping around to progress. You'll be playing as the two friends separately but each can help out the other when you hit a dead end.

But what is all this in aid of? A silly adventure to stop the end of the world multiple times over and to teach a robot how to feel emotion. If you enjoy goofy and satirical humor with plenty of self-aware gags about games, you'll be hard-pressed to find anything that does this kind of writing better.

(Image credit: Superhot Team)

1. Superhot: Mind Control Delete

The original Superhot - the puzzle/FPS in which time only progresses as you move or attack - is a great game, but now four years later we have the sequel in the form of Mind Control Delete. It features enhancements like new weaponry and different kinds of environments to play in, but also much bigger changes to the way the game works.

You can now play the game in endless mode, to see how long you can thread together kills and dodge bullets, blades and blunt objects. There's also new 'cores' to try out; reusable special powers that make huge changes to the way you think about playing. As you progress through a series of levels, you get the chance to upgrade yourself further, making each session more unique than ever. And of course, there is still the game's strange meta-narrative playing out in the background, providing context if you're curious about why you're in this strange black, white and red simulation.

(Image credit: Hi-Rez Studios)

2. Rogue Company

The base version of this 4 v 4 competitive shooter is actually free-to-play, but by spending some money now you get to try out the beta before anyone else and some extra cosmetics.

Once you've landed after leaping from the plane transporting you to the map, you'll then be faced with either planting a bomb (or stopping that from happening), or trying to capture control points before you run out of lives. Between each round, you get the chance to spend money earned for completing tasks on weapon and ability upgrades, letting you gradually ramp up the lethality of your arsenal or spend it all at once in the hope you'll easily overpower the other team. Weapon types are limited to certain characters though, so choose carefully as you only get one chance halfway through the match to reselect your Rogue of choice.

It sounds similar to many other very popular games around at the moment, but the lighthearted tone and polished gameplay mean you should still take a look.

(Image credit: No More Robots)

3. Yes, Your Grace

Kings have to make many important decisions every day, particularly when you live in a fantasy world full of magic and monsters. As the ruler of the Kingdom of Davern, you'll have to juggle the needs of your subjects and your family, making decisions with an ever decreasing quantity of resources. You'll also be expected to leave your throne to take care of certain matters personally, with a small party at your side to offer assistance.

It'll be impossible to satisfy all sides, particularly when you find yourself in need of help from the nobles in your court or foreign regents, who demand a heavy price in return for their help in the trials to come. And once you've picked a side, you can't just reload a save to try another way to solve a problem. Your choices will stick with you right through to the end of the game, intertwining with each and driving you towards one of several potential endings to your story. Which of course means you'll have to play through a few times to see all the potential outcomes for the kingdom.

best cheap Xbox One games: Gang Beasts

(Image credit: Double Fine Productions)

4. Gang Beasts

You could call Gang Beasts a kind of fighting game, but that makes it sound a lot more serious than it really is. Rather than chaining together special moves in epic and highly competitive matches, you'll instead be using a series of basic punches and grabs to toss your opponents around the many strange arenas, and hopefully throw them out of the ring or into a hazard to defeat them.

It's a great game to play in local multiplayer too, since the doughy characters are highly customizable and the gameplay is very simple to get the hang of. The situations you'll find yourselves in help keep things friendly and fun. It's hard to be mad at losing when your fighter fails to make a jump between two moving trucks and faceplants the road, or is suddenly crushed by a passing subway car since it could just as easily happen to someone else. If you want to team up however, there's also a mode for fighting gangs of computer-controlled opponents in the style of an arcade beat-em up.

best cheap Xbox One games: Minecraft Dungeons

(Image credit: Microsoft)

5. Minecraft Dungeons

If your favorite part of the immensely popular sandbox game Minecraft is diving into dark caves to hunt for treasure to claim and monsters to slay, Minecraft Dungeons distills that experience and builds on it with lots of additional gameplay elements. You'll find new enemies to battle, new abilities, weapons and upgrades to fight them with, and the option for three other people to join you in a four-player beatdown of skeletons, creepers and the like on your path to take on the ultimate baddie - the Arch-Illager.

Unlike normal Minecraft, this is a third-person isometric game, with you looking over the battlefield while you control your character from a distance. It's similar to games like Diablo, but with the perfect theme to make it a family-friendly experience. There's still some of the original game's creativity to enjoy too thanks to highly customizable player characters.

best cheap Xbox One games: Untitled Goose Game

(Image credit: House House/Panic)

6. Untitled Goose Game

In a quaint English village, the people are going about their daily business without a care in the world. But you’re a goose, and you can’t sit idly by while there’s chaos to cause and discord to sow.

With your goose abilities of honking, flapping your wings and picking things up with your beak, you’ll have to terrorize the population as you pass through gardens, streets and the local pub. You may need to get through locked doors and gates or run away from braver villagers when they chase you away, but there's always multiple methods for you to get around and outwit the humans.

You’ll have lots of fun ticking off the various tasks on your to-do lists, figuring out how to avoid any pesky humans interfering. The graphics design is simple, as is the piano soundtrack, but it's well done. The characters are plenty expressive without extra detail, and the soundtrack intelligently blends between different versions of tracks depending on what you're doing at the time. This may be a short game, but everything works so well you’ll be smiling throughout the whole time you’re playing.

best Xbox One games: My Friend Pedro

(Image credit: Devolver Digital)

7. My Friend Pedro

Why are you going on a series of suicidal raids against a bunch of well armed gangsters? Simple. That floating banana told you to do it.

This is a game about stylishly fighting your way through rooms full of baddies in slow motion. To help you out there’s a variety of weapons that you can dual-wield and aim separately, mobility techniques like flips, jumps and dodge spins, plus copious amounts of slow motion to let you line up your shots and avoid enemy bullets.

The story of violent revenge and horrific twists will take you through the game once, but what will keep you coming back is the call of the high score board. Linking all of your special moves together, avoiding bullets while filling everyone else with lead will rack up your points and multipliers, giving you a score that you can compare with other players around the world. With every level offering a new scenario with new obstacles and killing opportunities, you'll not get tired of the cool yet wacky violence that defines the game.

best cheap Xbox One games: Afterparty

(Image credit: Night School Studio)

8. Afterparty

Dying is often pretty final, except did you know there’s a get-out clause if you can drink Satan under the table?  That’s what Milo and Lola, your player characters, have to do to escape their untimely fate. Exploring the surprisingly college-esque underworld, your weapon is a flexible conversation system that builds your relationships with your friends and enemies over time, as you progress on your quest to get invited for a drink-off with Lucifer himself, and a selection of beverages that will power-up your conversation skills.

Although Hell still works like you'd expect, with demons torturing the souls of humans, what you don't know is that after the whistle blows, everyone heads to the bar together to discuss the recent scandals. It's these scandals you have to resolve in order to get to Lucifer, with the outcome resting on key decisions you make through the game. 

The writing is super smart, balancing the absurd humor of the situation with the more meaningful interpersonal drama, with both helping draw you towards the end of the game. Afterparty is bursting with character and creativity, and a surprising self-awareness that helps everything hold together.

best cheap Xbox One games: Burnout Paradise

(Image credit: Electronic Arts)

9. Burnout Paradise Remastered

One of the most popular racing games ever, only with a new coat of paint to make it more enjoyable on modern systems. Anywhere you drive in this open world leads to a race, whether something as long as travelling from the tops of the hills to the dockyards on the other side of the map, or just a block-long drag race. There’s plenty of different cars to pick from, and many shortcuts to discover as you improve your skills in racing, drifting and taking out our opponents in high-speed crashes.

This being the Remastered version, you also get all the DLC EA released for the game, and a fully functional online mode, so you can race through downtown, try dangerous overtakes on a mountain pass, or head over to Big Surf Island to have a go at some stunt driving with friends and rivals alike.

There may not be any licensed vehicles to admire or famous tracks to test your skills on, but this game captures the joy of driving fast cars across varied environments, day or night, and the excitement of crashing them into each other or driving them off enormous ramps.

best cheap Xbox One games: Firewatch

(Image credit: Campo Santo)

10. Firewatch

In the hot summer months, the state of Wyoming hires volunteers to keep an eye on forest fires. You play Henry, one such volunteer who heads out into the woods to escape his responsibilities back home. With only the voice of Delilah, another volunteer, via walkie-talkie for company, you travel the trails around your watchtower to check that everything is as it should be. However, as a mysterious stalker and the ransacking of Henry’s property proves, it isn’t, and you’ve got to explore the area to find answers. 

There aren't any enemies to fight, and the people you do encounter are only done so indirectly or from a distance. This is a game that leaves you alone to walk the forest paths with your thoughts a lot, which may annoy some people looking for a direct challenge, but allows you to experience Henry's story in a more intimate way, and truly appreciate the isolation of the Wyoming forests. A thoroughly good story topped with some beautiful vistas, this is one that will stay in your thoughts for some time.

best cheap Xbox One games: Unravel

(Image credit: Electronic Arts)

11. Unravel

Yarny is a living piece of thread woven into a little creature. The world outside is a large place, but with the help of his stringy form, you will move him onwards on his adventure around charming locations based on the memories of the old woman who created him.

The physics-based platforming is engaging, with your movement abilities based on using the threads that make up Yarny to cross gaps and travel upwards and downwards. However, you only have a finite amount of yarn to use, so you'll have to move carefully unless you want to find yourself tangled up inches before the exit.

The story and tone makes it a chilled out and emotionally touching experience. You adventure via photographs around your creator's house into her family's memories. You wouldn't expect a game where the main character has no mouth and only two static eyes to have such a meaningful story to tell, but through the game you'll observe the levels getting darker and lighter in tone, taking you on a journey that will satisfy fans of good game mechanics and storytelling.

best cheap Xbox One games: Snake Pass

(Image credit: Sumo Digital)

12. Snake Pass

In this puzzle platformer, you play a cute snake named Noodle. Since snakes are not known for jumping around or moving at high speed, you instead progress by slithering your way up, around and along obstacles, with your bird companion Doodle helping lift your long serpent body if you need a little help on your quest to find out who is stealing the jungle's keystones.

The levels require you to collect keys to the exit, before you then make your way out of the level. You'll quickly learn how to move in a snake-like way, slithering from side to side to move quickly in a straight line and tightening your grip as you climb your way up obstacles. Like other platformers, gravity isn't your friend, but because snakes can't jump, it feels like an entirely new concept to deal with. Other hazards like wind and lava are also present, and require you to rethink your normal approach to these dangers.

It’s completely unique among other platform games, and this makes it both refreshing and exceptionally challenging. And if you're a challenge-fiend, you can unlock a speedrun mode to play once you've beaten the game.

best cheap Xbox One games: Hollow Knight

(Image credit: Team Cherry)

13. Hollow Knight: Void Heart Edition

One of the most beloved 'metroidvania' games of this generation is available with all its DLC for an absolute steal of a price. Hollow Knight: Voidheart Edition delivers the beautifully bleak and brutally difficult 2D platforming action of the original game, complete with four additional content packs that give you new abilities to master and new bosses to vanquish. 

The setting is Hallownest, a desolate underground kingdom inhabited by insects, including yourself, but there are few friends to be found. Much of your time will be spent wandering the surprisingly varied environments and fighting enemies, looking for the next boss or a new item that will allow you to explore more and more of the map. If you die, you'll leave behind some of your currency and magic in a shadow version of yourself, which you'll have to defeat in a Dark Souls-style corpse run to get your earnings back.

If you’re looking for a challenging sidescroller with a stunning art style, engrossing atmosphere and tons of exploration and replayability, Hollow Knight is among the genre’s best.

best cheap Xbox One games: Killer Instinct

(Image credit: Microsoft)

14. Killer Instinct (2013)

There's never been a better time to get into the C-C-C-Combo Breaking action than now, since the game's first season's character roster is available for $10. It includes eight varied fighters to get yourself acquainted with, and serves as a fantastic introduction to what the other two seasons of characters in Killer Instinct have to offer. If you like season 1's characters such as the Spartan-esque robot Fulgore, immortal skeleton Spinal and sentient icicle Glacius, you'll be in prime shape to start exploring the game's other seasons.

What makes Killer Instinct stand out among other fighters is its unique combo system. When you hit your opponent, you can combo into almost any attack you like, and either its light, medium or heavy version. However, if your opponent can guess which version of the attack you're about to use and hit the correct button, they can combo break you, ending your attack and resetting the distance between you. This means you can't space out while playing KI, making each round an intense experience, with plenty to learn and master over time as you face harder AI opponents or online foes.

best cheap Xbox One games: Celeste

(Image credit: Matt Makes Games Inc.)

15. Celeste

Celeste is an engrossing 2D sidescrolling platformer that's as brutal as it is beautiful. Created by the folks behind multiplayer smash TowerFall, Celeste brings the same charmingly pixelated graphics and airtight platforming controls and crams them into a narrative-driven adventure filled with challenging stages to conquer. 

You'll be jumping your way up a mountain, using dashes to defy gravity and reach the other end of the level, collecting items as you go. If you are struggling, you can activate the versatile Assist Mode to give you exactly the kind of boost you need. This can be good if you just want to experience the story, which follows your player character Madeleine climbing Celeste Mountain, meeting other travellers while struggling to overcome an internal struggle.

While Celeste might make you want to toss your controller on occasion, its serene soundtrack and touching story will keep you around. If you manage to collect enough strawberries through the levels, you'll be able to unlock the B-Side and C-Side versions of the levels, which ramp up the challenge so you can prove your skills.

How to choose the best cheap Xbox One games for you

While we and the gaming community at large all rate these games highly, there are a few factors to consider if you want to pick the ones that'll suit you best.

If you're looking for more general recommendations, then you can usually go by genre. These descriptions will 

If you're unsure about a game, see if there's a free demo available. This is often the first level or a part of some early levels of a game, and will do the best job of showing you what the games are all about.

If you know what you want, but want to save as much money as possible, then you can wait for these cheap games to get even cheaper by waiting for a sale. These come around several times a year, often in conjunction with major holidays, and will see the prices of these games drop even further, letting you either save money or get more games on the same budget.