In this feature article, we have come up with our list of what we think are the best games to spend your £20 pocket money on and we will be counting down to our favourite, providing you with the most bang for your buck. These are purely Xbox One games and based on prices from the digital Microsoft Store. Before we rustle up our top twenty, we will start off with our honourable mentions; titles we really wanted to have in the list but didn’t quite make it for one reason or another.
We couldn’t decide on which Jackbox Party Pack to include in the list (there are three of them, with another on the way) and each pack has different games, alongside regular games that are all just as fun as another in their own way. And lets face it, you cannot simply play this game alone, with most games requiring at least 3 players to partake or 2 players minimum. Having said that, you can stream the game if you so wish, adding virtual friends to your game and potentially hundreds more via the audience features that’re enabled and it still amounts to a lot of fun as if you were playing with your friends sat around the TV in your living room. Fibbage is probably most peoples favourite game in the pack, requiring you to come up an answer to a question that will fool your friends into choosing that particular answer, whilst you try to find the right one without being fooled. So for the fact that you cannot play alone and there is more than one pack available, each costing £19.99 each, this remains in the honourable mention.
Even though we like a good hidden object game, here at XBOUK, we came to the conclusion that each title they release on Xbox One, is just as good as the other, but providing more or less the same as another. Purely for this reason, we cannot decide which is our favourite as they all just sort of ‘blend in’ with one another. Costing around £7.99 per title with plenty to choose from, they are certainly worth picking up. With about 5-6 hours play-through time (depending on your noggin), it is definitely worth the price.
Pinball FX2 didn’t quite make the cut either, much like the reasons for the Artifex Mundi titles. Whilst Pinball FX 2 is free and offers a single table for the price, it’s the multiple purchases of many tables available to you in the form of packs or even licensed tables from the likes of Marvel, South Park and The Walking Dead that stop this from making our top 20 list. Since we’re looking at games for under £20, this game could potentially cost you anywhere between free and over £100 for a complete collection so we decided to leave this out.
Top 20 games for under £20
20. Gems of War – Free
Our first free to download game in our list comes in the form of Gems of War. Expanded upon from the Puzzle Quest series, Gems of War is a blend of Match-3 puzzles with RPG elements and a deck-management system. Progress through the lands, battling AI opponents to earn XP and new cards to build your ‘troops’. Each creature has their own colour of mana, some with more than one colour and their own abilities and traits that can change up gameplay and adjust to your own unique playstyle. As you progress further, opponents become harder, making you re-think your strategies and try out different troops. There is a PvP mode. Well, sort of. The troops you fight online are real troops as set by other players, but you’re essentially fighting the AI. This is a great freebie, especially for killing 10 minutes here or there. Even though there are micro-transactions in this title, everything can be completed and obtained without spending a penny, albeit may take you a long longer to accomplish.
19. The Turing Test – £15.99
The Turing Test is a puzzle game that looks an awful lot like Portal. At first glance, it seems like a cheap imitation but it is far from that. In fact, The Turing Test plays by different rules: Instead of using your gun to fire portals, you use your gun to pick up and shoot ‘charges’. These charges allow you to control certain elements of a room such as panels to walk along or moving cranes about. Whilst the structure is that reminiscent to Portal, this does have a thought-provoking story that is relevant to that of this kind of modern room-puzzler. If the puzzles had you scratching your head more, then this would have been placed higher on the list, but it just doesn’t capture the intellectualness as Portal had.
18. Child of Light – £11.99
Child of Light is a 2D RPG game with jRPG-like combat adding a different take onto the turn-based mechanics to give it a unique strategic element to the game, whilst keeping it simple which works wonders. It’s beautiful artstyle makes the lengthy playtime worthwhile. You take control of a character cold Aurora on a quest to return light to the land of Lemuria. Level up and grind your way through over 50 scenes and battle a wide range of monsters including bosses. Released in the first year of Xbox One’s life, this title was heavily praised by critics and still worth every penny.
17. Worms W.M.D – £19.99
Just scraping the £20 mark is Worms W.M.D. Even though this is no Worms Armageddon, this is probably the best console Worms title since. Providing you with over 80 different crazy weapons of both classic and new variations, and the ability to craft new ones which also includes exclusive weapons for Xbox One such as The Dubstep Gun from Saints Row, this certainly brings back the fun factor we’ve all come to know and love about these little explosive crawlers. New additions to gameplay such as vehicles and structures you can hide in, gives it a new lease of life and new strategies to adapt to, whilst making it fun to do so. The last outing with Worms Battlegrounds turned the series ‘serious’, having you actually think carefully about the move you make which made it lose its charm. After all, we couldn’t care less if we lose, as long as we go out in humorously.
16. Oceanhorn – Monster of Uncharted Seas – £11.99
Originally developed for mobile devices, Oceanhorn – Monster of Uncharted Seas seems to be a cheap Zelda clone at first glance, that Windwaker one specifically. But it’s far from it. In fact, whilst it takes plenty of elements from the series, it packs a few punches in its difficulty. As you would expect from a Zelda game, in Oceanhorn you traverse the lands using your trusty sailboat, discovering dungeons which unlock new equipment for you to use. Each dungeon delicately designed to make use of your new equipment, gradually increasing in difficulty as story progresses. Previous locations can be returned to with new equipment to access areas unreachable before. Combat whilst in your boat never becomes tedious. If you’re a Zelda fan, this is the closest thing you’ll get to playing the real thing on a non-Nintendo console.
15. Peggle 2 – £9.99
Peggle 2 is one of those games you can sink hours of time into and get lost within. Even more so if you play with a friend. With plenty of levels for you to tackle each offering a variety of challenges for you to complete and its multiple game modes to play alone or with another plater, this is worth it, considering it costs under a tenner. The DLC available aren’t very expensive either, making a combined total of under £15 for Peggle 2, a set of new characters and a set of skins. The 2 extra characters purchasable through DLC each offer new levels catered to their playstyle. It is a shame that there is only a limited amount of characters to choose from since the first Peggle game had doubled this number. Nevertheless a small set-back for a bargain price.
14. Resident Evil Remake – £15.99
After fans had been crying out for too long, Capcom decided to grace us with their HD remaster of Resident Evil, released back on the PlayStation and spawned the state of survival horror like these. Although the genre lost its way as time went by, Capcom have now realised we want to be scared shirtless and always be on edge – as opposed to jump scares and lots of action. The visuals are impressive with this remake and certainly brings back some nostalgia. Capcom were nice enough to adjust mechanics slightly for modern-day gaming and throw in some extras for us. Considering this title would have cost around £40 back in the day, for under £16, this is a nice change to the action horror titles of today. To please us long-term Resi-fans, Capcom are currently developing a Resident Evil 2 remake. Horror-ific!
13. Wonder Boy III: The Dragon’s Trap – £15.99
One of our most recent releases on the list, comes Wonder Boy III: The Dragon’s Trap. Developers DotEmu have done an outstanding job on recreating one of the biggest cult games from the Seag Master System. Not only have they managed to capture the nostalgia, they’ve stayed true to the core fundamental mechanics of what made this game, giving it a modern-day lick of paint and it just looks stunning. As an added bonus, they’ve allowed you to use your old save-state passwords from when the game gave them out, providing you still have them of course. Who would’ve thought you would be needing those passwords 25 years later?
12. Dangerous Golf – £14.99
Dangerous Golf was a recommendation by one of our fellow editors & reviewer, Ash. And hats off to him. If you set aside a couple of the camera-work bugs, this is an absolute blast to play alone or with friends co-op and online. Developed by some of the team who helped to create the Burnout Games, which incidentally has a layout similar to those games, the idea is simple: You’re given various objectives in all the levels and all you need to do is whack that ball when you tee off and cause as much destruction as one can possibly conceive. Then at the end of all the destruction, you’ve got to putt that ball, scoring more points the more ricochets you do. For under £20, there is plenty to do. Bronze, silver, gold and even Platinum medals to be achieved on each hole, a co-op campaign if single player just isn’t enough, and over 100 holes on both campaigns. Then to top it off you can create a playlist of holes online to challenge your friends and make the best score.
11. Trials Fusion – £15.99
The third iteration of the series on Xbox consoles is Trials Fusion. Whilst this improves ten-fold on what was an already brilliant series, there were a lot of features missing when this game initially launched which potentially affected its lifespan. Although now, it’s a mammoth of a game, with plenty of DLC that brings you a wealth of content such as new tracks, locations, bikes (and even a unicorn!). A huge single-player campaign for you to tackle as well as plenty of multiplayer modes and challenges for you to have a go at, but it’s biggest feature is that of the custom track editor. All of these tracks that you play through the campaign, have been made using the track editor. You can test, save and share your creations but the world really is your oyster. You don’t have to stick to the boundaries of a motocross race track, no, you can create a game of Pac-man if you so wish. Browsing the online catalogue of players’ creation is relatively easy, with additions and features being added to it constantly. This is a brilliant pick up and play title, with a “Just one more go” attitude to it, however this may be easy to learn but it is certainly difficult to master, especially when it comes to the extreme courses.
Alas, we now enter our top 10 games for under £20. Focusing primarily on game experience, not necessarily graphics or longevity, we will now countdown to our number game that is definitely worthy of an investment of your crisp £20 note.
10. Firewatch – £15.99
Firewatch is more or less a ‘walking simulator’, but one of the best available on the Xbox One for that matter. Although it is a rather short game, the experience of this leaves you a little bewildered – for all the right reason. Taking place in Wyoming in 1989, players take the role of a fire lookout named Henry. On the first day of his job, he is radioed in to investigate some illegal fireworks in the area that only leads to more revelations and mystery surrounding this forest as you progress further. This title keeps you in suspense the whole way through and whilst it gives you this beautiful landscape to fully explore, you cannot do so unless you fire up the free roam mode to explore this vast forest at your leisure. It’s surprising that a walking simulator has such an impact on you, but this one certainly does and well worth every penny.
9. Superhot – £19.99
Superhot is a first-person shooter with a puzzler-twist – The enemies move only when you move. Making use of wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff in video games is never an easy task to accomplish, but developers SUPERHOT Team have managed to perfect a way to make it not only though-provoking but a ton of fun. Each level will probably require more than one attempt at completing as you learn where the enemies come from and where best your ‘blind spots’ are as to not get shot or bashed in the head. Pick up a variety of weapons such as guns, pool balls and machetes – or even steal them from your enemies and throw them at another. Take your time in defeating them, after all, you’re only timed when you actually make a move. Then sit back, relax and watch the replay in real-time as it brings you great satisfaction as it did when you first watched a Bruce Lee movie. Costing short of that £20 mark, don’t miss out on an opportunity to play this title.
8. Unravel – £14.99
A new IP published by EA is Unravel which gives you the role of Yarny, a cute ball of yarn. Having a limitless amount of string, you use this to your advantage, creating lines of string to cross waters, swing across cliffs and used to solve puzzles. It does have a story which is both emotional and charming with great potential for sequels to follow.
7. Fallout Shelter – Free
Admittedly, Fallout Shelter isn’t type of game isn’t to everyone’s taste. Yes it’s a free to play title, but it also requires a lot of time to waste. Granted, things can move along quicker if you’re willing to fork out a few quid, but everything can be acquired without having to spend a single penny, but how long that takes really depends on how much time you’re willing to give it at any point. You build adjacent rooms with the ability to build lower over time, creating cafeteria’s, electricity and water rooms. All whilst dedicating dwellers in the vault to these rooms, allowing you to gain resources faster. There is a lot of management to be had in this game and balancing the amount of rooms in ratio to dwellers is crucial to success. To add upon this, you can send out lone dwellers to the wasteland, gaining XP and items to help aide you in vault-building. You can also send them out on quests that takes as long to get there as the real time requirement. For example, one quest takes the dwellers two hours to get there, so you must wait 2 hours yourself before you can tackle the quest itself. There are plenty of pets available that change up gameplay like a dog that allows you to cut the travel time in half. Useful later on when sending out dwellers on a 24-hour quest. There is so much to this game that is constantly getting additions to it that this will keep you coming back for more for an undetermined amount of time.
6. Pit People (Game Preview) – £11.99
Just scraping the top five, purely because of its Game Preview status, Pit People is the latest addition from critically acclaimed developers The Behemoth. The idea is to build your team of fighters, from a range of wacky and diverse characters and venture out in the world, fighting enemies in a turn-based strategic combat system. Almost everyone you meet, are available to ‘capture’ to play as. At the current status, there isn’t a story mode as such, but there are plenty of quests and over 100 different characters to collect, some having unique customisation and weapons. The key to this game is to create a balanced team ideal to your unique playstyle. You can have a maximum of 6 on your team, whilst some characters take up more than one slot due to their strength or abilities. This is a hilarious and brilliant take on the formula, pushing boundaries on the various different tactical approaches you can do in combat, that you wouldn’t see in a game such as X-Com for example. The developers are updating this game almost on a monthly basis, adding a wealth of content with each update and fixing annoyances and adjusting its quality of life. What’s more, you can battle the AI on online opponents in the pit, or even call upon a friend to play through the main game co-operatively.
5. Prison Architect – £19.99
At first glance, Prison Architect might resemble something like Theme Hospital from back in the day, however this is so much more than that. It does seem the developers have taken a few pages from that book though, as building stuff in these type of games seem much easier when we’re faced with a pure top-down view as we see in this game. You can tackle different scenarios through a story in which you are a prison warden working through from a basic jail to a maximum security prison, you know the ones that house serial killers and rapists. Or you can build your prison from scratch with a set budget and expand upon. Granted, the campaign basically teaches you everything there is to know about building your own prison since there is so much complexity than just ‘build cells here, build cafeteria here and away we go’. You have to make sure prisoners are well fed and watered, otherwise a riot might break out. Then you’ve got a potential bloody case of a lock down on your hands and you’ll have to call in the S.W.A.T team to strategically take out your prisoners without killing them, and rescue any hostages they might have captured. Every prisoner has a personality and an ‘end-game’ and it’s up to you, as warden to keep them satisfied, offer any bribes if you so wish to keep the peace going within the prison. This is probably the best tycoon type game available on the Xbox One, which has spent quite a bit of time in Game Preview with lots of feedback from us, the gamers, so it is definitely worth checking out in all its gory.
4. Outlast – £15.99
Outlast is a real treat for horror fans. It doesn’t just give you cheap jump scares because it’s easy, it actually catches you off guard which is a rare commodity. With just your trusty camera, which makes for a unique and suspense-filled journey, requiring you to recharge your batteries if you run out, you must explore an old abandoned asylum. I mean, that’s a good idea right? Definitely not a horror trope…However, due to the mechanics of the game, giving you a night vision setting on your camera that allows you to see better in darkened areas (and there’s plenty of them), makes for more scary-looking creatures leaving you more overwrought than usual in a horror setting. What’s more is that as is with any horror game, this is best played in complete darkness to intensify that anxiety. One of the greatest horror games of this generation is waiting for you on the Xbox Store. What are you waiting for, wimp?
3. Ori and the Blind Forest Definitive Edition – £15.99
The only Microsoft exclusive on our list is Ori and the Blind Forest. A gorgeously detailed metroidvania game, you take the role of Ori, adopted by a creature named Naru. When an event that withers away all the food and water and the light from the forest, Naru dies leaving Ori alone to restore the forest to its natural state. Each scene is beautiful, providing some excellent visuals with light. Travelling through the forest is no easy task and with the Definitive Edition, for a pound more than the original release, you’re able to travel through with much more ease, if you so wish. This isn’t to say it’s a difficult game, just some situations were almost impossible to tackle, but also required. Granted, this is a game where you must travel back to previously visited areas with new-found abilities to access areas previously unreachable, but with this updated version, they’ve added more abilities and faster ways to earn to experience points. This is one of the finest platformers you will ever have the pleasure to play, and is definitely worth that extra pound more to gain new levels and abilities.
2. Rocket League – £15.99
You may or may not have heard of our game that has just missed out on first place, Rocket League. Chances are, unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’ve at least heard about it since it was designed to become an e-Sports game. Taking inspiration from the classic Super Nintendo title Street Racer and it’s secondary football mode, you can go solo or team up with up to three other players racing rocket-fuelled cars trying to ram a ball into a net, aka football. The developers have turned a classic mode into an entirely new game that will most likely be played for years to come. With an expansive and somewhat difficult single player career and a wealth of multiplayer game modes straying from the traditional football mode, such as basketball and hockey, this game is simple to learn but difficult to master. With the ability to play cross-platform with PC players (or not since you can turn that option off), you can play ranked or unranked matches with even a battle mode with the classic football mode but with weapons…which sounds like Street Racer even more! The developers are constantly upgrading the game, adding new cars and parts to unlock, some free, some paid, and testing out new modes before making them permanent, this is a title that only becomes a much bigger game the more that time goes by.
- Life Is Strange Complete Season – £15.99
And here we are. XBOUK’s favourite game to purchase for under £20, Life Is Strange. Developers Square Enix definitely gives Telltale Games a run for their money with this title. Spread over five episodes, each episode more thrilling than the last, tells the story of Max, an aspiring photographer with a tragic past that only becomes more tragic as time goes by. It’s not long before Max discovers she has the ability to alter her past via her photographs, whilst giving her visions of the cataclysmic event that’s yet to come. The choices Max faces in the game, determine what happened in the past or what is to happen in the future. With multiple endings, and an emotional rollercoaster of a story, this is one of those rare ‘make-your-own-choices’ games that really do affect your outcome. Will you change your past to make your present better, or will you end up like Evan Treborn from The Butterfly Effect, where your decisions to alter past mistakes only makes your future that more miserable? For £15.99, you really need to purchase this title. This will be a game to go down in history as one of the greatest storylines to told, especially with time-travel done right.
So there you have it, XBOUK’s top 20 games for under £20. How do you feel about this list? Is there anything you would replace or change about? We would be happy to hear your thoughts and opinions about this list, in the comments below.
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