“Underrated” is a very strange word indeed. It has different definitions for different people; some define it in terms of reviews, while others look to sales to justify calling a game underrated.
We’re about to take a look at the 10 most underrated Xbox Series X/S games, and our definition of “underrated” may seem somewhat nebulous, but in essence, if we feel that a game has been unfairly overlooked in any terms, it fits the bill as far as we’re concerned.
With that in mind, take this list of the 10 most underrated Xbox Series games as a chance to revisit some games you may already know about or learn about others you might have missed. Let’s get started!
1. Hi-Fi Rush
It’s important to note before we start that there are practically no true Xbox exclusives; most of the games on this list are also available on PC due to Microsoft’s strategy of releasing across both platforms simultaneously.
Hi-Fi Rush is one such game, but if you’re a console gamer, you can only check it out on Xbox Series X/S. We’d strongly recommend doing so, as it’s easily one of the platform’s strongest games.
With vibrant music, beautiful aesthetics, and fluid combat, Hi-Fi Rush calls to mind classics by Platinum Games, even though it was actually developed by Ghostwire: Tokyo studio Tango Gameworks.
Immortality comes to us from Sam Barlow, the creative mind behind Her Story and Telling Lies, and it’s another game that blends live-action footage with adventure game-style gameplay.
Your task is to sift through footage revolving around a prominent actress to discover what has happened to her, as well as to figure out why she doesn’t appear to be ageing despite appearing in movies across three decades.
We don’t want to spoil what follows, but suffice it to say that Immortality has some very satisfying tricks up its sleeve.
Somehow, Psychonauts appears to be a somewhat cursed franchise; it’s forever destined to end up in “underrated” lists, probably because of how unique and zany it is as a concept.
Still, that’s no bad thing, because it allows us to wholeheartedly recommend Psychonauts 2 on this list. Raz’s second big 3D platformer adventure is wacky, creative, and full of heart.
It’ll appeal to Psychonauts nostalgists, but if this is your first Psychonauts experience, you’ll love it too.
Visually, Pentiment is absolutely stunning; it takes on a mediaeval art aesthetic, right down to the bizarre marginalia drawings present in many manuscripts of the time.
Don’t let that visual style obscure the story, though, which is first-class, as you’ve come to expect from Obsidian.
Pentiment contains a fascinating murder mystery that spans decades, making this a great little companion piece to Immortality, albeit one with a totally different narrative approach.
We’re having to twist the inclusion criteria for our list again here, because Gears Tactics is available on both PC and Xbox One. However, it’s an Xbox ecosystem exclusive, so we’re including it here.
Our main reason for adding it, though, it’s that it’s just a damn fine tactics game. It can easily rival XCOM in terms of gameplay, and it even adds a couple of innovations that improve the formula.
The story’s nothing special, but Gears Tactics has plenty of great strategic gameplay to sink your teeth into.
If you love cinematic platformers like Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee, Heart of Darkness, and more recent fare like Limbo and Inside, then you’ll love Planet of Lana.
It combines the puzzle-centric gameplay of those titles with the dialogue-free narrative approach of Team Ico’s work to create an unforgettable adventure.
Planet of Lana isn’t particularly long, but that also means it doesn’t outstay its welcome, so you’re unlikely to get bored across its 4-6-hour runtime.
For now, at least, Valheim is exclusive to the Xbox ecosystem on consoles, and the hype from its initial release appears to have died down somewhat, which is why it’s here on this list.
This Viking survival adventure is best experienced with friends, but you can check it out on your own as well. The premise is simple: survive the realm of Valheim and its many dangers.
Of course, just because the premise is simple, that doesn’t mean the task ahead of you is easy, so you’ll need to sharpen your wits as well as your axe to prevail.
8. The Gunk
We’ll preface this entry by saying that The Gunk probably isn’t going to top your Game of the Year list.
It’s a little easy by puzzle-platformer standards, and the story it tells, while mildly diverting, isn’t going to rival the best entries into its genre.
With that said, though, The Gunk is a pleasant adventure that features lots of fun and neat concepts, and the characterisation is endearing, so you’ll likely enjoy the handful of hours you spend in its world.
There isn’t a ton of gameplay in As Dusk Falls, so it’s not going to do much for you if you’re looking for a boomer shooter-style adrenaline extravaganza.
If, however, you’re happy to settle into a slower-paced narrative mood, then As Dusk Falls will call to mind other underrated story-focused adventures like Life Is Strange or Tell Me Why.
Exploring the lives and stories of two families over the course of three decades, As Dusk Falls should give you plenty of pause for thought.
Scorn may no longer be an Xbox exclusive, but we’d still call it underrated despite its relatively high level of exposure.
This is a grotesque, strange survival horror experience that will leave you cold if you need rigid context or a clear narrative. It’s much more of an experiential game than you may be used to.
If you’re happy to immerse yourself in Scorn’s H.R. Giger-inspired world and go along for the ride, it’s a fascinating and harrowing game, and one well worth a look if you’re a horror aficionado.