There were seemingly a metric ton of good Xbox One games released in 2015, weren’t there? Fallout 4, Halo 5: Guardians, Rise of the Tomb Raider, The Witcher 3 and other games took up most of our time this year. But while we were all traversing the wastelands, raiding tombs again, and hunting down Master Chief, other good Xbox One games fell through the cracks, slipping under our radar.
It takes a lot of dedication and time to play every single game that comes out in a year, and we’ll be the first to admit that we had to skip a few games ourselves. But with the barren video game month that is January around the corner, you’ll have plenty of time to catch up on your overlooked games of 2015.
So, without further ado, here are 5 super underrated Xbox One games that you probably skipped:
If you love sports games, indie games, and having simple fun, IDARB is a game you should check out, for sure. Many were turned off by the game’s graphics when it launched in February, and even when it was free for the Xbox Games with Gold March promotion, there weren’t as many people playing it as there should have been.
In IDARB, you take on the role of 8-bit character (which you can design yourself, complete with a flag and theme music) and you’re tasked with getting your ball into the other team’s goal. The ball can be walked in, thrown in, or bounced into the goal, with variations and combinations, as well as the distance from the goal, causing an increase in point value. The result plays similarly to Rocket League as far as the fun factor is concerned, but it takes dedication and a slight learning curve to master it. In fact, you can try to hunt down the fabled 20-point shot, if you’d like.
Admittedly, we haven’t gone back to IDARB since about July, as our slate of new Xbox One games to play started weighing down on us like a collapsed building. But, come January, we’re going to jump back into it. As of writing this, IDARB is currently priced at $14.99.
2Ori and the Blind Forest
Ori and the Blind Forest was THE best Xbox One exclusive of the year, if you ask us. Maybe it’s because we were expecting it to be a big hulking crap pile when we first heard about it, but the game was certainly one of the biggest surprises of 2015. First and foremost, it has gorgeous environments and a beautiful soundtrack that adds that much more to the game’s narrative, which is moving, to say the least. But the biggest surprise was that the game turned out to be one of the best platforming games of the year. It wasn’t a game that was difficult for difficulty’s sake, but it had some interesting new mechanics contained within that advanced the genre forward.
It holds over 9,500 reviews with an average of 4.5 out of 5.0 stars on Xbox Live, so some of you played it. But honestly, if I didn’t get a review copy, I probably would’ve skipped it, and that is why it’s on this list. Hopefully, you didn’t skip it, but if you did, and you love platformers, go back to Ori and the Blind Forest as soon as you can.
Massive Chalice released on Xbox One at the worst possible time, right after The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. With The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt taking up the majority of the time gamers spent on their Xbox Ones, Massive Chalice was widely overlooked when it released in June. But, the game is a fantastic turn-based strategy game (also on PC and OS X) that was free for Xbox Live Gold subscribers. In the game, the player takes on the role of an immortal ruler defending their kingdom from invasion by Cadence, an evil force with a deadly touch.
The Cadence are aided by a giant Chalice with magical powers that advise the player. There are two game modes, strategy (where a player makes long-term decisions for a long play victory), and Tactical (in which players are tasked with commanding teams of heroes in a turn-based board battle against Cadence forces. It’s a challenging strategy game, but it’s easy to pick up and learn. We weren’t thrilled about the character design, but after getting our hands on it, it quickly became one of our favorite Kickstarter Games to actually release. If you haven’t played Massive Chalice, now is a good time to do so.
4Adventures of Pip
By the time Adventures of Pip came out on Xbox One, it had already been out for two months on Wii U, and those that had a Wii U already played it, and those that had an Xbox One wrote it off as some dumb Wii U game. For the record, it’s not a dumb Wii U game. In fact, it’s one of the best 2D side-scrolling platforming games of 2015. It was published by Tic Toc Games, and it remains the company’s only memorable game. Hopefully, we’ll see more from the developer soon.
But Adventures of Pip revitalizes the genre with its unique mechanic that sees Pip starting out as a single pixel and then growing into a 32-bit world along the way as he absorbs the pixels of his fallen enemies. Players can use those same pixels to blast through environment puzzles and enemies, taking Pip back down to his single-pixel form in the process. It’s a unique game and one that clearly was a love project. If you skipped Adventures of Pip in 2015, go back to it.
Like Rise of the Tomb Raider, Mad Max‘s biggest mistake was its release date. Instead of releasing a week earlier and going up against game collections, Mad Max released on the same day as Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, one of the biggest video game releases of 2015.
So, basically, it had no chance right out of the gate. But the game was a solid offering all around that did a great job of replicating the movie’s atmosphere and tone. Its vehicle-based combat is the best we’ve seen this year (sorry Arkham Knight). Its world might not be as big as The Phantom Pain‘s, but you’ll still get at least 20 hours of enjoyment out of it. If you can find it in the bargain bin, it’s worth your time.