The eight best ID@Xbox games available in 2020

By Heidi Nicholas,
The ID@Xbox program is responsible for some of the best hidden gems of the Xbox One, many of which have since become beloved classics. The quality of ID@Xbox games seems to be only improving, and ID@Xbox is home to some of the most innovative experiences, emotional stories, and memorable characters we've seen this generation. The growing number of ID@Xbox titles prompted us to go back through and refresh our list so that it reflects eight of the best ID@Xbox games available in 2020, based on site reviews, community ratings, and our personal opinions. Out of the hundreds of ID@Xbox titles to choose from, there are many that deserve a place on the “best of” list, so if you don’t see your favourite on here, why not tell us what you love about it in the comments?

Stardew Valley

Stardew Valley

Stardew Valley has only grown in popularity since its release four years ago. It’s now a giant in the life and farming simulation genres, beloved enough to rival Tom Nook’s bell-fuelled dictatorship in Animal Crossing. It’s got that satisfying sense of starting from scratch and building something up from nothing. Stardew Valley is truly one of those games that lets you do whatever you’d like, and while that open-endedness can make the end-game feel a little aimless after you’ve achieved all your initial goals, there’s still so much left to do. The drive to get your little farmer home by 2am at the latest makes the game perfectly paced, and leaves it entirely up to you as to what should be prioritised during the day: farming, fishing, mining, exploring, or building relationships with the townspeople. The seasonal events and the little touches of magic makes Stardew Valley a unique and entirely immersive experience - one which turns “I’ll just play for a few minutes” into “just another hour” before careering straight to “wait, what day is it?”

Stardew Valley
Stardew Valley

You’ve inherited your grandfather’s old farm plot in Stardew Valley. Armed with hand-me-down tools, you set out to begin your new life. Can you learn to live off the land and turn these overgrown fields into a thriving home? Ever since Joja Corporation came to town, the old ways of life have all but disappeared. The community center, once the town’s most vibrant hub of activity, now lies in shambles. With a little dedication, you might just be the one to restore Stardew Valley to greatness!


Slay the Spire

Slay The Spire Achievements

Slay the Spire can steal just as many hundreds of hours of your time as Stardew Valley, but for a vastly different experience. It’s an utterly compelling, entirely infuriating roguelite deckbuilder, where a healthy dash of luck and player skill might still not be enough to get you to the finish line. You might sit down to play it for a few minutes before finding yourself still there hours later, with a claw-like grip on the controller and almost snarling with frustration as a group of enemies casually teams up to finish off your last bit of health. “Just one more run” is never enough with Slay the Spire.

Slay The Spire
Slay The Spire

We fused card games and roguelikes together to make the best single player deckbuilder we could. Craft a unique deck, encounter bizarre creatures, discover relics of immense power, and Slay the Spire!


Children of Morta

Children of Morta

This one really is one of the gems of ID@Xbox. It’s just as compelling as Slay the Spire, with the same just-out-of-reach hope that success might lay in the next run, but it ties this together with a beautiful story about family and the fight against evil. The Bergsons each have their own skills and weaknesses, and the snapshot of their family life between each dungeon run gives just the right amount of variety to the game. Venturing into the dungeons occasionally rewards you with souvenirs, new pieces of lore, or a new part of the Bergsons story, and seeing these souvenirs pile up around the house is a great way to see your progression through the game. Children of Morta is a jewel of a game and definitely belongs on this list.

Children of Morta
Children of Morta

Children of Morta is a story-driven action RPG game about an extraordinary family of heroes. Lead the Bergons, with all their flaws and virtues, against the forthcoming Corruption. Will you be able to sacrifice everything to save the ones you care for?


Cuphead

Cuphead screenshot 9

Cuphead looks sweet, right? Two happy chappies on a happy chappy quest? Wrong. Cuphead will — happily — chew you up and spit you out. It’s a lot of fun, but it’ll push you every step of the way with ferocious boss battles. This shoot ‘em up platformer is rated at 4.53/5 from TA community votes, with over 100,000 site members playing it, so it looks as though the difficulty is well worth it.

Cuphead
Cuphead

Cuphead is a classic run and gun action game heavily focused on boss battles. Inspired by cartoons of the 1930s, the visuals and audio are painstakingly created with the same techniques of the era, i.e. traditional hand drawn cel animation, watercolor backgrounds, and original jazz recordings.


Rocket League

Rocket League

Rocket League is also a lot of fun, and significantly less stressful than Cuphead. It’s a great mix of skill and silliness, with a load of sparkles thrown in for good measure. The range of arenas, modes, and car customisation only increases Rocket League’s replayability. It’s perfect to play with friends, and can devolve quickly into utter chaos, as cars wearing a different assortment of hats zoom through the air, trailing flames, rainbows, or bubbles, as goals are scored, or blowing up as others crash into them. Rocket League is often updated with seasonal events, giving an extra incentive to return to it, and its 4.36/5 rating from the TA community is further proof that Rocket League continues to be a great game.

Rocket League®
Rocket League®

Soccer meets driving in this award-winning, physics-based multiplayer-focused mash-up! Choose from a variety of high-flying vehicles equipped with huge rocket boosters to score amazing aerial goals and pull off incredible, game-changing saves! Xbox One players enjoy immediate access to ALL "Game of the Year Edition" content, which includes dozens of items from three previously-released DLC Packs, PLUS two Xbox-exclusive Battle-Cars: Halo's "HogSticker" and the "Armadillo" from Gears of War.


Overcooked! 2

Logo

Overcooked! 2 might look cute, but it’s probably caused more arguments than even Cuphead. Overcooked! 2 is easy to learn, but presents you with increasingly difficult and pressured levels — not to mention the most bizarre and impractical kitchen layouts — so you’ll occasionally find yourself, for instance, on a hot air balloon and still for some reason attempting to cook even as it hurtles towards the ground. Overcooked! 2 remains just as enjoyable even as it amps up the difficulty, and is definitely one of the best ID@Xbox games available right now.

Overcooked! 2
Overcooked! 2

Overcooked returns with a brand-new helping of chaotic cooking action! Journey back to the Onion Kingdom and assemble your team of chefs in classic couch co-op or online play for up to four players. Hold onto your aprons … it’s time to save the world (again!)


Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove

Battletoads

Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove — which adds three extra campaigns to the original game — is a platformer with an 8-bit aesthetic, in which you try to eliminate the Order of No Quarter and The Enchantress. Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove is rated at 4.45/5 by the TA community, and 4.5/5 by our Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove review, which says it “can be challenging, frustrating, and cause unwanted headaches, but despite all that you’ll keep wanting to come back for more”.

Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove
Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove

Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove is the full and complete edition of Shovel Knight, a sweeping classic action adventure game series with awesome gameplay, memorable characters, and an 8-bit retro aesthetic


What Remains of Edith Finch

edith

What Remains of Edith Finch will pull you in straight away just by the power of its atmosphere, and keep you hooked with the interactive nature of an immersive game world and story. It can be classed as a walking sim, but it feels like so much more. It’ll only take around two to three hours to fully complete, but it leaves a lasting impression. What Remains of Edith Finch is rated at 4.12/5 by TA community votes, and at 4.5/5 by Mark’s What Remains of Edith Finch review.
What Remains of Edith Finch
What Remains of Edith Finch

What Remains of Edith Finch is a collection of strange tales about a family in Washington state. As Edith, you’ll explore the colossal Finch house, searching for stories as she explores her family history and tries to figure out why she's the last one in her family left alive. Each story you find lets you experience the life of a new family member on the day of their death, with stories ranging from the distant past to the present day.



That’s just a few of the best games the ID@Xbox program has to offer. If you’re not seeing your own favourite, you can head over to its game page and rate it, review it, chat about it in the forums, or else share your thoughts in the comments below!

This article was updated on 05/06/2020
Heidi Nicholas
Written by Heidi Nicholas
Hey, I'm Heidi! I've just finished studying a Masters in English Literature, but I've been obsessed with gaming since long before then. I began on the PS2 with Spyro, before graduating to the Xbox 360 and disappearing into Skyrim. I'm now a loyal RPG fan, but I still like to explore other genres — when I'm not playing Assassin's Creed Odyssey, or being lured back into Red Dead Redemption 2 or The Witcher 3!