Best games like Bayonetta on Xbox

By Luke Albigés,

As Bayonetta 3 sashays onto Switch, Xbox players might once again find themselves feeling a little left out. But never fear — if you fancy some stylish action of a different kind instead, you have plenty of great options on Xbox!

Bayonetta 3 is the second of the three games to launch exclusively on Nintendo hardware meaning that aside from the anniversary Xbox One re-release of the original, we've not had a new Bayo game on Xbox in almost 13 years. If you don't have a Switch and you're missing the witch (it is witching season, after all), here are some good alternatives you might want to try.

Stylish action games have largely fallen out of favour in recent years — partly due to their typical difficulty limiting their audience and partly due to how hard it is to keep pace with the genre's top titles — and fans will have likely played a good few of these, so we've tried to include a few interesting curveballs that may still do the trick. Of course, you could always just play/replay the original Bayonetta (especially if you haven't done the Xbox One stack... the polished-up remaster often goes on sale for less than ten bucks and the game holds up great), but if you want something different, maybe one of these will fill the void?

Devil May Cry 5

Devil May Cry 3 was for years held up as the benchmark for the stylish action genre, a genuine masterpiece that even Capcom itself couldn't match with the follow-up, leading Dante to take a ten-year hiatus. Devil May Cry 5 was absolutely worth the wait when it rocked up in 2019, however, expanding on DMC4's multiple protagonists with three unique playable characters... four, if you include Vergil's addition in the Special Edition remaster that launched alongside the Xbox Series X|S. Nero remains the simplest of the three but has some new tricks up his sleeve, newcomer V brings an all-new style of indirect showboating as he commands his demonic minions, while Dante has more tools than ever to bring the Smokin' Sexy Style and in the right hands, he's just captivating to watch. If you haven't pulled that Devil Trigger yet, we highly recommend that you do.

Transformers: Devastation

You might not have expected to find a game based on an old kids' cartoon on this list, but hear us out. Like Bayonetta, Transformers: Devastation was a gift from the action gods at PlatinumGames — an unexpected fusion of iconic characters from many a childhood and modern gameplay from one of the best studios in its field, letting the likes of Optimus Prime and Bumblebee show off their moves like never before. Sadly, Devastation has been removed from the Microsoft Store (the same cruel fate that befalls so many licensed games), but both the Xbox 360 and Xbox One releases should still be out there in physical form, if you can track one down. You may not expect it to be, but it's absolutely worth it, especially when you couple it with Spotify to blast Dare and The Touch from the animated movie soundtrack alongside the impressive action.

The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile

If you don't mind losing a dimension, The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile still manages to bring the style without the need for all that snazzy 3D business. The side-scolling hardcore action game has that same scratchy, grungy look and feel that so many Ska Studios games do so it's not quite as fancy as something like Bayonetta, but the mystical elements do give it a little more in common than you may expect and the rock-solid combat still holds up impressively for a ten-year-old Xbox Live Arcade title. While it's still on the store, it unfortunately never made the backwards compatibility list so you'll need to dust off the 360 if you want to give this one a go, and as a niche XBLA release, there's only 200G up for grabs, which might be offputting for a game that puts up as much of a fight as this unsung gem does. If you'd rather something newer and less grimy, the similarly stylish The Legend of Tianding is coming to Game Pass soon, so maybe keep an eye on that.

Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII

Time for probably the biggest curveball on the list, but I've been banging this drum for years and don't intend to stop now — people really overlook the depth and nuance of the combat system in Lightning Returns. While the trappings of an RPG mean it's never going to dazzle quite like the best of these games, the fact that you can find combo exhibition videos like the one above on YouTube shows just how far skilled players can push the systems and pull off some truly amazing stuff. It's also got a strong female lead, if that's one of the things you like about Bayonetta. Admittedly you do need to make a pretty big dent in the game before you can style on enemies quite like this, but the similar strands in some elements and themes running through a totally different genre might prove a nice change of pace. Better yet, Lightning Returns is currently available with Game Pass, so subscribers can jump in whenever they fancy.

Ninja Gaiden Black

There are pros and cons to both the original Xbox release of Ninja Gaiden Black and the modern remake Ninja Gaiden Sigma (which is also in Game Pass, so there's its first plus), but the OG release is typically considered to be the better of the two. For a 2005 release, Black scrubs up remarkably well, especially with the new consoles giving it a bit of a helping hand in avoiding looking its age. Ninja Gaiden has long been revered for its superb melee combat and renowned for its unforgiving difficulty, and while Team Ninja arguably has never quite managed to top the first game in the modern trilogy (particularly taking into account improvements made by Black and Sigma), that doesn't change the fact that this will likely always be considered one of the best games of its kind, and practically required reading for fans.

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

I will take any opportunity I can get to say this, but Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is just incredible. And oh look, it's another PlatinumGames joint, and perhaps the most aggressive iteration of its world-class combat to date. The novel Blade Mode gimmick allows you to slow time to slice and dice your enemies like melons (and indeed melons like your enemies), but moment-to-moment combat is fast and driven, not least due to how parrying works by pushing your own blows into incoming enemy ones rather than having a bespoke guard/counter button. Even if Revengeance was garbage (spoiler: it is not), it'd still be worth playing for the soundtrack alone, with boss themes layering to form gloriously preposterous anthems as fights escalate. Hey Konami, now you seem to be getting back into gaming, how about you give your friends at Platinum a call and throw them some cash to make a sequel? Pretty please?

Vanquish

Vanquish is an interesting one in that while cautious casual playthroughs might make it look more like a cover shooter than an action game, top-tier play shows off crazy stunts that wouldn't be out of place in even the most over-the-top games featured here. Stringing together rocket-powered slides and slow-motion leaps to gun down enemies (somehow) unscathed both looks and feels amazing, and while you don't have to play it like that, the fact that you even can is testament to the depth of its gameplay... and a hallmark of Platinum's combat suites, because yes, it's another Platinum creation. Vanquish was remastered for Xbox One alongside Bayonetta for its tenth anniversary, and the pair frequently go on sale, even as a bundle. Two of the best games of the 360 generation in one bundle? Don't mind if we do...

Nier: Automata

Nier: Automata might not have the technical depth and execution focus of the best stylish action games, but that doesn't mean you can't still show off like a boss. Despite its simpler systems, combat here is as flashy as the genre's best, and without feeling like you're just watching over-the-top animations every time you press a couple of buttons. It's a game that subverts expections across multiple playthroughs, and its impressive combat never gets stale, proving that Platinum can work its magic even with a less demanding variant of what the studio does best. And, like Revengeance, Automata also comes with an all-timer of a soundtrack to cap off an already stellar experience.

Ninja Blade

Let's close on another slightly odd choice, this time from FromSoftware before the team hit the big leagues with Dark Souls. They say there's no accounting for taste, and that goes double here. You see, Ninja Blade is a guilty pleasure of mine and undoubtedly the weakest of the featured games here, but it has a certain janky charm to it all the same. In addition, if for some reason you actually like how Bayonetta insists on weaving insta-fail QTE sections between its amazing combat encounters, then you'll love Ninja Blade — ludicrous set pieces get those same on-screen button prompts, although many will likely wish they didn't so they could experience the full ridiculousness of what is going on. Ninja Blade has vanished from the MS Store (except in Japan, oddly) and isn't backwards compatible, but disc copies can be found for next to nothing. If you're still rocking a 360, give it a go... it's ultra-daft and kinda scuffed, but it can be a fun time.

That'll do it! Any of these take your fancy? Rinsed them all already? Grabbing Bayonetta 3 on Switch anyway so don't need 'em (yet)? Let us know!
Luke Albigés
Written by Luke Albigés
Luke runs the TA news team, contributing where he can primarily with reviews and other long-form features — crafts he has honed across two decades of print and online gaming media experience, having worked with the likes of gamesTM, Eurogamer, Play, Retro Gamer, Edge, and many more. He loves all things Monster Hunter, enjoys a good D&D session, and has played way too much Destiny.
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