Many people use video game reviews to determine how to spend their hard-earned dollars. While as an adult I don’t take this as seriously and I now make my own money I am more forgiving of games that aren’t perfect. As kids or teens, we have limited money and are usually picked through gaming magazines to determine if that one game was worth the money because we only got a few a year. For me, it was only during Christmas time that my parents bought games. I mostly rented mine throughout my childhood and teen years. Even for rentals, I was picky as I didn’t want to be stuck on my weekend with a dud of a game. Even a 7/10 or 3.5/5 would be considered a waste of time. This was the last generation in which AAA title after AAA title would be considered fantastic and with so many exclusives it was hard to keep up with. The HD era of gaming would see budgets balloon to insane heights and game releases slowed down as a result.
In my eyes, 7/10 or 3.5/5 games are mostly ignored. These aren’t always considered hidden gems either. Some are, but some are just considered forgettable. Not awful or good, but just passes under everyone’s radar. These aren’t the “so bad it’s good” games either. A few of these games have cult followings; a few I had only heard of while compiling this list and some I played myself growing up. I compiled this list from Metacritic with games between 74-70. I feel that’s the true blue 7 range. 79 and 78-rated games usually only have about 25% of the critics giving it a 7 to bring an otherwise 8 score down some. These games are at least rated by half the critics as 7/10. While I know many people don’t listen to critics and some might feel this game should be rated higher or lower is subjective. Like it or not, critic reviews drive sales and it may be the reason why you might find a few games on this list you’ve never heard of, thought was talked about worse than you remember, or something along those lines
Dead Rising 2: Case West – 2010
An exclusive standalone title bringing back Frank West. It was too little too late as the second game wasn’t a big enough improvement for most people. I personally don’t care for this series but die-hard fans at this one up.
Most Recent Entry: Dead Rising 4 – 2016 (PC, XONE)
Capsized – 2013
This indie title was well-liked for its visuals and atmosphere as well as old-school challenge, but its combat and exploration were a bit one-note and didn’t hold most people’s attention for long
Ridge Racer 6 – 2005
A console launch title that was met with a lot of hype. It was just average. There were better arcade racers at the time and it didn’t advance the series enough to be groundbreaking. For a console launch title, it also didn’t show off the power of the 360 at the time like it did with the PSP.
Most Recent Entry: Ridge Racer: Draw and Drift – 2016 (iOS, AND)
Kinectimals – 2010
One of the most hyped Xbox 360 games to date. This was shown off during the Kinect unveil at E3 and people went nuts. It’s probably the best Kinect game out there and while it was praised for its imagination and whimsy it didn’t have much gameplay or content to keep you coming back.
Comic Jumper: The Adventures of Captain Smiley – 2010
Comic Jumper was praised for innovative gameplay and fun characters, but lacked depth and became very repetitive. It felt like an older Xbox game at best.
Dance Dance Revolution Universe – 2007
A competent yet underwhelming debut on next-gen consoles. The graphics were sub-par and there was no addition of custom soundtracks which many stated was a missed opportunity. It was just more DDR on Xbox 360.
Most Recent Entry: Dance Dance Revolution II – 2011 (WII)
Your Shape: Fitness Evolved – 2010
The short-lived series made its mark at the launch of the Kinect and many praised it for using the device well, but underneath was simply a workout simulator and nothing more.
Most Recent Entry: Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2013 – 2012 (WIIU)
Jetpac Refueled – 2006
A cheap reimagining of the classic Atari game. It worked well enough, but if you aren’t a fan of high-score games then this wasn’t for you. It didn’t do anything to evolve the series enough.
Motocross Madness – 2013
The final game in the long-running series. Its console debut, and reboot, featured cute avatar characters, and looked good, but had very little content outside of multiplayer.
NBA Baller Beats – 2012
Not to be confused with Midway’s NBA Baller series. It was an ambitious title and probably one of the most unique for the Kinect. You used a real-life basketball and dribbled to a rhythm game. It was great for practicing and a good workout, but hindered the visuals and content department. People also complained of needing said basketball and a hard surface. Anyone living with downstairs neighbors was also left out.
Most Recent Entry: NBA 2K23 – 2022 (PC, XONE, PS4, PS5, XSX, NS)
Hybrid – 2012
Even if you wanted to play this game you can’t. It was online only with no bots and isn’t for purchase any longer. Now it’s just a relic and time capsule. The game was praised for doing interesting things, but was priced too high, had no offline play, and had weird controls.
Small Arms – 2006
An early title that launched with Xbox LIVE Arcade. This four player brawler had a charming roster and fun combat, but didn’t offer much in terms of longevitiy or depth. It’s still available today to play on Xbox One.
Raiden Fighters Aces – 2009
For a budget retail title it offered three Raiden games that hardcore fans would love. Other than that the game wa questioned for being double the price of most LIVE Arcade games and only including three.
Most Recent Entry: Raiden IV x MIKADO remix – 2021 (NS)
Zumba Fitness Rush – 2012
Fitness games were everywhere for the Kinect and motion devices. It was an unstoppable plague. Zumba Fitness was considered one of the better ones, but each version lacked a variety of content.
Most Recent Entry: Zumba: Burn It Up! – 2019 (NS)
Kinect: Disneyland Adventures – 2011
Of course this was going to happen. Riding the apex of the Kinect’s popularty you can take a trip down a virtual Disneyland. The game was praised for capturing the magic of the theme park, but lacked content or challenge.
Scene It? Lights, Camera, Action – 2007
Trivia games have always had their audience and Scene It? burned up and fizzled out fast. This one was exclusive on Xbox 360 for some reason and was crtiqued for having triva that only 20 something’s (who are in their 30’s now) would get and understand. It wasn’t great for family night.
Most Recent Entry: Scene It?: Movie Night – 2011 (X360, PS3)
Kinect Sports – 2010
The most popular Kinect game, it launched with the device, and it was a direct rival to Wii Sports. It didn’t have the same charm sadly. While the games were fun the motion controls didn’t register accuretly and it lacked overall content. The series would try one last time on the Xbox One before fading out of existence.
Most Recent Entry: Kinect Sports: Rivals – 2014 (XONE)
Crimson Alliance – 2011
Praised for it’s bright visuals and fun take on the Diablo formula, but was really short and didn’t offer much in terms of content. It was also best played with other people as the AI wasn’t very good.
Omega Five – 2008
A fun yet shallow side scrolling shooter. It looked really good as well with lots of nice effects, but it didn’t have a unique hook or visual style and in the end many people lost interest.
Race Pro – 2009
A racing sim that was praised for it’s realism but lacked content and felt too similar to othe PC racing sims. It just couldn’t compete with the likes of Forza and Project Gotham Racing.
Amped 3 – 2005
A system launch title and originally Microsoft’s answer to SSX Amped had it’s following and crowd. Amped 3 was well…amped up to launch and was one of the better selling games. Despite this the game lacked content despite looking next-gen, but looked bland and the game just didn’t have much flair or style to it. It played like a generic snowboarding game.The series would end here.
Gel: Set & Match – 2009
An original puzzle game indeed, but it just felt like it wasn’t enough or didn’t reach its full potential. It wasn’t super accessible and also not challenging enough at the same time.
Star Ocean: The Last Hope – 2009
Xbox 360 exclusie JRPGs weren’t pentiful and none of them were stellar. Many kept playing them until FFXIII would surface, but Star Ocean hasn’t been a good franchise in over a decade. The Last Hope was full of long drawn out cut scenes, an uninteresting story, and gameplay that was boring and average. However, regular JRPG lovers will find enough to like here. It would later relase on PS3 with little fanfare.
Most Recent Entry: Star Ocean: The Divine Force – 2022 (PC, PS4, XONE, XSX, PS5)
Phantom Breaker: Battlegrounds – 2013
This is a hardcore beat ’em up similar to Castle Crashers, however it’s not as accessible. Some claimed it was too complicated, some said it had gameplay mechanics that weren’t the best. Overall, if you like this genre there’s something here for you. It’s also getting a new game this year.
Most Recent Entry: Phantom Breaker: Omnia – 2022 (PC, NS, XONE, PS4)
South Park: Let’s Go Tower Defense Play! – 2009
Considered the best South Park game at the time, but that’s not a big shoe to fill. You either needed to be a South Park fan or love tower defense to enjoy this. It offered very little variety and not much outside of multiplayer.
Most Recent Entry: South Park: The Fractured But Whole – 2017 (PC, PS4, XONE, NS)
Axel & Pixel – 2009
A great looking original point-and-click adventure that was praised for being brave enough to bring this genre back, but the story wasn’t interesting enough to garnish sales for a sequel. If you love the genre and haven’t played this then you’re in for a visual treat.
Hexic 2 – 2007
A new game by Tetris creator Alex Pajitnov is exciting. Hexic 2‘s Xbox 360 exclusivity wasn’t a surprise, but it wasn’t much more than the original. The first Hexic game was the first ever LIVE Arcade game I played as it came with my system bundled in. I never bothered with the sequel, but my sister was obsessed with this game. Many complained the game cost too much for how little it offered.
The Splatters – 2012
A unique and fun physics based puzzle game, but players felt the game was too hard, unfair, and overall rough around the edges. It’s still fun for puzzle fans as there’s nothing else like it.
Nike+ Kinect Training – 2012
Nike threw their hat into the Kinect ring a little too late and what we got was a pure training simulator with almost no game. It wasn’t fun, it was very serious, and didn’t have the best motion detection setup. If you had one training sim for your Kinect you had them all.
Meteos Wars – 2008
The DS phenomenon came to Xbox 360, but was hamepered by an overly aggressive AI and no online play. Despite the name you’d mistake this for an online only game. While the core gameplay was intact, it didn’t have a lot to offer. This would be the final nail the series’ coffin.
Lips – 2008
Lips: Number One Hits – 2009
If the name wasn’t dumb enough the karaoke genre was overflowing with shovelware at this point. Despite this one-off game for the 360 being decent as a simulator. It wasn’t really a game. You just sing to the words like any other game with no modes or actual fun.
Fruit Ninja Kinect – 2011
Does anyone remember Fruit Ninja? It was a smartphone phenomeon. It also got a giant arcade version which I actually got to play. While this is one of the better Kinect games it was way overpriced and this hurt sales and reviews. It had about the same of content as the smartphone versions at nearly full retail price. It’s a great title to own if you have one collecting dust somewhere.
Most Recent Entry: Fruit Ninja 2 – 2020 (AND, iOS)
Easy Golf: Course Architect – 2008
This was a more high-profile indie game that was made by the community. It looked simple, but played well enough and had a robust course editor. It was best played online. However, the rather ugly visuals and UI hampered the experience a bit.f
Chromehounds – 2006
If the cover isn’t the most generic thing you’ve ever seen it doesn’t end there. The game didn’t look up to snuff for the era, but offered a robust customization suite with great online play, but lacked everywhere else. It’s a decent mech game that was exclusive to the system, but quickly forgotten about.
Crackdown 2 – 2010
The first Crackdown was loads of fun and felt original. Sadly, due to the surprising popularity the sequel was greenlit too fast and we got more of the same which wasn’t really a good thing for an open world game. It felt like an expansion if you can say that. The sreies never reached the heights of the original after.
Most Recent Entry: Crackdown 3 – 2019 (PC, XONE)
Bubble Bobble Neo! – 2009
Another arcade version of Bubble Bobble. Nothing new or innovative and incredibly hard, but if you love arcade games then this is for you. At this point in time any form of Bubble Bobble was heeded with groans as it was a series Taito had beaten into the ground at this point.
Most Recent Entry: Bubble Bobble 4 Friends – 2019 (NS, PS4)
The Outfit – 2006
A hyped up exclusive that got attention everywhere. It was firstly looked down upon due to its dated visuals which didn’t look next-gen. It was also a slower paced strategy title which would automatically neuter sales. In the end the game had fun multiplayer, but was really repetitive. It would have done better as a PC title.
Bomberman Live: Battlefest – 2010
Better than the abysmal 360 exclusive, but plays it too safe to set itself apart from other games. The online play was a good addition, and the visuals are charming, but that’s about it.
Most Recent Entry: Amazing Bomberman – 2022 (MAC, iOS)
Full Auto – 2006
A very short lived series and a not-so-surprising Sega exclusive on Xbox. This was a generic feeling car battler at its core despite the high octane thrills and average track design.
Most Recent Entry: Full Auto 2: Battlelines – 2007 (PSP, PS3)
Haunt – 2012
This Kinect title was late to the game, but provided a charming haunted house to travel through. Ultimately it was over in a few hours and didn’t have much gameplay or depth to keep you coming back.
Ticket to Ride – 2008
There wasn’t anything inherently wrong with the game. It was for hardcore boardgame players really. It had a dry presentation and was simple to learn but hard to master. I feel if it had flashier visuals it would have appealed to more people.