Here are some of the best sports games you can play on Xbox Game Pass.
There are so many phenomenal sports games out there that it can often be difficult to choose just which one to thrash your buddy at. Whether it's a licensed sports video game or an RPG about balls throwing balls at one another, sports games really do come in all shapes and sizes.
So, it’s fortunate then that Xbox Game Pass has a whole slew of sports games to add to your backlog – an even longer backlog, wooo! Whether you want to play casually with some friends or get competitive and sink all your free time into it, these sports games on Xbox Game Pass are worth your time.
You’d be surprised at how many racing games there are on Xbox Game Pass. It’s as if Phil Spencer himself saw the umpteen different games where you race shiny cars down concrete tracks and said, “Nah, definitely another one”. So, you’d absolutely be forgiven for not knowing which one to start with.
If you’re looking for a racing game with realistic driving mechanics and that is more centered around rules and regulations – so, a sport basically – then look no further than F1 2021. Expertly taking the glorious and surprisingly engaging sport of Formula 1 and cramming it into a video game format, F1 2021 truly is the best racing sports game on Xbox Game Pass.
Do you think that cricket is a slow sport that wouldn’t transition well to a video game format? Well, think again as Cricket 22 is packed full of explosions, fishing mini-games, and of course various sized enemies to whack with your cricket bat. Okay, so none of that is true – how fun would that game be though – but Cricket 22 is nevertheless an exciting and fantastic cricket game.
Cricket 22 manages to take the very best parts of cricket and translate them into fun and exhilarating gameplay.It speeds up the occasionally slow sport with player-focused campaigns and mechanics. If you love cricket, then you’ll absolutely fall in love with Cricket 22. It may not have the big budget of other sports-based titles, but what it lacks in snazzy graphics, it more than makes up for with quality and charm.
If whacking a ball with a bat isn’t quite your thing, then perhaps you’d consider picking up the tranquil and serene sport of mixed martial arts. Just kidding – this absolutely brutal sport involves taking your opponent down by whatever means necessary. Or, you know, by kicking, punching and grappling.
UFC 4 is by far the best in the series despite its somewhat stagnant visuals. The core combat is as gripping and thrillingly visceral as ever, and the focus on arcadey gameplay ensures it remains the most accessible entry.If you want an action-packed sports title on Xbox Game Pass, you can’t go wrong with UFC 4.
If you’re looking for a hardcore sports sim, then this one may not be for you. Dodgeball Academia is a fun and colourful arcadey sports RPG filled with quirky characters, exciting ball-slinging combat and a gorgeous open-world. While it may not be as traditionally sports-like as say FIFA, it does offer one of the most compelling sports experiences for those willing to give it a shot.
If sports RPGs are your thing, then Dodgeball Academia is likely the best one you’ll play. Its Saturday morning cartoon vibes make it an incredibly endearing experience overall, and its cast of creatively designed characters helps cement it as one of the more memorable sports games available.
Okay, so it didn’t seem right to not include FIFA. Sure, it’s easy to rag on this series for its somewhat repetitive entries, but FIFA is a staple sports series for a reason. Its gameplay gets more and more refined with each entry and its outstanding visuals bring its enormous roster of players to life. It has come a long way since the arcade days when kicking a ball from your goal would see it land in a whole other country.
As the majority of the EA lineup of somewhat middling titles, are all available on Xbox Game Pass, it is a no-brainer to try out FIFA 21 if you’re at all into sports games or football. The only game that could supersede this is its sequel and inevitable 50-odd more that’ll come out in the next year or so.
If you’ve never immersed yourself in the wonderful world of fishing simulators, then you have frankly missed out on a whole sub-genre of phenomenal sports games. While not every fishing game is made equally, The Catch: Carp & Coarse is easily one of the most rewarding and genuinely serene fishing experiences on console.
With gorgeous visuals to help completely immerse you in the boat-bobbing, bevvy-chugging, kid-bonding fishing experience, The Catch: Carp & Coarse is certainly not a carp game. See what we did there?
Whereas most sports games tend to put you in the shoes of the players, Football Manager 2022 takes a different approach. Why not be every player simultaneously? Don’t worry, you won’t be controlling an amorphous blob of flesh and leather. Instead, you’ll be managing your very own football team in this incredibly intricate managing sim.
While Football Manager 2022 certainly doesn’t introduce any huge innovations compared to its predecessors, its fine-tuning of the series’ core mechanics ultimately makes it the most engaging Football Manager game available.If you feel like sinking hundreds of hours into a sports title, you should give Football Manager 2022 a try.
Extreme sports may not be in the public eye due to the, well, you know, whole “extreme” part. So, it makes sense that video games centered around these kinds of sports would offer an extremely exhilarating experience for those not willing to risk their literal lives for the sake of a quick thrill. Enter Steep, an open-world extreme sports game filled with skiing, snowboarding, paragliding and more.
Steep may not be the most polished sports game, but it is so jam-packed with content, so blisteringly fun, so jaw-droppingly gorgeous that its minor faults are easy enough to overlook. What makes Steep so special is its social element that sees other players populate your world. You may never really interact with them beyond watching them crash into trees, but it does help make everything feel a lot more alive. This is easily one of the best snowboarding games ever made.
If you want to punch a person so hard that their teeth fall out, then Fight Night Champion is perfect for you. Despite being an Xbox 360 title, Fight Night Champion is easily one of the best boxing games ever made. Its polished combat, character customisation and compelling story mode make this an engaging and enjoyable experience from start to finish.
With no other Fight Night games being made any time soon and no entertaining boxing games on Game Pass, it would seem that Fight Night Champion is your only choice. However, frankly, even if there were other boxing games around, we’d still only want Fight Night Champion on the platform.
While the Tony Hawk line of skateboarding games may be the most well-known and established ones out there, the Skate series certainly tried its hardest. The third in the series proved to be one of the most comprehensive skating experiences on console, offering a ton of customisation options, large open environments and a gripping-enough narrative to tie it all together.
While it's a shame that Skate 4 wasn’t made sooner – unfortunately letting the series fade into obscurity – Skate 3 lives on via Xbox Game Pass. If you’re looking for an excellent skateboarding title to pass the time, then you can’t do any better than Skate 3.
NEXT: The Best Story Modes From Extreme Sports Games
Tom is a freelance journalist and an aspiring novelist. After completing his Masters in Multimedia Journalism, Tom went on to work in the games journalism sphere. Now, he has joined TheGamer as a list writer. Outside of work, he’s an avid Yu-Gi-Oh player and a proponent of terrible video games.
Here are some of the best sports games you can play on Xbox Game Pass.