Here are some key facts about Xbox 360 games:
The Xbox 360 was released in 2005 by Microsoft as the successor to the original Xbox. It competed primarily against Sony’s PlayStation 3 and Nintendo’s Wii consoles.
Some of the most popular and best-selling Xbox 360 games included Halo 3, Gears of War, Call of Duty 2, Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and Forza Motorsport 3.
Key game genres and franchises popular on Xbox 360 included first-person shooters like Halo and Call of Duty, open-world games like Grand Theft Auto and Elder Scrolls, and racing games like Forza Motorsport.
Many Xbox 360 games were enhanced with high-definition 1080p graphics and 5.1 surround sound capabilities to take advantage of the more powerful Xbox 360 hardware over the original Xbox.
Online multiplayer gaming grew tremendously with Xbox Live on the 360. Popular online/multiplayer titles included Call of Duty, Gears of War, and Halo.
Motion control gaming was introduced later in the Xbox 360 lifespan with the launch of the Kinect sensor accessory in 2010, enabling controller-free motion gaming.
The Xbox 360 had several storage options including hard drives, memory cards, and discs. Larger hard drives or multiple discs were sometimes needed to install the full content of larger games.
The Xbox 360 console has one of the best libraries of games ever released. Even though the console is nearly 20 years old at this point, there are still plenty of fantastic games available that hold up great even today.
In this article, I’ll highlight over 18 of the absolute best Xbox 360 games that you can play for free in 2023. All of these games are available either through Xbox Live Gold, Xbox Game Pass or as free-to-play titles.
No best-of Xbox 360 games list would be complete without mentioning Halo 3. This 2007 FPS was a massive hit and the crown jewel of the Halo franchise during the Xbox 360 generation.
Halo 3 features an epic sci-fi story campaign that you can play through either solo or cooperatively with up to 3 friends.
It also has excellent multiplayer modes with tons of maps and gameplay variants to master. The multiplayer still holds up great today if you want to relive the glory days of Xbox Live.
As an Xbox exclusive, Halo 3 looks and runs fantastic on Xbox 360 hardware. Xbox Live Gold members can download and play this classic Halo game for free.
Gears of War
Alongside Halo, Gears of War was the other huge Xbox 360 exclusive franchise. The original Gears of War from 2006 set the standard for cover-based third-person shooters with its over-the-shoulder camera and brutal weaponry.
The story puts you in the boots of Marcus Fenix as he battles the locust horde. The campaign can be played solo or cooperatively with a friend on split-screen or Xbox Live.
The multiplayer also features classic modes like Warzone and Execution that are still a blast to play.
Like Halo 3, Xbox Live Gold members can download and play Gears of War for free. It still holds up great today as one of the best Xbox 360 shooters.
If you’re looking for a more casual free Xbox 360 game, check out Hexic HD. This is a polished version of the classic Xbox 360 launch title Hexic.
The goal is to rotate and match up groups of colored hexagon tiles. It starts off simple but quickly becomes challenging as the board fills up. This is a perfect puzzle game to play solo or pass and play with a group.
Thanks to the shiny HD visuals, Hexic HD still looks gorgeous today. Xbox Live members can download this one for free.
Aegis Wing is a sci-fi horizontally scrolling shooter in the vein of classics like Gradius and R-Type. It was designed as a small independent game but really stands out as one of the best in its genre on Xbox 360.
You pilot a ship through asteroid fields and enemy armadas, collecting power-ups and blasting everything in your path. The hand-drawn visuals give it tons of personality and it’s exciting to master the scoring system.
Aegis Wing supports up to 4 players in local co-op, making it a blast to play with friends. Best of all, it’s completely free for all Xbox Live members.
Doritos Crash Course
Doritos Crash Course is an Xbox Live Arcade obstacle course game developed by Wanako Games and published by Microsoft in 2010. The goal is to guide your avatar through treacherous obstacle courses and race against the clock or other players online.
It’s called Doritos Crash Course because it was originally developed as part of a promotion with Doritos chips. Thankfully you don’t need any Doritos to play the game today.
The courses are filled with platforms, traps, and puzzles that require quick reflexes and timing to overcome. It’s a simple concept done exceptionally well and one of the most addictive casual free games on Xbox 360.
Most consoles have lackluster pinball games, but that’s not the case on Xbox 360. Pinball FX2 is one of the greatest video pinball simulators ever made and can be played for free.
Pinball FX2 nails the physics and feel of real pinball machines perfectly. The base download comes with one table, but you can buy dozens more as DLC if you want more variety.
Each table is bursting with creative art, 3D animated toys, and unique gameplay mechanics.
Pinball FX2 has both local and online multiplayer features too so you can compete for high scores with friends. It’s easily one of the best free Xbox 360 games, even if you need to buy DLC for more tables.
Happy Wars is an often overlooked online multiplayer game for Xbox 360. This free-to-play action game supports up to 30 players battling it out in teams.
You compete in rounds to try and take down the opposing team’s castle gate while defending your own. There are dozens of character classes to choose from, each with different weapons and abilities to suit your playstyle.
The visuals are bright and colorful, and almost have a Playstation 2-era style about them. Underneath the cutesy looks is a deceptively deep competitive online game that’s easy to sink hours into.
Happy Wars proves free-to-play titles can hold their own against full-price retail games. It’s a must-try multiplayer game that still has an active community in 2023.
World of Tanks
World of Tanks is one of many free-to-play online multiplayer games from Wargaming. However, it stands out as one of their best titles and works great on Xbox 360.
Here you control iconic tanks from World War II like the American M4 Sherman or German Tiger 1. You compete in 7v7 team battles and try to destroy the opposing tanks. There are also modes where you have to capture strategic points on the map.
The realistic graphics and physics make you feel like you’re commanding a real 50-tonne metal war machine. World of Tanks on Xbox 360 has cross-play support with the PC and Xbox One versions too, so the player population is always healthy.
If you enjoy military hardware and competitive online games, World of Tanks is definitely worth downloading for free.
AirMech Arena is a fantastic mix of real-time strategy and action that’s free to play. You control powerful transforming robots that can fly over the battlefield and deploy units like tanks and infantry.
The goal is to capture and hold objectives, support troops, and destroy the enemy base. You view the battlefield from a top-down perspective but can zoom down at any time to directly control your AirMech robot walker.
The fusion of strategy and action gameplay works perfectly. Matches are usually fast-paced but require some tactical thinking to win. With Xbox cross-play support, there is always plenty of competition online.
Fighting game fans will be glad to know there’s a free version of Killer Instinct available on Xbox 360. This 2013 reboot of the ’90s arcade classic is one of the best fighting games ever made.
The gameplay will be instantly familiar to fans of titles like Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat. Killer Instinct sets itself apart with its lengthy and ultra-satisfying combo system. Linking moves together feels amazing once you learn the mechanics.
On Xbox 360, you only get access to 1 character for free. But that’s enough to experience fantastic gameplay against online opponents. If you want more, you can purchase additional fighters a la carte.
Even with just a single playable character, Killer Instinct is still one of the top free Xbox 360 downloads fighting games fans need to play.
Path of Exile
In the realm of free-to-play action RPGs, Path of Exile is one of the very best. This loot-driven dungeon-crawler feels like the true successor to the cult classic Diablo II. In fact, many fans argue it’s better than Diablo III.
Path of Exile first launched on PC but later received an excellent Xbox 360 port. The controller support is well implemented and it looks great on Xbox 360 hardware. No microtransactions are required to succeed here.
With seven expansive acts and tons of character customization through skill gems, Path of Exile will keep you slaying demons for months. If you enjoy loot-driven ARPGs, Path of Exile is a must-play free download.
Warface is a military online shooter published by Crytek, the developers behind the original Far Cry and Crysis games. It first launched as a PC exclusive but later came to Xbox 360 with full cross-play support.
There are cooperative PvE missions you can tackle with a squad against AI enemies. Or you can dive into competitive PvP modes like Team Deathmatch and Plant the Bomb.
There’s a great weapon variety with realistic guns modeled after their real-life counterparts.
As a free-to-play game, Warface does have some grind and monetization. But at its core, this is a rock-solid online military FPS built by a talented developer. If you want competitive FPS action without paying a cent, check out Warface.
Star Trek Online
Star Trek Online lets you create your very own captain, recruit a crew, and boldly go where no one has gone before. This free-to-play MMO is a dream come true for Trekkies looking to explore the final frontier.
You’ll get to visit iconic locations from the shows and movies. All your favorite alien races, like Vulcans, Klingons, and Borg are present as well. Space combat feels cinematic and strategic as you command your starship in battle.
There are also missions you can complete on foot as your custom captain. The story features voice work from many cast members of the various Star Trek shows too.
Star Trek Online perfectly captures the essence of the sci-fi franchise in video game form. For any fan of the series, it’s unmissable as a free download.
APB Reloaded is an open-world shooter where you play as either a criminal or an enforcer trying to bring them down. It originally launched as a retail game before transitioning into a free-to-play online experience.
The gameplay has you carrying out various missions like heists, busting drug deals, or apprehending suspects. There is also competitive team versus team multiplayer featuring Deathmatch, Capture the Flag, and more.
While light on story, APB Reloaded thrives based on its strong core shooting gameplay and player freedom. Being able to design your own character’s look and vehicle adds another layer of customization. If you want an online urban sandbox to mess around in, APB Reloaded is a great pick.
Neverwinter comes from Cryptic Studios, who are known for previous online RPGs like Champions Online and Star Trek Online. Neverwinter itself is based on the famous Dungeons and Dragons universe first made popular through tabletop games.
This free-to-play RPG has you create a character and explore the medieval fantasy world of Neverwinter. The combat blending action and tab-target mechanics work surprisingly well. There’s satisfying spellcasting and melee fighting to be had here.
The world and story are straight out of D&D ;D which is perfect for fans of the tabletop series. Even if you aren’t familiar with Dungeons and Dragons, Neverwinter is one of the most polished free Xbox 360 RPGs out there.
Paladins is a team-based hero shooter similar to games like Team Fortress 2 and Overwatch. Instead of purchasing Overwatch or TF2 on Xbox 360 however, you can just download Paladins for free.
There are over 30 playable Champions each with their own weapons, skills, and playstyles. You work together with your team to try and siege objectives and push payloads across the map.
Sharp graphics, excellent maps, and constant updates help Paladins stand out from the competition. Since it’s free-to-play, there’s always a healthy population online to compete against.
If you enjoy class-based shooters but want a free alternative, be sure to check out Paladins on Xbox 360.
Portal: Still Alive
Portal first launched on Xbox 360 and PC as part of the critically acclaimed Orange Box compilation. The original game was a short but unforgettable experience. Portal: Still Alive is an expanded version released on Xbox Live Arcade.
Equipped with only an experimental portal gun, you must solve a series of physics-based 3D puzzles and test chambers. This first-person puzzler seamlessly combines comedy and tragedy through brilliant writing.
Still Alive adds 14 new challenges and new achievements for a total of 50 tests to complete. Even when the puzzles get difficult, the bizarre and intriguing world of Aperture Science Labs will motivate you to keep trying.
Valve hardly ever discounts its games, so its amazing Portal is available completely free of charge through Xbox Live. Don’t miss out on playing this groundbreaking milestone of gaming history.
Spelunky is one of the most iconic roguelike platformers ever made. The Xbox 360 version remains one of the best ways to enjoy this challenging Indiana Jones-style adventure.
The goal is to explore underground caves while gathering treasure and saving damsels in distress. You only get one life per run, so careful movement and quick reflexes are required.
Procedurally generated levels keep each run exciting and fresh. There are also hidden secrets and shortcuts you can discover to access more treasure.
Spelunky demands patience and practice, but pulling off a perfect run is immensely rewarding. Thanks to being free for Xbox Live members, it’s one platforming roguelike every gamer should try.
Doritos Crash Course 2
Following the success of the original Doritos Crash Course, Microsoft published a sequel exclusively for Xbox 360 called Doritos Crash Course 2. This 2013 title expands upon the original with new courses and obstacles.
There are trolls, wrecking balls, trampolines, and spinning platforms designed to halt your progress. Timely jumps, ducks, and dives are crucial to get through unscathed.
Like before, you can race against online opponents as well as go for the best time solo. Cleaner visuals and a charming soundtrack make Doritos Crash Course 2 one of the most appealing free games on Xbox Live.
World of Tanks: Mercenaries
A second free-to-play World of Tanks game was released on Xbox 360 in 2018 titled World of Tanks: Mercenaries. This version adds enhanced graphics, new maps, and over 100 famous tanks from WW2 and beyond.
There are British, American, German, and Soviet factions present with historically accurate arsenals. You can even command prototype tanks that never made it to live production.
Customization and progression systems are expanded in Mercenaries allowing for deeper tank and crew upgrades. The core strategic 7v7 online battles are as thrilling as ever backed by a healthy player population.
For fans of World of Tanks on Xbox 360, Mercenaries is a must-download thanks to being free-to-play and packed with new content.
Full House Poker
Poker is light on fun video game adaptations, but Full House Poker stands tall as an incredibly addicting title. As the name suggests, it focuses exclusively on Texas hold ’em tournament-style poker matches.
The presentation is second to none with lively casino environments and chip-stacking animations. AI opponents have distinct personalities that react and banter during games. You can even customize your own poker avatar.
Daily and weekly online tournaments are held featuring a variety of game modes and stakes. You play for leaderboard rank and can unlock new casinos by placing high.
Even though it’s just simulated poker, Full House Poker’s charm and constant competition make it one of the top free Xbox 360 games out there for card sharks.
Fusion: Genesis is an Xbox Live Arcade twin-stick shooter where you blast through swarms of colorful enemies. There are over 160 stages featuring 8 intense worlds to battle through.
The smooth difficulty curve keeps the action exciting without ever getting frustrating. It’s the perfect challenge whether you game casually or are a hardcore score chaser.
Up to 4 players can play local co-op which ratchets up the fun even further. The retro-futuristic visuals and electronic soundtrack complement the addictive shooting action nicely.
For fast-paced arcade thrills that won’t cost you a cent, download Fusion: Genesis. It captures that pure intense twin-stick shooter magic not found in many full-priced retail games.
Magic: The Gathering – Duels of the Planeswalkers
The complex trading card game Magic: The Gathering works shockingly well simplified on Xbox 360. Duels of the Planeswalkers lets you swiftly build decks and battle opponents without any microtransactions or costs.
There are prebuilt decks to choose from based on fantasy themes and colors. You can customize further by swapping out cards between matches. The campaign eases you into the mechanics against AI before testing your skills online.
New expansion packs are released regularly helping keep the card pools fresh. Even players unfamiliar with Magic will quickly get engrossed in the strategic 1-on-1 duels and deck tweaking.
Magic: The Gathering – Duels of the Planeswalkers is one of the most polished free digital card games ever made. Xbox 360 has no shortage of top choices for free card battlers.
Ms. Splosion Man
Twisted Pixel Games’ humorous platformer Ms. Splosion Man finally arrived on Xbox 360 in 2011 after fans waited patiently for a sequel. This follow-up features enhanced visuals, tighter controls, and twice as many ‘Splosions.
You play as the volatile Ms. Splosion Man and must platform your way through challenging test chambers. Your only real ability is detonating yourself which helps destroy objects or propel yourself into the air.
Smart-level design constantly finds new and creative ways to test your ‘uploading skills. There are also several hilarious boss battles that put your reflexes to the test.
Ms. Splosion Man is a short but incredibly fun ride while it lasts. Thanks to being free, any platformer fan owes it to themselves to download this gem.
Infinity Runner is an exhilarating endless runner set in a sci-fi facility overrun by maniacal machines. Your character automatically sprints forward, leaving you to handle dodging obstacles by jumping, sliding, and ducking.
The perspective keeps you tightly focused on your path ahead while chaos ensues all around. There are hulking robots, eye las
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What are some of the best shooters available for free on Xbox 360?
Ans: Some excellent free shooter options on Xbox 360 include Halo 3, Gears of War, Warface, Aegis Wing, and Killer Instinct.
Q. Are there any free racing games worth playing on Xbox 360?
Ans: There aren’t many free full racing games, but Joy Ride Turbo is a fun casual arcade-style racer that doesn’t cost anything.
Q. What free RPGs does Xbox 360 have?
Ans: Path of Exile and Neverwinter are two stellar free-to-play RPGs on Xbox 360 for fans of action RPGs and MMORPGs respectively.
Q. What are some good Xbox 360 platformers that are free?
Ans: Spelunky, Doritos Crash Course 1 and 2, and Ms. Splosion Man are all excellent free platformers on Xbox 360.
Q. Are there any free card or board games on Xbox 360?
Ans: Yes, Magic: The Gathering – Duels of the Planeswalkers and Full House Poker are both free and fantastic card games on Xbox 360 worth checking out.