Credit: THQ Insider – Flickr

From racing to soccer, and football to golf, sports sims have been catering to the athletes within gamers since the dawn of video games. Some top-selling franchises have been running for decades, consistently releasing new entries every other year.

For all the enhanced features and crispier graphics of their latest installments, though, many series tend to get formulaic past a certain point. Other beloved franchises start declining, given their failure to reinvent themselves over time.

But every once in a while, a new title comes rejuvenating the genre with an innovative approach. So, if you’ve played a sports series to death and are looking for something fresh, here are four sports games with a twist to dive into on Xbox.

Blood Bowl II

If you’re both a Warhammer fan and a gamer looking for a new venue to channel the jock inside of you, this fantasy sports entry may be right up your alley. As out-there as it might sound, the Blood Bowl franchise smashes American football and the Warhammer universe in bombastic fashion. A sequel to a debut game that adapted the eponymous tabletop game by Games Workshop, Blood Bowl II departs from the real-time mode of its predecessor to focus on turn-based strategy.

Your goal is, thus, to lead the legendary Reikland Reavers to success in a solo campaign mode full of brutal clashes and witty humor on and off the pitch. Multiplayer league options also abound, some of which allow you to create your own team and draft champions among the eight races of the Warhammer lore.

Olli Olli World

Skateboarding games peaked in the 2000s until the likes of the Tony Hawk franchise gradually faded into oblivion. Some studios are bringing skate back, though, and they’re doing so in style. Released in 2022 by indie developers Roll7, Olli Olli World ticks all the right boxes of an inventive sports game done right. While the franchise is not unheard of for die-hard skateboarding fans, its third installment takes more creative liberty than ever.

Players can now kickflip across a bright fantasy universe where each level boasts a unique visual identity, whereas the previous entries consisted of mostly dull urban environments. Several explorable paths grant replayable value to an already full and challenging game. And whether you’re in for pulling off complex tricks or for a meditative ride, Olli Olli World sure is a whole vibe.

Hyper Gunsport

Take all the fun of a first-person shooter with none of the bloodbaths, and you’ll get Hyper Gunsport. As the developers at Necrosoft Games put it, the game started as an attempt to get around the idea of a non-violent action game. And here and then, they coined the action-sports-arcade genre.

Hyper Gunsport sets out in a dystopian future where weaponry is off-limits, as humans have grown weary of conflicts. To settle disputes, competitors take the fight to a somewhat cyberpunk volleyball field. Players must, therefore, lead their team to victory by shooting the ball into goals of increasingly challenging difficulty. This 2022 sequel to the original Gunsport takes the fast-paced action of its predecessor up a notch, besides adding extra teams and arenas alongside voiceover commentary.

Turbo Golf Racing

Turbo Golf Racing is essentially Rocket League, only the golf version. In this arcade-style sports game, players jump behind the wheel of supersonic vehicles to be the first to club oversized balls to their respective holes. As they level up, cars can unlock and equip Power Cores with a fun Mario Kart feel to race past the competition. While still in early access, Turbo Golf Racing has enough content to engage players for hours. Better yet, the entry is available on the Xbox Game Pass.

Fair warning, though, as all golfing enthusiasts may find the next televised competition a tad underwhelming after the outrageous fun of this one-of-a-kind sports game. To spice up the experience, however, golf fans can still hit sportsbooks like SBO and place a thrilling bet. Online bookies offer a range of betting options on golf. Yet punters can wager on many more sports, from the popular to the niche. What’s more, top platforms deliver free tips to hone a winning strategy.

Sports games are a staple of the Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S. But if you’re looking for something more than your run-of-the-mill football and basketball games, the above suggestions stand out for their imaginative take on the genre.