My Super Personal Top 5 Games On Xbox LIVE Arcade

A quick idea: who wants to talk about our favourite games across different downloadable services? Come on, it'll be fun! Come on. Look we're doing it whether you like it or not, so roll with it. First up is Xbox LIVE Arcade. You now have to stomach my super personal list of favourite Xbox LIVE Arcade Games. Thank you please for your patience.

1. Trials Evolution

I know what you're all thinking. This list idea was just a marvellous excuse for me to talk about how much I love Trials Evolution again! I wish my frontal lobe was evolved enough to think at that capacity.

Don't get me wrong, I am going to talk about how great Trials Evolution is, hoo boy, but it was just a coincidence. A very happy one.

Seriously though, how good is Trials Evolution? I can't imagine a world where this game, a masterpiece of tactile control and design, wouldn't be my favourite game on XBLA. It's an intensely personal choice, but Trials Evolution is a game that makes me feels as though I'm learning and digesting an actual skill. It's rewarding to learn it's rewarding to feel as though your progress was earned through hard work. Trials Evolution is a lot like Dark Souls in that regard. Good company to keep.

2. Braid

Throughout the week, with these lists, we're going to try our level best to focus on games that are exclusively available on the services we're talking about. But if we feel like a game was defined by a certain service, or is well known for being on one over the other? We might just allow it to slip in. It's my intensely personal list goddammit!

Alright, with that lengthy disclaimer, let's begin...

I don't care about what Jonathan Blow thinks Braid 'means'. I don't care what you think Braid means. I don't care if it's a metaphor for the atomic bomb, failed relationships, or a parody of Super Mario Bros.

Nope, I don't care. Sorry. I'm a philistine like that.

I just like games that make me feel smart, even if I'm really not that smart. That's the hook of Braid -- challenge. Unlike Trials Evolution, where progress comes in waves of muscle memory, of physical learning, Braid's reward comes from an increasingly intricate of simple mechanics and how they can be exploited. You might argue that's equally as rewarding.

In short -- Braid is about the 'aha!' moment. That's what keeps you coming back, even when you feel desperately, desperately stuck. Even when your resolve is being broken by puzzles so devious you can feel the physical toll it's taking on your poor, poor inadequate brain.

I like games like that.

3. Super Meat Boy

Super Meat Boy hurts. Super Meat Boy will give your thumbs blisters. It will then proceed to burst those blisters. Your thumbs will become bloated, pus-filled reminders of your inadequacy. That's what Super Meat Boy is. That's why it is the best.

4. Shadow Complex

I like Shadow Complex because Super Metroid. That's why everyone like Shadow Complex, right?

So Shadow Complex is, essentially, a really, really well put together Super Metroid clone -- but in a world brutally starved of high-end Metriodvania titles, is that a bad thing? I'd argue no.

The design is still sophisticated. It looks incredible. And the feeling of slowly exploring, adding new abilities, transforming your perception of your environment -- I love all that stuff. It probably my favourite 'style' of game.

I want more. Someone make more and hurry up about it!

5. Fez

The problem with doing lists like these is the overwhelming feeling you're writing flimsy, whimsical little sentences and paragraphs about video games that deserve better. So when I say that Fez is a brilliantly conceived game set in an universe that rewards exploration in the best way possible, I'm aware of how little value that sentence has, and how poorly it describes the experience of playing Fez: a game that feels like it reinvents something, but I have no real way of pinning down what that is exactly.

Many people get frustrated with Fez: with its confusing map, how vague the whole thing feels. I know I did. But I think what people need to realise is that you're supposed to get lost in Fez. You're supposed to get lost in the world. It's supposed to feel like a weird, intricate rubix cube that you somehow learn to navigate.

That's what makes Fez so interesting.

Did we get it right? Completely wrong? Let us know in the comments below...


Comments

    Geometry Wars needs to fit in there somewhere :P

    There is so much joy to be had on XBLA.... My trials addiction is deeply unhealthy. I find I am spending more time on XBLA that "proper" games these days - I would have replaced Super Meat Boy with Bastion, but in a world of AAA super games, the joy these games bring in limited budgets underlines that we are less obsessed by shiny things and want to be challenged and surprised....

    not sure bout the order but cant disagree with the games in the top 5.

    my only change would be ikaruga and radiant silvergun. but if were talking original titles only then great top 5.
    most of them would be in my top 5 Xbox 360 games

    My personal top 5:

    5. Fez
    I don't know where I'm supposed to go but it gets top marks for capturing what it felt like to play an NES game in the toy section of a department store as a kid.

    4. Bionic Commando Re-armed
    This game pretty much puts most HD remakes to shame

    3. Fruit Ninja Kinect
    Basically the Kinect's Killer App

    2. N+
    Best 2D platformer of this generation. Super Meat Boy is a pale rip-off

    1. Monday Night Combat
    It's a pity these guys disappeared down Steam's Free to Play rabbit hole because this game was awesome and still draws a crowd 3 years later a weird combination of third person shooter and tower defence with a whole demented atmosphere of team death match as a future spectator sport.

    Last edited 10/06/13 2:56 pm

      N+ is often criminally overlooked. It's up there for me as well.

      While I love N+, I think Super Meat Boy has the edge.

      It just had so much more going on, from the retro levels, dark world, bandages, boss fights.
      Also, getting to watch all your attempts kamikaze at the same time never got old. :D

    My list will be quite different. Haven't spent nearly as much as I would have liked on XBLA. I really do some of the different games it's given me over the years.

    1. Bastion- I absolutely adored the style of this game. A great enjoyable romp. I also really liked how your footsteps brought the world to life. Really looking forward to what those devs are working on right now.

    2. Sperlunky- I already had the PC version, but seeing the updated version put out XBLA pried open my wallet. I've spent hours with this game, and came SOOOOO close to finishing it multiple times. It remains my Holy Grail. I WILL beat it one day, and spend several more enjoyable hours with it in the process.

    3. Trials HD- I haven't played Evolution yet. This game is one I REALLY suck at. I don't have the dedication required to be great at it. But it's a game I've thoroughly enjoyed playing with mates hot-seat style. He could be the one character I've killed more than Mario one day.

    4. From Dust- This scratched a puzzle itch I'd been feeling for quite awhile when it was released. Not perfect, but I spent quite a bit of time with those followers.

    5. I AM ALIVE- I know it wasn't really finished. The end is very unsatisfying. But it had some awesome gameplay ideas that I'd really like to see more of. Give me a similar "Intimidation" system, and I will throw my money at you. Not the most fun I've had from XBLA, but one I felt worthy of mentioning.

    Monkey Island 1+2 remakes :P Need more of these. Good to see Shadow Complex get some love in the list, been hanging out for a sequel.

    For me it was Bastion, Trials, Mark of the Ninja, Fez and I suspect I will love State of Decay when I get it.

    Yes! Shadow Complex, didn't think he'd include it! *single tear*

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