Xbox Live Arcade (XBLA) is a digital video game download service available through the Xbox Games Store, Microsoft’s digital distribution network for the Xbox 360. It focuses on smaller downloadable games from both major publishers and independent game developers. Titles range from classic console and arcade video games, to new games designed from the ground up for the service.
According to online sources, there have been just under 700 Xbox Live Arcade titles released for the Xbox 360. This is my top 10 favourite games based on the ones that I’ve actually played which apparently isn’t that many compared to 700. I’m going to exclude any episodic titles e.g. The Walking Dead, The Wolf Among Us etc. so don’t be surprised not to see them. Here we go….
10 – Call Of Juarez: Gunslinger
Call of Juarez: Gunslinger is a linear first-person shooter game. Like the previous Call of Juarez games, the game consists of completing objectives to progress through the game. Staple gameplay elements of the series such as bullet-time return.
The story consists of flashbacks from the life of Silas Greaves, who is an unreliable narrator. As his audience challenges the lies and inconsistencies in his tales, Silas revises his story, which results in abrupt changes to game environment (such as the sudden appearance and disappearance of an Apache army).
09 – Trine 2
Trine 2 is a puzzle platform video game, requiring the player to use the skills of the three characters, Amadeus the wizard, Zoya the thief, and Pontius the knight, to navigate each game level.
This is one of those games that seems to have slipped under the radar of a lot of people and it’s a huge shame because it’s a really fun platformer. Not only that but it manages to be really innovative with its puzzles by utilizing each characters unique abilities which really helps in setting it apart from other platform games. The thing that stuck with me the most about Trine 2 was its breath-taking visuals and fairy tale type atmosphere and story.
08 – DeathSpank
DeathSpank is an action role-playing game which also features elements from graphic adventure games. Combat gameplay is similar to Diablo. Players can acquire several pieces of armour and weaponry, each with different abilities and attributes.
In-game conversations with non-player characters are also a large part of the game. DeathSpank features advanced dialog options, similar to LucasArts’ Monkey Island series which play a large part in unfolding the game’s story.
This is a really fun game with a very imaginative, colourful art style. Without a doubt though, the best thing about DeathSpank is the comical dialogue that can best be described as deadpan. If you enjoy this game then you’re in luck, there are two sequels.
07 – Limbo
The primary character in Limbo is a nameless boy, who awakens in the middle of a forest on the “edge of hell”. While seeking his missing elder sister, he encounters only a few human characters that attack him, run away, or are dead.
The player controls the boy throughout the game. As is typical of most two-dimensional platform games, the boy can run left or right, jump, climb onto short ledges or up and down ladders and ropes, and push or pull objects. As for visuals, Limbo has dark, grey scale graphics with ambient sounds, creating an eerie, haunting environment. The dark visuals also hide numerous environmental and physical hazards, such as deadly bear traps on the forest floor, or lethal monsters hiding in the shadows, such as a giant spider.
Limbo reeks of atmosphere and intrigue, if you’ve played it you’ll probably still remember when you reached the end of the journey.
06 – Brothers: A Tale Of Two Sons
Brothers is presented from a third-person view overlooking the two brothers. The brothers are moved individually by two thumbsticks on the controller. The controller triggers also cause the respective brother to interact with the game world, such as talking to a non-player character or grabbing onto a ledge or object.
Although this game is quite short, it still manages to tell a breathtakingly emotive story using only fictional dialogue; the story is conveyed through actions, gestures and expressions. The control scheme is undoubtedly unique and helps build a special kind of communication between the two brothers and the player.
05 – Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon –
The easiest way to describe this game is to call it a satire of 1980s action films and video games. It takes place on a retro-futuristic open world island crawling with Blood Dragons; players assume the role of the military cyborg Sergeant Rex “Power” Colt.
I completely understand the argument that this game was simply a re-skinned Far Cry 3 but why exactly is that a bad thing, Far Cry 3 was awesome. I’m a sucker for classic 80s action movies so from the cheesy dialogue to the over the top action to the synthesized music, I got everything I wanted and more.
04 – Bastion
Bastion is an action role-playing game with a level structure. Players control “the Kid “who moves through floating, fantasy-themed environments that form paths as the player approaches the edge.
Bastion is a great game with well-written narration, excellent music, and bright visuals.
03 – Valiant Hearts: The Great War
Valiant Hearts: The Great War is a puzzle adventure game developed by Ubisoft Montpellier and published by Ubisoft. It is inspired by letters written during the Great War and tells a story of love, friendship and sacrifice.
It’s easy to compliment Valiant Hearts story, characters, puzzles etc. but actually, one of my favourite things about Valiant Hearts is the collectibles. There is a huge amount of them to be found but it’s certainly worth it, each one is some type of war memorabilia and I just really enjoyed learning about each of the items.
02 – Child Of Light
Child of Light is a platforming role-playing video game developed by Ubisoft Montreal and published by Ubisoft. The game puts players in the shoes of Aurora, a child stolen from her home, who, in her quest to return, must bring back the sun, the moon and the stars held captive by the mysterious Queen of the Night.
Gameplay can best be described as having attributes of a side-scroller with RPG elements such as levelling-up to increase stats over time. Battles with enemies utilize a system similar to the Active Time Battle system found in games like the Final Fantasy series.
Not only is Child of light simply gorgeous to look at but underneath it’s exterior lies a fun battle system and a thought-provoking story that will draw you in. If you want to read my full opinions on the game then check out my review on the site! (Shameful plug = over).
01 – Dust: An Elysian Tail
Immerse yourself in a gorgeous hand-painted world on a search for your true identity. As the mysterious warrior, Dust, your action-packed journey will take you from peaceful glades to snowy mountaintops and beyond.
Dust: An Elysian Tail is an action role-playing video game developed by independent designer Dean Dodrill.
Dust wields a sentient sword, the Blade of Ahrah, as his main weapon. Fidget, the sword’s guardian, acts as a companion for Dust and can use magical attacks.
This is my favourite game on the Xbox Live Arcade. I adore the characters, the story, the art style and the soundtrack, what else is there to say? Go play this game.