Xbox Live Arcade began its life on Microsoft’s Xbox 360 simply enough. When eager gamers bought up Xbox 360s on launch day (November 22, 2005), they found a free copy of Hexic HD pre-loaded on their hard drives. Of course, it was another launch title that secured the platform’s success. Bizarre’s Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved both gave birth to the twin-stick shooter craze and demanded gamers take Xbox Live Arcade, which started in disc form back on the original Xbox, seriously as a digital games platform. Bizarre’s side project paved the way for the enormous variety of retro revivals, HD remakes, original indie projects, major studio releases, free-to-play games and more that have come to call XBLA home in the years since.
Today, we’re approximately one month away from the launch of the Xbox One, which will signal the end of XBLA as we have come to know it these past eight years. While Microsoft’s Xbox line will continue to be home to myriad low-cost downloadable video games, the XBLA moniker will not make the transition to Xbox One. It’s going down with the figurative (and literal) Xbox 360 boat. So what better time than now to count down the best XBLA games to ever grace the Xbox 360?
It wasn’t easy, but our staff has sorted through all of the best XBLA releases over the years and picked the ones that we feel are the true standout stars of the platform. Check back with us throughout the week as we run down five of Xbox Live Arcade’s top games every night. And don’t forget to head to the comments to let us know how much you love (or hate) our picks.
(Editor’s Note: voting was conducted in early September. No games released post-Summer of Arcade 2013 were considered eligible.)
John Laster, Editor-in-Chief — Pinball FX2 shot out of the shoot pretty quickly and even three years later has shown very few signs of slowing down. Recreating a fantastic-feeling pinball experience in a virtual environment, Zen Studios has crafted a virtual arcade that will save you a lot of quarters and allow you to forget that you aren’t playing on physical machines. Utilizing a mix of original and licensed IPs, Pinball FX2 takes players from classic Rome to a galaxy far, far away with an entire pack of Star Wars tables and a plethora of other downloadable content.
Fans of Twisted Pixel games can now purchase their first four releases as a bundle. The Maw, Splosion Man, Ms. Splosion Man, and Comic Jumper are all included for a mere 800 …
Minecraft players have been anxiously awaiting the 1.7.3 update that will drop later this month, but the newly announced Skin Pack DLC will make the update even sweeter. The pack will include 40 skins, including both original skins and skins inspired by other games. Five skins have been announced so far: Creeper, Covenant Grunt, King, Splosion Man, and Trials Man. Although the 1.7.3 update will be free, the Skin Pack will come with a price tag. Fortunately, there will be a free trial of the DLC, so you can view all the skins and take some out for a spin before deciding on a purchase. Once the DLC drops the 8 default Steve skins can also be worn whenever you like. Skins will no longer be changed by default when joining multiplayer, so you be whoever you want, even if somebody else is already using that skin. There is currently no release date or price, but the DLC will drop around the time of the update. So, what characters do you want to appear in the skin pack?
Last week we took a look at the top five XBLA in-game songs that help establish a mood while you venture through five various games. But for this week let’s take a look at the top five XBLA end game songs that make the payoff for making your way through a campaign that much more sweet. These are the songs that mark an epic ending to a great adventure. The kind of song so good, it’s almost worth paying through the game a second time just to hear it again. But luckily we have YouTube for those of us who want listen over and over again. And with that said, let’s take a look at our list:
From Mario to Sonic, one of the most prevalent genres in gaming has always been platforming. It hasn’t been as important as it used to be but games like Rayman Origins prove people still care about platforming. On the XBLA side, the platforming genre has seen many leaps forward with hard difficulty, precise platforming or a creepy atmosphere. We’re not even done with the genre either with upcoming games like Pid and Fez. Today we thought we’d take a look at five really great platformers and discuss why they’re so good on XBLA.
Last year, we posted a list of the top 10 XBLA soundtracks and while it’s a great list, there’s been a great deal of omissions and new tunes in the past year. Some of them have become iconic and immediately hummable or in some cases, incredibly dance-y. So we’re bringing you another 10 to add to the list, in no particular order since they’re all winners.