Almost every kid has played with, or at least seen, the iconic little green army men known simply as toy soldiers. Almost every parent has stepped on one of these little guys as well. In developing Toy Soldiers and Toy Soldiers: Cold War, Signal Studio, along with publisher Microsoft Game Studios, brought those toy soldiers out of the physical toy box and onto the virtual battlefield where those childhood memories could be relived. With those games they also had two of the highest-rated arcade games of the previous generation.
Now, in partnership with publisher Ubisoft, Signal Studios is making the game it always wanted in Toy Soldiers: War Chest, which it plans to release in early 2015.
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.
Microsoft is taking some of the sting out of the returning school season by offering up a ton of great Xbox Live Arcade content at deeply discounted prices. Starting …
Now that the year 2012 has been set firmly in the books, the boys back at the lab have poured over the raw data to bring you the top arcade titles of the year. The figures, based on full versions sold, were tallied from January 1, 2012 through December 31, 2012, and made public thanks to Xbox Live’s Larry Hyrb.
No surprise to anyone was Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition topping the list this year. Having launched in May, the massive Minecraft community helped propel the title to well over 5 million downloads by year’s end. More impressively, the arcade adaptation outsold its robust PC cousin by nearly a million copies, securing Xbox Live Arcade as the fastest (legally) growing Minecraft community of 2012.
Trials Evolution rode into the second spot of the year’s most-purchased title on XBLA, and despite the staggering difference between first and second place, did very well for itself. Our Game of the Year, The Walking Dead wrapped up the third spot thanks to critical acclaim and its infectious word-of-mouth campaign. Pinball FX2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive rounded out the top five, in that order.
Amazingly, the never-say-die mantra of Castle Crashers has proven itself again; moving the sixth most number of copies nearly half a decade after its initial release. Filling out the top 10, in order, are: Gotham City Impostors, I Am Alive, Fruit Ninja Kinect, and finally, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD.
You can check out these titles in list form, along with the rest of the top 20, after the jump.
Do you like saving money? Of course you like saving money! Join us, then, as we embark on an adventure across the fields of frugality. Next stop: The Microsoft Studios Sale. This midsummer week boasts no less than five games all slashed, sliced and diced in price. Wallets at the ready, thrifty friends.