Being the end of the year, publications around this time will have all sorts of lists that evaluate the quality of a game compared to its peers within the year. Examples of this would be a “top 10 games of the year” list, or a “top 10 terrible titles of the year” post. Nonetheless, this will be yet another one of those lists, but I’m going to be looking at not only the quality of the game, but the originality of the particular title. What made this game so great this year, and why did it stick out when I wrote this list, are the two main questions to be answered during the creation of this article. Gameplay is a very important factor when judging how well a game will do in a certain year, but another important attribute would be the originality of the game. Paying respect to these pioneers of gaming is important because they are the ones paving the way for the games of tomorrow. These are the weekend warriors that helped me through the tough times when I was sick of the new Call of Duty, or when I couldn’t stand the idea of yet another Final Fantasy.
Therefore, you aren’t going to see any sequels or remakes in this list, you are going to see ideas that were brand new, and fresh out of the kitchen. You are going to see my rendition of the Top 5 Downloadable Games of 2010 on the Xbox Live Arcade and the PlayStation Network.
- At number 5 I will be looking into a title known as “Monday Night Combat”. This game was originally launched on August 11, 2010, for the Xbox Live Summer of Arcade promotion. It has a unique style of gameplay that ties together the tower defense genre of gaming, and the fps genre. Imagine a team fortress type playing style combined with the ability to upgrade towers, and protect your base from incoming intruders. MNC truly shines in multiplayer situations because you are able to incorporate team tactics and class diversity to create quite the formidable opponent.
- Number 4 on my list also came out of the Xbox Live Summer of Arcade Promotion. It is an Xbox Live Arcade exclusive that was released on July 21, 2010. Of course, I am referring to the 2D puzzle-platform known as “Limbo”. You enter this world as an unknown hero in a black and white world, on a mission to save some mystery girl. With the usage of shadows, lighting, film grain effects and ambient sounds, a very eerie atmosphere surrounds you during the entire experience. As you progress through the game, puzzles and jumping challenges will be placed in front of you that will inevitably design your demise through horrific and gruesome events. Very similar to Demon’s Souls, you are meant to die prior to obtaining the correct solution. For those of you out there looking for the Braid of 2010, look no further, it is Limbo.
- Get ready to smash your controller during your playthrough of number 3. Not only are you going to love the 2D platformer Super Meat Boy, but you’re also going to hate it more than anything. Released on October 20, 2010 for the XBLA, currently this title is also available for Microsoft Windows via Steam and Direct2Drive. If you are a piece of meat, why do you feel the need to run through over 300 levels of a meat factory filled with nothing but saw blades and death? Just like every other time, it’s for some girl that just can’t seem to stay in the same castle for a prolonged period of time. Split second timing and patience are two virtues that will be a necessity when navigating our meat friend through his epic adventure. The game plays very similar to an 8-bit Mega Man title, or an NES Super Mario Bros. adventure. If you are a fan of challenging games and old school 2D platformers, Super Meat Boy is right up your alley.
- The 3D platformer “Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light” shines brightly in my number 2 spot. This title was originally launched for the XBLA on August 18, 2010, and about a month later it was introduced to the PSN and Steam. Unlike any other Lara Croft title, this is more of a platformer than an action/adventure game. You take the role of Lara Croft, and you could either play the single player campaign, or you could grab a friend and have Lara Croft’s best friend Totek, a Mayan warrior, along for the adventure. I would highly recommend playing through this game in the co-op campaign due to the extreme amount of fun you will have with your best bud at your side while you are navigating through the chasms beneath the world. The game shines in two player mode because it is more than just a run and gun Contra type style. Both players have different abilities and you need to combine these abilities together to defeat your enemies, and solve numerous puzzles. For example, Totek can throw spears and have them stick into the walls; meanwhile, Lara Croft can jump onto these spears to reach areas that would be inaccessible otherwise. Playing through this title with my co-op partner over the summer was one of the more enjoyable experiences I had this entire year. I would recommend this game to any duo out there that loves to play cooperative games such as Trine, Double Dragon, Champions of Norrath and Diablo.
- Now it is time for my number 1 amongst all the original downloadable games in 2010. My number 1 spot is given to the title known as “DeathSpank”. DS is an action role-playing game that was released during the second week of July for both the XBLA and the PSN. Later down the road, it was released for Microsoft Windows and Mac OSX during the fourth quarter of the year. The best way to describe DeathSpank would be to call it Diablo with a sense of humor. Imagine if the Diablo games weren’t so serious, and they made puns about video games as they brought you closer to the Chaos Sanctuary. Not only does DS have deep RPG elements, but it makes you laugh along the way. For an arcade title, the game was reasonably long in duration, expect to invest about 10 to 15 hours depending on how many sidequests you want to complete. The game may look a little silly at first glance, but if you love game nostalgia mixed with fat loot and sword fights, I would suggest this title in a heartbeat.
- Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light
- Super Meat Boy
- Monday Night Combat