Top 5 Xbox Live Arcade Games

Top 5 Xbox Live Arcade Games

Let’s face it, 2011 has been a slow year for Xbox 360 exclusives save for Gears of War 3. Thankfully, Microsoft has a huge backlog of fun and fairly cheap Xbox Live Arcade games ready for download anytime. These following five games were the most fun titles available on XBLA.

Check out the top 5 XBLA games after the break.

Honorable Mentions: Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, Braid, Super Meat Boy, The Dishwasher


LIMBO is a game that had me on the edge of my seat the entire time. Controlling the little boy as he jumped, pulled, and ran his way to survival, I was literally inching forward slightly as to avoid any deadly trap that lay in front of me. And when these traps get you, they get you good. LIMBO has probably the disturbing atmosphere and the most gruesome death scenes that stick with you even after you turn off the game. The little plot the game had is open to a lot of interpretation (which warrant several game playthroughs), as well as thought provoking puzzles and platforming that kept players engaged the entire time. Definitely worth checking out if you’re looking for a darker game for your XBLA game collection.

4. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

It was an instant classic when it released on the original PlayStation more than 15 years ago, and it’s still a classic worth playing through today. I had so much fun playing through the SotN that when when the castle flips over and makes you play through the entire thing back-asswards, I didn’t mind it at all. Players are cast as Alucard, the son of Dracula as he traverses the titular castle, ready to exact revenge on his undead father. The RPG-syle leveling up system as well as item, equipment, and spell collection made the game a much deeper Castlevania than any of the games before it. One complaint I had with the game was that it didn’t include the ever-popular Dracula X (Which was included in the PSP version). Other than that, the game is pretty much perfect; a fun, challenging romp through the world of Dracula.

3. X-Men Arcade

Remember going to the arcades and waiting in line to play the latest arcade games? And wasn’t it a real treat to see arcade cabinet that allowed 4 or maybe even 6 players to game at the same time? I remember seeing the X-Men arcade game for the first time and I was stunned because I could get 5 of my friends to join in and play as our favorite X-Men characters in their (now our) quest to defeat Magneto and his brotherhood. With X-Men arcade for the XBLA, people can play together online through Xbox Live. Players can choose from Wolverine, Cyclops, Colossus, Storm, Nightcrawler, and Dazzler. Of course, people always argue about who would play as Wolverine, because let’s face it, the cranky-Canadian is one of the more popular members of the X-Men. The game is your basic beat-em up with the X-Men license, however, what made the game special were the mutant powers that were exclusive to each character. X-Men arcade tosses hordes of enemies and recognizalbe boss characters bent on stopping the X-Men in their tracks. It was a memorable arcade game from my childhood, and is one of my favorite games on Xbox Live today.

2. Dead Rising 2: Case West/Case Zero

These prologue/epilogue stand alone games for XBLA gave players more Dead Rising 2 action for a cheap price. Case Zero introduced the new character Chuck Greene and his daughter as they struggle to survive a zombie apocalypse just outside of Fortune City. The game introduces players to the weapon creation mini-game that made Dead Rising 2 such an addictive game to play. Also, it gave players a fairly sizable town to freely traverse, with hundreds, if not thousands of zombies to re-kill.

Case West allows players to continue the Dead Rising 2 story, and this time, Chuck isn’t by himself. He is joined by the journalist Frank West (hero of the first Dead Rising) in his mission to find a cure for his daughter, and for Frank, a cure for himself as well as find out who is behind the zombie apocalypse. Players who play in co-op mode can play as Chuck or Frank in the main campaign mode, which is a lot bigger than Case Zero’s. There are more weapons to use, more enemy types, and more weapon combinations to discover and use.  Both games are a fitting beginning and end to the Dead Rising 2 storyline.

1. Shadow Complex

Shadow Complex is hands down the best game on XBLA. Period. The metroid-vania gameplay, the armor, the weapons, and the abilities the player gets through out the adventure are all useful and all fun to play with. Chair Entertainment definitely give players a large game to play through. An average playthrough of Shadow Complex clocks in at about 12 hours; and that’s not including all the secrets that players can find and unlock. The controls are easy to pick up, the presentation is top-notch and gameplay is challenging enough. It’s true that the story can be convoluted and ends abruptly, but the game just keeps giving players new weapons, abilities, and items that it’s very hard to stop playing. Shadow Complex is worth more than the 800 MS points it costs. At this price, the game is a steal. Believe that.

Agree? Disagree? What are your top 5 Xbox Live Arcade games? Let us know in the comments section!


About janhutchings

Canadian Game Industry Blogger / Contributor for @Sonyrumors & @ShogunGamer / Communications and PR Professional. Voice of Canadian and Indie Gaming.

Posted on September 16, 2011, in Gaming Top Lists and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I agree with mostly everything in your article. Here’s my top 5

    honorable mentions: From Dust, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, & Braid

    5. Limbo
    4. Bastion
    3. Super Meat Boy
    2. Castle Crashers
    1. Toy Soldiers: Cold War

  1. Pingback: Top 5 Xbox Live Arcade Games (That are totally more awesome than the list posted last week) « JTM GAMES

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