The 15 Best XBLA Games
12 | Stacking
If you're a long-time follower of Schafer and co., you'll know what to expect from Stacking-- an extremely stylized and humorous game with a unique gameplay premise that might be a little rough around the edges. And that's exactly what you'll get with this new game of brain-benders.
The stylistic mixture of Russian matryoshka dolls with U.S. depression-era characters, music, settings, and cinematics is not something you'd expect to mesh together seamlessly, but the game is all the better for it. And the humor is the exact right mixture of Double Fine's subversive tone with a hint of adult themes. Put it this way -- if Costume Quest was a show like Phineas and Ferb or Spongebob, Stacking would be a show you'd find on Adult Swim. Both can be enjoyed by adults, but one is a bit more aesthetically geared towards older fans.
11 | Toy Soldiers Cold War
Unless you were a really, really cool kid, you probably didn't use your toys to live out a violent fantasy scenario where the Cold War escalated into a full-blown military conflict. Toy Soldiers:Cold War lets you remedy that gaping hole in your childhood.
On the surface, Cold War follows all the tropes of your standard tower defense game: defend your base from wave after wave of relentless attackers. But unlike most of those other games (with the exception of the also excellent Trenched), you don't just upgrade your defenses and sit idly by as they do all the work for you. This game encourages you to get in on the ground-level; you can even play it like an action game, running around as a Rambo-like character manning gunships and calling in nuclear strikes on your enemies.
As Tom Chick says in his review, “If you want a really good action game with some tower defense, some great scoring challenges, some wonderful multiplayer support, some great graphics, and a wonderful sense of humor, you can't go wrong with Toy Soldiers: Cold War. Yee-haw!"
10 | Geometry Wars Retro Evolved 2
Widely believed to be the franchise that kick-started the popularity of Xbox Live Arcade, Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2 takes a near-perfect formula and somehow improves it. At its core, Geometry Wars 2 is the simplest of games: Survive intense waves of attacking enemies--that's it. The Xbox Live Arcade platform has a seemingly endless supply of dual-joystick shooters under its belt, and even if you're tired of the genre, Geometry Wars 2 does a fantastic job of making the genre feel fresh again. Besides reigniting our passion of leaderboard superiority that followed up throughout real-world arcades, Geometry Wars 2 offers some of the most fun to be had on XBLA for $10. You can also pick up the original Geometry Wars on XBLA for half that price.