20 Downloadable Games You Need To Play
With Journey now released, Addicted-Gamers is taking a look at some of the best non-physical games to grace our consoles, PCs, and Mobiles in the past few years. It was very hard whittle down to simply 20 games as there is undoubtedly plenty of quality when it comes to downloadable games, far more than four or five years ago and this list reflects the changing attitudes towards downloadable gaming. There are certainly more household names on Xbox Live Arcade, PSN, WiiWare etc than at any other point. To keep things balanced, the majority of this list are original IPs with only extenuating circumstances contributing to a remake being included on the list- though there are a few. Read on to find out which games have been chosen…
Available On: Steam
Literature often doesn’t translate well to video games but a small studio in England have crafted a piece of gaming bliss. A stony-voiced narrator follows you on your journey yet it is not entirely clear what is going on. The creators have squeezed every bit of juice they could out of the Source Engine to create a sumptuous environment of mystery and intrigue, along with a haunting soundtrack. Spoiling the game’s denouement would be doing Dear Esther a disservice. However, I can say it will make you question tried and tested game staples, all whilst remaining poetic. It delivers something inherently different and that is what downloadable games should strive to do.
Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2
Available On: Xbox 360, Steam
Geometry Wars is a game that really kickstarted the Arcade phenomenon back in 2008 and it finds its roots before that with its prequel being packaged with Project Gotham Racing 2 on the original Xbox. Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2 (to give it its unnecessarily elongated name) combines frantic, colourful visuals with an insatiable desire to keep replaying. In a way it is the quintessential Arcade game as the short bursts of gameplay create something substantial. Leaderboards are included for those who always strive for those extra thousand points and the coup de grace is a competitive multiplayer mode both online and locally.
Available On: Wii, Steam and 3DS
I could have, theoretically, picked any of the Bit.Trip series to put on this list (and I highly recommend you pick up Bit.Trip Complete if you haven’t done so) but Bit.Trip Runner was placed on this list for being a multi-layered game that you can keep coming back to again and again. Deceptively simple at first, the difficulty is amped up over the 50 levels to create an addictiveness rarely crafted in gaming. Failure normally breeds contempt for a game but here it is a joy to play over again with the chiptune music feeding in to the blocky aesthetics to make this one of the very few successes on WiiWare.
Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light
Available On: Xbox 360, PS3, Steam
No game on this list holds as much weight as Lara Croft’s name and its ranking on this list is equal parts gameplay and impact. The gameplay is extremely solid with the co-operative angle working well enough to ensure this stayed within its Tomb Raider roots but was able to stray away from the bad publicity of previous games. The impact, though, of this game is what gives it so much importance. The downloadable medium had rarely seen such coverage as it did when Lara Croft’s latest game came out and it has certainly given impetus to other big-name developers to try things and to prove that the Arcade scene isn’t merely for indie experimentalism.
Available On: iOS, Android, PC, 360 and any other compatible mobile devices
Fruit Ninja, like all great ideas, is a relatively simple one. One that makes you go ‘why didn’t I think of that?’ along with ‘why aren’t I playing this right now instead of asking hypothetical questions?’ Fruit Ninja’s array of game modes and unlockables give this a cutting edge (sorry) amongst the casual market. Whether you play it for a quick train journey or grind it to unlock the multitude of blades on offer it really is very, very fun and I don’t say that about many games. The intuitiveness of the controls makes this almost a no-brainer in terms of playability and there is nothing more satisfying than slicing through six strawberries in a row to relieve your stress.