The lights are on
This week we return to the essential downloadable games of this generation, shining light on the newest titles that no gamer should miss.
Last year we outlined some of the best games across the
life of the major console download services, with an eye towards including the
important early games on the service as well as the latest and greatest hits. This week we're taking an updated look at each platform, adding in all the great titles that came out since last year. We'll start with PlayStation Network.
Launching almost two years after Microsoft rolled out its
XBLA service, the PlayStation Network has had a lot of ground to cover in order
catch up to its main rival. Thanks to developers like Jenova Chen and Hello
Games, who have openly praised Sony's support for smaller studios, the company has
earned the reputation of being an ally to independent developers interested in riskier
and more artistic projects. Sony's lack of a maximum file size for DLGs helped
bring some impressive titles to the platform in its infancy, and cemented the
notion that developers face fewer restrictions on the PS3.
While the PSN library still might not be as robust as Xbox
Live Arcade's, there are plenty of innovative and entertaining titles worth
playing. If you checked out this list last year, jump to the last page to see what's new, and don't forget to share your favorites in the comments below. Come back tomorrow for the next group of downloadable games.
Super Stardust HDDeveloper: HousemarqueRelease Date:
One of the early PSN games, this twin stick shooter quickly became
Sony's answer to Geometry Wars. However, Super Stardust HD's roots run considerably
deeper than Bizarre Creations' shoot 'em up: The Stardust series started with
its titular debut on the Amiga in 1993. This HD sequel wowed PS3 owners with 1080p
graphics that ran at a rock steady 60 frames per second, regardless of the
screen-filling chaos that could erupt at any second. Super Stardust HD featured
several different gameplay modes and two-player local co-op, all at a more than
affordable price tag, causing this under-promoted title to sell more than
25,000 copies in its first week of sale.
Backbone EntertainmentRelease Date:
October 2007 (Also on PC)
Developed solely by its designer Jonathon Mak, Everyday
Shooter is one of the first titles that helped establish PlayStation Network as
a platform for artistic indie games. Sony snagged the rights to publishing
Everyday Shooter after seeing the game at the 2007 Independent Games Festival.
Everyday Shooter took home the prize for Design Innovation, thanks to
shooter-based levels that play out like interactive songs: Every enemy you
destroy creates musical notes that harmonize with the instrumental background
music. Each level has its own visual style to match that stage's song, creating
wildly different gameplay experiences that shouldn't be missed.
StudioRelease Date: May
Another title that became popular with the art crowd,
Echochrome is a puzzle game inspired by the optical illusions of M.C. Escher.
Players must guide a wooden mannequin to its goal by shifting the camera
perspective to manipulate the environment. For example, rotate the camera until
a foreground object obstructs the view of a hole in ground, and the mannequin
will pass over it as if the obstacle no longer exists. Echochrome's
mind-bending gameplay is complemented by its stark white art style and
classically-inspired soundtrack created by composer Hideki Sakamoto.
GamesRelease Date: July
If you're a fan of puzzle games that are as challenging as
they are eccentric, Elefunk is right up your alley. The goal of Elefunk is to
build bridges across a variety of gorges and chasms, and test their durability
by having elephants stomp across them. Despite the light-hearted presentation,
Elefunk has been criticized for its steep learning curve (not to mention its
distinct lack of funk). However, if you enjoy the simple thrill of creating
structures and watching them fall down, you'll be more than pleased with this
PixelJunk EdenDeveloper: Q-GamesRelease: July 2008
Q-Games is a developer that has consistently delivered great
downloadable games for PSN under its PixelJunk moniker. While its first two
titles, PixelJunk Racer and PixelJunk Monsters, were solid offerings, PixelJunk
Eden entranced players with its intriguing control scheme, arresting visuals,
and addictive gameplay. The PixelJunk Eden Encore expansion packed gave gamers
an equally compelling reason to return to the quirky platformer, with new
levels and gameplay mechanics.
Email the author Jeff Marchiafava, or follow on Google+, Twitter, and Game Informer.
Pass on all except Wipeout HD (and maybe Trine). But I think Dead Nation should be up there :/
I guess I've been too much into XBLA I need to look into these
Might look into these.
This seems to be a very non-mainstream list... I might have to look into these ones I haven't heard of. My 320 GB hard drive isn't going to fill itself.
Closure is so great. Sad that, for whatever reason, GI has yet to put a review up for it. I'm more than curious to know how Game Informer chooses what downloadable games to review.. Is it whoever sends them review copies of a game? Or is it just whatever catches the eye of one of the editors? There are so many great downloadable titles on PSN and Steam that don't get a mention. Occasionally you will see one randomly get a review.
Outland is pretty good.
Journey is the best dlc game you can get.
Cool list, I hadn't heard about quite a few of those games actually :/
No Dead Nation?
Love Eden! The game, the sounds, the colors! All of that game is amazing. ... no Ecochrome on the other hand... damn, I do NOT have the patience for. It's an awesome game, don't get me wrong, but wow does it make you think
Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath is a great game and I know some people did not care for Payday: The Heist but I enjoyed playing it. Dead Nation also deserved to be on this list.
Wheres the last of us?
man, many of these games could easily be translated to the Vita. C'mon Sony! WTF are you thinking! you can bolster the Vita lineup using games that were previously only available in your living room! I for one, would love to play castle crashers on the go.
PSN has some really unique and fantastic games, glad a list like this was made.
I too am surprised that Shatter didn't make the list. I'm also surprised that From Dust wasn't mentioned either. Regardless, I'd have to agree with most of their choices.
The game, the seems, the colours! All of that recreation is astounding. ... no Ecochrome for the other hand... damn, I Do not possess the endurance for. It can be an awesome match, never get me mistaken, but wow does it make you're thinking that