By Pete Dreyer
Incredibly, Braid is four years old now, but you wouldn't know it. Beautifully crafted by indie developer Jonathan Blow, this is the game that took Xbox Live Arcade to a whole new level. You play a young man, Tim, who can manipulate time in various manners in his attempt to rescue a former love, and right the wrongs of his life. Four years on, Braid is as exquisite as it ever was, and equally unmissable.
Price: 800MSP | Link: braid-game.com
Scott Pilgrim vs The World: The Game
Scott Pilgrim vs The World: The Game - released to coincide with the release of the 2010 film - is far from the standard, hurriedly developed “movie tie-in”. It's a thoroughly enjoyable, in depth side scrolling 'beat 'em up' with a real Streets of Rage feel, where up to four friends (local multiplayer only, no online unfortunately) can punch, kick and blast their way through Ramona Flowers' 7 evil ex-boyfriends.
Price: 800MSP | Link: ubi.com/uk
Super Meat Boy
Ok, get ready for this. Super Meat Boy is a fast-paced, 2D platformer where you control 'Super Meat Boy' on his quest to save beloved girlfriend 'Bandage Girl' from the evil clutches of... 'Dr Fetus'. Ok, so it doesn't have the same charm as something like Braid, but this is no less fun to play. Be prepared though - this game is very fast and gets very difficult, so you will die. A lot.
Price: 1200MSP | Link: supermeatboy.com
The sequel to 2009's critically acclaimed Trials HD, your objective is still to complete all the obstacle courses, a goal that requires careful throttle control and weight distribution. Four player local and online competitive play is included, but the big addition is the unbelievably diverse track editor which allows players to create their own race tracks and also download and rate other players' creations.
Price: 1200MSP | Link: redlynx.com
Heavy Weapon: Atomic Tank
Heavy Weapon: Atomic Tank is a side scrolling shooter developed by the critically acclaimed PopCap Games. Released in 2005 on the PC it received a generally positive reception and two years later was ported to Xbox Live Arcade. Featuring four player split screen co-op and versus modes, a gratuitous amount of explosions and humour aplenty, this is a great time killer.
Price: 800MSP | Link: popcap.com
Set during World War II, up to 24 players can battle it out as either US Marines or Imperial Japanese troopers, fighting across Pacific locations like Wake Island, Guadalcanal and Iwo Jima in jeeps, tanks, fighter planes and boats as well as on foot. Although released in 2009, Battlefield 1943 maintains a strong and active online community, a testament to its quality and is one of the definitive arcade multiplayer first person shooters.
Price: 1200MSP | Link: battlefield1943.com
Castle Crashers is a side scrolling “beat 'em up” developed by independent studio Behemoth Games. Set in a dark fantasy world, take control of a knight and fight your way through hordes of creatures with up to three mates. With a twisted sense of humour, a sound track taken straight from popular website Newgrounds, and a waft of RPG, Castle Crashers is a simple but superb medieval romp.
Price: 1200MSP | Link: castlecrashers.com
Minecraft has already seen stellar success on PC, success that has seen it recently ported to Xbox 360. Scaled down from the almost limitless PC version, the XBLA version still features a vast, diverse overworld of desert, forest, ocean and snow, where up to four players (both locally with friends and/or online) can craft, mine, and build anything they can imagine.
Price: 1600MSP | Link: minecraft.net
Successor to 'N: The Way of the Ninja', N+ is a 2D platformer where you control a ninja, tasked with collecting gold coins and generally avoiding nasty encounters with lasers, electricity and killer robots. With offline and online 4 player co-op, bespoke multiplayer levels and an insanely in-depth level editor/creator, you get plenty of bang for your buck here.
Price: 800MSP | Link: thewayoftheninja.org
Plants VS Zombies
Another great game from the scarily talented people over at PopCap Games, PvZ is a tower defence game with a twist. The player is a 'gardener' of sorts, planting a variety of deadly botanical life to protect their humble abode from the onslaught of a brain eating undead horde. Addictive to the extreme, with an annoyingly catchy soundtrack, Plants vs Zombies appeals to both casual and hardcore gamers.
Price: 1200MSP | Link: popcap.com