Games of the Year (So Far) 2011, Part II

Rolling ahead with my Game of the Year (So Far) choices, we come to the downloadable game categories. This is a perfect time to do this, too, since next week kicks off the Summer of Arcade on XBLA, which looks like it might have a few contenders itself.

Gatling Gears – This was a pretty clever take on the dual stick shooter, and I’m a sucker for upgrade paths. I liked the whole mech vibe with a hint of steam punk, and those epic mustaches went a long way.

Outland – Super Metroid + Ikaruga is a fantastic idea. Some of the powers were a little single-use, but overall I found the exploration really appealing. This was also sort of a tragedy of PSN’s extended outage, since it overlapped the PSN release date and may have gotten overshadowed once it finally returned.

Torchlight – I know this isn’t a 2011 game, but it feels so different on XBLA that it felt new. It wouldn’t be my top pick for the year, but it’s a great game in a great format.

Pixeljunk Shooter 2 – I liked the first PJS, so I welcomed a sequel with open arms. Unfortunately, it still required unlocks for bosses, which always struck me as a bit arbitrary. From a pure mechanical standpoint, though, it’s a tough, addictive game.

Trenched – I’ve really been enjoying Double Fine’s new direction with downloadable titles, and Trenched is my favorite of the bunch. It’s a tad on the short side, but I didn’t mind replaying old missions with new equipment. It’s a great merging of action and tower defense that didn’t really get old for me. This just makes me want Once Upon a Monster, even though I don’t have a Kinect yet. They’ve been hitting it out of the park.

We pushed out a new Shacknews update today, so it’s seeing its fair share of criticism. I like the updates alright, and it gives more information at a glance. But then, I work there.

  • Well that’s nice of ’em.
  • I enjoyed Splosion Man, but with Bastion coming next week (followed by the rest of Summer of Arcade) I think I’ll wait to pick up Ms Splosion Man. I have picked up the demo, though, so I reserve the right to change my mind.
  • Sick burn, FFXIV.
  • I’m wondering if more major publishers are going to be heading in this direction, more towards smart phone development and less on the dedicated handheld side.
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