Billed as “2.5d”, Shadow Complex was a side-scrolling adventure platformer/shooter that came out as part of Xbox Live’s incredibly strong “Summer of Arcade” back in 2009.
Think of a game of the ilk of Super Metroid or Castlevania, but with a more modern story. That’s Shadow Complex.
With an interesting narrative, a reasonable challenge and fluid gameplay, it was as if you were getting a full price game for a superb bargain at the time.
Yet another Live Arcade hit, Peggle – from Plants vs Zombies creator PopCap – felt a bit like Bust-a-Move in reverse.
The idea was simple; you had to shoot a ball at one hundred randomly positioned pegs in the hope of hitting the orange ones.
As the game developed, hitting the orange pegs rather than the blue ones became more of a challenge and an exercise in physics. I suppose that’s why it’s considered a puzzle game.
No doubt you can get Peggle on the cheap these days, and it’s also available through Steam.
Running completely separate from the TV show, the Walking Dead was an adventure game told over five episodes, with its own narrative.
You can read my in-depth thoughts on it here but to sum it up, I would say that it was well told and highly involving, but more of an interactive story than a game.
As enjoyable as it was, I felt that the idea that you could change the destiny of the story wasn’t really true.
Had a fun time playing it though!
Sadly there are far less 3D platform games on this list that there should be.
A major part of the previous couple of gaming generations, the 3D platformer is almost extinct now, with developers mostly preferring to go back to the more linear 2D style.
One rare example of a game that does make the list is Ratchet & Clank: Tools of Destruction, one of the early PS3 games.
It looked good, it was fun to play and it had plenty of life in it, but it just didn’t have the character that you used to get from the Rare or Nintendo efforts from the N64 era. It’s a bit like going to a theme park like Busch Gardens. The fundamentals are there, but the lack of charm is its undoing.
Remember when the Wii was the must have living room accessory? Well Boom Blox was one of the reasons for that.
Ok as a single player but great fun when playing with friends, this was a bit like Jenga. You used the Wii-mote to launch something at a tower to knock the highest scoring block away, but you also had to be wary of simply setting the block up for your friends to capitalise on.
It looked a bit crap, and would probably seem out of date now, but it was fun at the time and made use of the Wii’s motion controls well.
One game I tried to get involved in earlier this year was Call of Juarez: Gunslinger, a first person shooter told from the perspective of a bloke who claimed to have met all the major players in the Wild West.
But the reason a game like this doesn’t make the list is because it just felt light, derivative and on the whole just an unimaginative bore to play through.