The 23 best XBLA games

The best Xbox Live Arcade games, according to us

'Splosion Man


Genre: Platformer

Cost: 800 Microsoft Points

Metacritic Rating: 84

In Twisted Pixel's quirky Xbox Live Arcade-exclusive hit, you play as a lab experiment gone horribly wrong, whose molecular body is made up of explosions. In order to solve puzzles, avoid scientists, and trigger events in the game you must make yourself explode (or "splode"). 'Splosion Man's premise is absurd, but it's a video game that you really need to play for yourself to fully appreciate its simple, but highly effective style and charm. The game also gives you a lot bang for your buck as it packs on a whopping 50 levels to play through and four-player co-op support.

Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix


Genre: Fighting

Cost: 1200 Microsoft Points

Metacritic Rating: 88

Ridiculously long name aside, Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix is a return to form for Capcom's famed fighting series. Before bringing the franchise back to its roots with Street Fighter IV, SSFIITHDR takes the best elements of the timeless Street Fighter II series and remixes it with fresh music and a gorgeous HD look. Apart from dealing with a slew of "rage-quitters," Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix is a fantastic online title that to this day still has a loyal following.

The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition


Genre: Adventure

Cost: 800 Microsoft Points

Metacritic Rating: 88

If you never got the chance to play LucasArts' The Secret of Monkey Island when it was originally released in 1990 -- back when the developer was known as LucasFilm Games -- you can now experience the classic adventure on Xbox Live Arcade. Following the story of wannabe pirate Guybrush Threepwood, the XBLA version of the original Monkey Island game features all-new HD visuals, which give the game a modern look without spoiling the charm and humor of the original. And for fans who prefer the look of the classic game, they can swap the updated graphics out for the original game with the simple press of a button.

Toy Soldiers


Genre: Action/Strategy

Cost: 1200 Microsoft Points

Metacritic Rating: 81

Signal Studios' recently released Toy Soldiers puts you in command of an army of miniaturized, World War I era toy soldiers as you declare war on the enemy. Despite the fact that the game's model battlefields are located inside a child's bedroom, the game actually has a gritty, realistic vibe complete with smoke effects and exploding soldiers. One of the highlights aside from Toy Soldier's great graphics is the wealth of unit types you have at your disposal in addition to basic infantry, which include tanks, snipers, airplanes, mortars and even zeppelins. With a robust campaign offering more than twenty missions and multiplayer support, Xbox 360 owners should absolutely give Toy Soldiers a try.

Trials HD


Genre: Racing/Puzzle

Cost: 1200 Microsoft Points

Metacritic Rating: 86

Trials HD is a game that can get so punishingly difficult at times that you may feel tempted to just give up; but that's also what makes it such a rush to play. Trials HD blends elements of racing, puzzle-solving, and Evel Knievel-esque action in an experience where every split-second decision you make counts. As a motorcyclist, you must race through tracks, pulling off stunts such as launching your bike off giant ramps and into burning rings. The real trick of this modern take on ExciteBike is avoiding wrecking both you and your vehicle on deadly obstacles that often come out of nowhere. The game's physics-based engine -- which determines how your motorcycle moves and reacts to the terrain at high speed -- is really what makes Trials HD such a thrilling experience.



Genre: Card Game

Cost: 400 Microsoft Points

Metacritic Rating: 81

It's hard to believe that a forty-year-old card game of all things would gain the tremendous popularity that Uno has on Microsoft's Xbox 360. A big part of why Uno works so well on the Xbox 360 is the fact that the developer didn't try to reinvent the card game into something it's not. In Uno, players must match either the color or number of the top exposed card in the pile, with the ultimate goal of getting rid of all the cards in their possession. If you're lucky enough to have one in your hand, you can also plop down a Wild Card Draw Four, which will allow you to change the card pile to any color you desire as well as force the next player to draw four more cards. For those who enjoy the classic Uno card game, they shouldn't think twice about checking out this flawless translation available on XBLA.

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