Single player – Rez HD
Visually stunning and almost hypnotic in nature, this beautiful shoot ’em up is extremely addictive. Play it in the dark with headphones on and get ready to be transported to a completely different plane of consciousness. Completely original, Rez HDis a must buy. A comprehensive review of the game is available from IGN.
Also try Street Fighter II or Geometry Wars Evolved.
Multiplayer – Gripshift
A universally ignored title, Gripshift is in fact a superb multiplayer racing game that evokes nostalgic feelings of times when first playing Super Mario Kart on the SNES. The designers have put in a huge variety of courses so players won’t get bored and each of these tracks have secret areas to explore for increased longevity. Infuriating, intoxicating gameplay and an arsenal of hilarious weaponry to stitch up opponents make Gripshift a marvelously entertaining gaming experience.
It’s difficult to get games online though so in order to appreciate this game to its fullest potential it’s recommended that a group of friends purchase it. For tips on playing the game visit the Gripshift official site.
Other multiplayer games worth downloading are Worms, Wolf of the Battlefield: Commando 3 Track and Field.
Board Games – Catan
Catan is a game that exemplifies the adage that simplicity is genius. A mixture of clever tactics and luck is required as players try to accumulate resources in order to build settlements on the board. Catan is like a quicker, easier more enjoyable version of monopoly. It’s camera-enabled too so players can see how much other participants are annoying their fellow players. It may look boring at first glance but this game will soon suck gamers in with its addictive gameplay.
Other quality board games available in the Marketplace are Carcassone or the forthcoming Ticket to Ride.
Card games – Texas Hold’Em
With so many opportunities to lose money playing poker online, it’s reassuring to find that the XBLA version of the insanely popular card game won’t have players remortgaging their houses to cover reckless all-in bets. Players can get to know the game in free buy-in lobbies and raise their virtual bankroll to then enter tournaments against more challenging opponents. One of the game’s highlights is the hilarious blues guitar sound effect when you hit the all-in button.
Players who enjoy card games should also try Lost Cities or Uno.
Other XBLA Games
Before gamers make a choice it’s always a good idea to see what games the rest of the Xbox Live community have been playing. An up to date list of the top XBLA Live titles being played can be found on Major Nelson’s Xbox page.