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donkeyspaceman avatar 2:14 PM on 04.11.2008  (server time)
XBLA Games That Deserve Some Lovin' - Volume 5: ZOMG IKARUGA EDITION

The more Xbox Live Arcade games I buy, the more I love my 360. My collection of XBLA games never seems to stop increasing, with well over 30 games already bought and STILL a few that I'd like to pick up. At first, I didn't like the idea of buying games from the Marketplace because I tend to trade-in a lot of games when I get sick of them, but I like having all these games forever at my disposal. When I don't feel like playing whatever game is in my 360 (and I'm too lazy to put a different game disc in), I can just check out my arcade games and sink a bit of time into something I haven't played in a while. Some of the games I have on there are really fucking awesome and it's nice to have them whenever I want.

With this, the fifth edition of "XBLA Games That Deserve Some Lovin'", I've added six more great games to my collection, bringing the total up to 37.

I love my XBLA games, but I still don't think they get the love they deserve. I think it'd be really awesome if we gave them a little more attention during Friday Night Fights or even on their own day (if there's even a non-gaming day left on Destructoid's calender). Sure, Bomberman Live usually gets represented, but what about Doom? Or Worms? Or Marble Blast Ultra (which has AMAZINGLY FUN multiplayer, BTW)? Or Necros' favorite, Yaris? There are some good times to be had on the Xbox Live Arcade, most of which are restricted to online multiplayer, so why not enjoy them with your fellow Dtoiders?

Anyway, the Marketplace has been pretty awesome these last few months, with great titles left and right. The one that's probably sucked the most life out of me so far has to be N+.


I have to admit, when I first heard about this coming to XBLA, I wasn't excited for it. I played the flash version before and thought it was neat for a few minutes, but it never really held my interest. Of course, I figured I should at least give the trial a shot when it hits the Marketplace.

So, I booted up the trial and FELL IN LOVE. N+ has since sucked numerous hours out of my life; possibly the most time out of any XBLA game I own. I've spent hours running, jumping, wallkicking, and STILL haven't beaten the last 10 episodes. I have however, gotten the achievement for dying 1,000 times, so I think that's something to be proud of.

The awesome thing about N+ is that the single player alone will provide you with hours of entertainment and then you realize that IT HAS MULTIPLAYER, TOO. Fucking amazing multiplayer, might I add. There's some awesome co-op stages (I haven't finished all of those yet, either) and some some fun competitive modes, too. I can't even believe how fun this game is with friends.

Of course, that's a lot of awesome for $10, so there can't possibly be more, can there? OH WAIT, there's a level editor, too! Normally I'd just be like, "meh, not like I'm creative enough to use it", but I actually decided to mess with it one day. Six hours later, I had created the product of all my anger and hatred towards this game's frustrating difficulty. A massive level, almost as big as they can get, for four players (later knocked down to one player, just because it works better that way). It was a neat experience, because I didn't plan any of it beforehand, I just threw in whatever I thought up. Since then, I've been planning out new maps, though I've only finished one other one (and my first map could use a bit more work). The map editor is easy to use, which is quite apparent considering I could throw something together in it.

N+ is simply amazing and I can't even believe how much they've jammed in there for only $10. Some people bitch about paying for the XBLA version when you can get the PC version for free, but it's more than worth the money. Even though I've put so much time into this version, I'm still looking forward to N+ for the PSP and DS.

Poker Smash

I never really took much interest in this until I found out it was similar to Panel de Pon/Tetris Attack/Pokemon Puzzle Challenge/Planet Puzzle League. It's not exactly like them, which I would normally consider a bad thing, but the Poker aspects are kind of neat.

Basically, you move blocks left and right only and try to match three or more of the same color. That's the Puzzle League part. To make things more complex, each block has the properties of Poker cards, so you can also try to make various Poker hands. It's fairly simple stuff if you know your Poker hands, but you can also get chains and all that fun puzzle game stuff.

Aside from the main "go until you die" mode, there's a Puzzle mode in which you have to clear the screen in so many moves (which is HARD) and a multiplayer mode (both online and local). The game takes a Lumines-like approach to levels and music, with different themes that you can buy in the store.

Poker Smash is pretty awesome, though not as addictive as Pokemon Puzzle Challenge or any of those games. I can't really say I've played it much since the week I've bought it, but it's still a pretty awesome game.

Mr. Driller Online

I <3 Mr. Driller. He was awesome on the Dreamcast and the DS, so of course I couldn't resist picking this up the second it came out.

Mr. Driller consists of digging through multi-colored blocks in order to reach the bottom of the level. You have to be careful not to get crushed by a falling block or run out of air. It's an extremely simple game, but still very addictive. There are multiple levels that require you to dig anywhere from 100m to 3,000m, plus a level where you can dig forever. Aside from the classic drilling, you can do Quest mode, in which you're assigned a mission to complete a random goal every 100m.

The single player's fun, but how about the multiplayer? This is Mr. Driller ONLINE, after all. Well, let me tell you something about the multiplayer. I've been able to connect to two matches and couldn't move in either one. The online is so broken it's impossible to play. I'm pretty disappointed with this, since it is Mr. Driller ONLINE, but I think I'm even more disappointed with the lack of local multiplayer. Especially when it advertises it in the Marketplace.

I <3 Mr. Driller, but I feel pretty cheated by this game. I think I would have been just fine with no online play if this game was only 400pts, but I paid the full 800 and don't feel as though I got my money's worth. I hope they fix the online soon, because it's just awful the way it is now. It'd also be grand if they added a local multiplayer mode, but I won't hold my breath.

Omega Five

I was a little hesitant to buy this game, despite SHUMPs being one of my favorite kinds of video games. I heard it was awesome from many people, but I just couldn't decide after playing the demo. Since the game came out, I've downloaded the trial countless times, trying to decide if I wanted it or not. Finally, I gave in and bought it.

And I'm quite glad I did. I don't care much for the dual-stick style shooting, but I got used to it and managed to get a pretty decent score. I've since played through multiple times, trying to perfect my runs and get the highest score. I'm really loving the Xbox Live Leaderboards these days. It's a lot of fun to try and beat your friends' scores.

Omega Five is pretty fun and will certainly give you something to do for a good while. I still haven't beaten the game or unlocked the secret characters. It can be challenging at times, though nowhere near as difficult as these next two shooters.

Triggerheart Exelica

I was also a bit hesitant to buy Triggerheart Exelica. I played it on the Dreamcast a few years back and wasn't terribly impressed, though I did manage to survive to the end (and by survive, I mean die a billion times and continue a billion times).

There are two characters, each with different shooting patterns. You can shoot an anchor out at enemies to grab them and swing them back at other enemies, which is pretty neat. Aside from that, it doesn't seem as though there's much to be said about Triggerheart Exelica. It's a good game, but not really remarkable in any way. It really pales in comparison to another SHUMP that recently hit XBLA.....


Finally, I feel as though I could die happy. Right after I beat my high score, anyway.....

Ikaruga is my favorite SHUMP of all time. I don't really know what it is about it, but I just love it so fucking much. You don't really have any excuse not to own this game. Go play the trial right now. RIGHT NOW. I'll wait.

....done? Greatest game ever, right? Seriously, though, I love it even more than I did on the Dreamcast somehow and will probably end up turning on my 360 and trying to beat out my current high score right after I finish writing this. I'm already pretty proud of myself, almost breaking 2 million and beating out everybody on my friend list. Well, almost everybody......

I don't think I'll ever beat Topher's score. :O

Well, that's all for now. You can be sure that this won't be the last of the series, though. After all, Castle Crashers, Peggle, and Quake Arena Arcade haven't even been released yet! Until those come out, I'd like to know:

What awesome XBLA games do you have that I haven't covered yet?

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