PLATFORMANCE: Castle Pain/Temple Death: I’m lumping these two together because I’m still convinced that they should be sold together, as one package, on XBLA proper. With Achievements! In these games, you navigate one enormous labyrinthine screen laden with traps and enemies, with death occurring practically every time you push a button on your controller. In what is undoubtedly my new favorite trend (besides developers’ commentary), though, death doesn’t matter. When you die, you just go back to the nearest checkpoint (which are spread around generously in the easier difficulty modes), and you have infinite lives. The game doesn’t punish you for doing poorly, which I think is fantastic, because I don’t exactly play videogames to be punished, anyway.
War of Words: This is another one of those games that you probably have to be me in order to enjoy. It’s a traditional-style puzzle game…except that instead of matching up gems, you’re creating words! And you get to level up, and purchase weapons and items! And there’s kind of a story! It’s practically an RPG. Letters crawl up from the bottom of the screen, and you have to spell words with them in order to deal damage to your opponent. If they reach the top of the screen (or when your opponent creates a new word), you lose HP, and when you lose all of your HP, you’re dead. (And you ARE punished, in this case, with a Game Over. Bollocks. Better save often!)
Excruciating Guitar Voyage: This game is a comedic adventure game/platformer hybrid, and I’m convinced they literally tapped into my brain to create it—I can’t think of any words I’d rather have in a game description than those words. There’s parts of the game where you have to electrocute yourself in order to progress; in other sections, you have to set yourself on fire. There’s a musical number. A gameshow. A Kissypoo reference. Excruciating Guitar Voyage has pretty much everything I could ever want in a videogame. If my column is called “The Best of Xbox Live Indie Games,” and this series of posts has been the best of those, then this game is the best, of the best, of the BEST of XBLIG. There is none greater.
…Also, they’re putting my face in the sequel (I’m serious).
And that’s it! Those are literally all of the XBLIG games that you should go out of your way to play (aside from Office DisOrders, which I decided to omit because it might look like a conflict of interest.) On the plus side, XBLIG still has way more good games than the 3DS. Thanks for reading!