The ten best games on Xbox Live Arcade

XBLA's must play titles

We recently brought you the Five Turds of Xbox Live Arcade, but the Xbox 360's download service houses numerous gems too, so we thought it only right to celebrate the best of the 170 plus arcade games XBL has to offer.

From shooters to puzzlers to platformers, and new classics to past greats rebooted, these are the ten XBLA titles that have most delighted reviewers, as listed by Metacritic.

We're sure you'll have plenty to say about the list, so tell us what you agree with and what you think stinks, in the comments section.


Bomberman Live, Metascore 84
Bomberman may have appeared in over 60 iterations on all major game consoles, but that didn't stop critics labelling XBLA "the perfect platform for it". "A full-service Bomberman experience", "the game is loaded with a ton of content and a great multiplayer experience" - eight player online and four player local. Featuring full character customisation, ace level designs and all the crazy power-ups you'd expect, the title serves up bomb-dropping action at a frantic pace. Described as "party gaming at its best", it's "worth every golden nugget of that seven quid".


Bionic Commando Rearmed, Metascore 85
Yet again proving that it's "one of the few companies that knows how to resurrect a classic franchise", Capcom's Bionic Commando Rearmed was met with almost universal acclaim. "Sporting huge production values, plenty of laugh out loud moments and some of the tightest most enjoyable levels of any game out there today", this resurrection of the original 2D side-scrolling, shooting and grappling NES title introduced new weapons, online rankings, a reworked musical score and a two-player co-op mode. "Bionic Commando Rearmed sets a new benchmark for downloadable console games".


Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved, Metascore 86
An XBLA launch title, "this humble $5 downloadable might just be the best experience you've had with your Xbox 360", until you've played the sequel of course. It's a throwback to the Space Invader days, combining modern graphics with old-school fun, and the concept of Bizarre Creations' game couldn't be much simpler - battle hordes of evil, neon shapes (or "asteroids on crack") in the farthest reaches of the galaxy, "and there's not much strategy beyond 'don't die', but Geometry Wars still has the ability to put its hooks into you and not let go".


Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords, Metascore 87
Offering crisp graphics, online multiplayer and a highly successful combination of puzzle gameplay and RPG mechanics, Challenge of the Warlords for XBLA also addressed some of the minor complaints levelled at the portable versions. Widely hailed as an "addictive" gem, the game was also praised for having the "depth of a regular title". At 1200 MS Points, making it the cheapest version on the market, it "offers incredible bang for the buck".


Ikaruga, Metascore: 88
Described as "one of the most unique, challenging and mentally taxing shooters in existence", developer Treasure's Ikaruga did the business at the arcades and on a number of other platforms before thankfully making its way to XBLA. Playing solo or cooperatively, the game's special twist revolves around swapping your ship's colour between white and black (bullets of the same colour don't kill but empower you). "Vertical shooting at its best" and "an amazing sight to behold", you'd be hard pressed to "think of any other game that represents the genre so well".

  1 2