The arcade store on Xbox Live has really gone from strength to strength over the years and it is great to see budding developers and indie studios having a platform to nurture and unleash their talents on. This platform has presented me with my best gaming experiences this year, as I constantly become excited for the next big release through XBLA than a disc based game in the stores.
I have compiled a list of what I think are the top 5 games that were released on XBLA in 2012 that give you more gameplay and originality than their £10 and below price points would suggest. This is where gaming is being kept alive in my opinion, and is a corner of the Xbox dashboard I hope more people discover in the future. Now on with the list…
5. Dust: An Elysian Tail
It’s a rare occurrence in gaming these days that a single title is made alone by one person. Dust: An Elysian Tail is one of those rare instances and what a gem it has turned out to be. The game took a grueling four years of development, which has paid off enormously thanks to the popularity of the title and critical acclaim it has garnered. Dean Dodrill, the games creator won the Microsoft Dream. Build. Play competition and passionately brought his vision to life, and I’m sure he is overjoyed with the response. Blending stat building RPG elements with hack and slash gameplay, Dust is a joy to behold and control from start to finish.
The characters look like they have been ripped from an unknown merged Disney anime creation, while the old school gameplay somehow feels fresh despite the simplicity. The combat is fast and the combos are fierce, if only they could be unleashed onto Fidget, your slightly annoying companion who is not too dissimilar to Tails in appearance. The story is aped in fantasy, with some chuckle-some moments referencing other games, or how games are played in general, there is plenty to keep you entertained along the way. Secret areas are ripe within the world coupled with quite a few side quests meaning the replay-ability factor is high, and easily pushes the game time to over 20 hours for those of you wanting to explore every nook and cranny.
Dust is a steal at 1200 Microsoft Points, bringing more to the table with a longer campaign than most studio based creations.
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