When I finally hooked my PS3 up to the InterGoogle, the first thing I did was jump on the PSN Store. I had heard about some great games and I was really looking forward to seeing what they had to offer. Downloadable games are a cheap way to get quality games, not to mention old classics and new, experimental games that would never see a retail release. So here are the Top 10 games you can get on the PSN Store, XBox Live Arcade and the Virtual Console. I have included classics, exclusives and multi-console releases.
Mega Man 9 (PSN, XBL, VC)- Finally, Capcom decided to bring us a traditional Mega Man sequel. So traditional, in fact, that they used NES graphics and gameplay! If you ever enjoyed any of the old Mega Man games, this is one you won’t want to pass up. Warning: EXTREME difficulty lies ahead. Beating the demo level took more time than I care to admit.
Braid (XBL)- Who says that side-scrolling platformers are no longer relevant in today’s gaming microcosm? Well, whoever does say that needs to be sent over to play Braid, double-quick, so that they can be proved dead wrong. Braid combines the mechanics of 2D platformers that we know and love with a Prince of Persia style time function, creating some of the most intense and challenging gaming puzzles I’ve ever seen.
Not only are you looping time, you’re also using shadow versions of yourself to solve elaborate puzzles that often seem quite simple once they “click”. Mesh all of that with a gorgeous water-painting style of art, along with thoughtful music and engaging, philosophical subtext, and you have one of the most beautiful downloadable games ever crafted.
Pixeljunk Monsters (PSN)-I had heard a lot about this one, so it was the first new game I downloaded. It popped my tower defense cherry and did so with a ruthlessness worthy of Watchmen’s The Comedian. You control a little guy running around building towers out of trees whilst monsters take a leisurely loop on the way to destroying your village. The game is very fun and addictive, but hard in that its very trial-and-error based. You have to really try to learn what each monster’s weakness is and build the appropriate towers. Still, a lot of fun to play.
Super Mario RPG (VC)- This is probably one of the most underrated games ever made, and was a brilliant example of Square being able to mash together mechanics that people didn’t think would work. Mario and company translated over into the RPG realm quite beautifully, and the story wasn’t half bad, either. Nothing was more satisfying that combining platforming elements into the 2/3 view, along with being able to bounce on opponents multiple times for added damage. If you’ve never played this game and own a Wii, you have to go download it, because we said so. What are you waiting for? Go!
Ratchet and Clank: Quest for Booty (PSN)- What’s this? A PS3 quality game available for download for just $15? That’s right, this short, 3-4 hour adventure takes place in the aftermath of Ratchet and Clank Future: Tools of Destruction and focuses on Ratchet trying to find his buddy clank. The game showcases amazing graphics and some very cool platforming elements. I hope they continue to give us bite-sized portions of games at a lower price because this is one experiment that was a great success!
Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix (PSN, XBL)- The greatest fighting game ever has returned with newly enhanced graphics, rebalanced gameplay, new moves and online tournaments! Seriously, this is the definitive version of legendary fighting game. Problem is, if you buy this, there really is no reason to buy Street Fighter IV. I am dead serious, since the original fighters barely changed in SFIV, if you buy this game, you would only play the new one for the new characters. Rare is the remake that puts a new sequel to shame, but this game does it.
Geometry Wars 2 (XBL)- The cool thing about Geometry Wars is that it brings back the days of the high score. If you’ve never played GW2, then all you need to know is that it is like Galaga or a similarly themed arcade shooter, only, on speed and at a rave. The colors are bright and vibrant, the gameplay is addictive as all get out, and the enemies are numerous and challenging. Seriously, you should go play this game if you haven’t already. You won’t be sorry.
Castle Crashers (XBL)- Easily one of the best games of 2008, Castle Crashers brings back the old school arcade beat-em-up flavor to home consoles. Playing with up to 4 players cooperatively is an absolute blast, and leveling up your character across several games is addictive as hell. Combine all of that with an excellent art style, and you have a great game that is a ton of fun to play. This might be my favorite XBox Live title to date, as it was one that is worthy to be purchased almost at full price at retail had it been a tad longer.
Link to the Past (VC)- Arguably both the best Zelda game of all time, and even the best game of all time, Link to the Past was an SNES classic that is still just as playable now as it was back then. While many games from recent eras have gotten worse with age, many SNES games were the last generation to have that classic look and feel.
With great weapons, spells and some awesome graphics for its time, this game totally kicks ass, and has one of the coolest mechanics in any Zelda game due to the dark/light worlds. I really wish more of the modern Zeldas were more like this game, in that you could truly explore a whole living breathing world, rather than just loosely connected areas.
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (PSN, XBL)- The very first game I downloaded when I got online. This is the greatest side-scroller, the greatest Castlevania and one of the greatest games of all time. You know how people complain about Final Fantasy VII being overrated and stuff? No one says that about this game. Trying to find it on eBay without breaking the bank was harder than beating the game, but now thanks to PSN and Xbox Live, we get to experience one of the all-time greats for cheap.
It was the first Castlevania to use the Metroid-style of finding new items and using them to open up new sections of the castle. The kicker is that if you do a certain thing, the castle flips upside down and you do it all again! A huge game that just got even huger, this is one of those games you may beat, but will never truly finish.
So there you have it, our little list of excellent games for download online. What games on the VC, PSN or Xbox Live Marketplace do you like? Has this feature made you want to try any of these games?