With Christmas less than a week away, I’m sure everyone has already filled out their wish lists with the biggest and best games of 2011. Many gamers are going to find things like Gears of War 3, Skyrim, and Uncharted 3 under their trees this year, but I’m sure many may also find an Xbox Live or Playstation Network pre-paid card in their stockings. This far into the console generation, there are dozens of fantastic games available on each of these services. When you’re deciding where to spend you’re digital money this holiday, consider these 10 amazing downloadable titles. As with any list, only games I’ve played are eligible, and you’re always free to disagree. A special caveat for this one; ports, retail games also available for download, and re-releases do not count, only original games or total remakes (graphics, music, etc.) are eligible for this list.
10. Dungeon Defenders (XBLA, PSN, Steam)
Of all the games that try to blend tower defense and action, Dungeon Defenders is the best of the bunch. Whether you are looking for a loot driven Action RPG, a challenging tower defense game, or a fun cooperative experience, you will find a lot to like about Dungeon Defenders. When you think of what you get out of a downloadable game, 5 or 6 hours is usually the most you could expect; but Dungeon Defenders is around 10 hours from the campaign alone, with additional challenge levels and modes of play adding to that amount. When it comes to well realized co-op and bang for your buck, Dungeon Defenders is one of the best downloadable games available on any platform.
9. Wipeout HD (PSN)
Most people don’t think of cheap downloadable games being technical powerhouses, but Wipeout HD certainly is. This game looks fantastic running in 1080p and the silky smooth 60 fps is how this style of game is meant to played. If you’re unfamiliar with this long running series, it is a futuristic arcade style racing game that is sort of a cross between F-Zero and Mario Kart. Wipeout HD features tracks from many of the past games in the series, re-mastered for the PS3, with several different modes of play. There is a challenge based single player campaign, but like most racing games, it really shines in multiplayer.
8. Geometry Wars Retro Evolved (XBLA)
Geometry Wars is pretty much single-handedly responsible for the popularization of the dual joystick shooter. Whether you go with the original or the sequel, you can’t go wrong with Geometry Wars. This game is the definition of easy to learn, hard to master. For such a simplistic game, it sure can eat away the time. Be prepared to continuously tell yourself “just one more try” after hours of trying to beat a friend’s score or nab a tough achievement.