2010 has been a phenomenal year for the Xbox Live Arcade. Disregarding the ridiculous price hike to $15.00 for the majority of games, I feel this is the best lineup we've ever seen. Microsoft's tendency to wait months to release games already complete puzzled me. Anyway, on to the list of what I feel are the 10 best games to release this year.
Runner Up: Comic Jumper
Comic Jumper is really, really funny. No one can argue that. If only Twisted Pixel could achieve this same level of quality with the actual gameplay. As a whole the adventures of Captain Smile have become a classic, albeit a very boring and repetitive one at times.
#10 Puzzle Quest 2
Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords quickly became my favorite puzzle game, and one of my favorite RPGs back in 2007. It was absolutely perfect in every way. Then Galactrix ruined everything I felt about the series. Puzzle Quest 2 returned the franchise to a better standing, but it cannot match the vibe that CotW did so flawlessly. I simply had troubles emerging myself into PQ2. Whereas the original had me sticking around for hours at a time, I'm lucky to force 30 minutes out of this true sequel.
#9 The Misadventures of PB Winterbottom
Between the brilliantly executed graphical and audio styles and addicting gameplay, PB Winterbottom is a must buy. While it may not capture the quality of Braid, it does adhere to the same fanbase and niche. It's a smart puzzle game, yet doesn't take a genius to complete. Though considering the game's ending and somewhat simplistic story, this game needs a sequel. Or at the very least, a spiritual successor.
#8 Zeno Clash: Ultimate Edition
Damn I want this game to get a sequel. The first-person battle system that focuses primarily on hand-to-hand combat is well done despite some simplicity. While also lacking in any worthwhile co-op or multiplayer, the single player campaign is fantastic for a digital title and quite lengthy to boot. Many gamers allowed Zeno Clash's art style to push them away; it drew me in. Zeno Clash's extremely wacky character styling created a world of depth in shallow characters. Despite physical mutations this world is very lifelike and sadistic.
#7 Castlevania: Harmony of Despair
Though not well-received by critics, HoD is the most unique 2D Castlevania to be released thus far. Ironic considering the game's content is almost entirely made up of reused sprites dating back to the GameBoy Advance. Either way, Konami managed to create a very good multiplayer title full of exploration and secrets. Over time this mystery faded as players learned which items could be uncovered by whom, and which weapon/armor combinations worked best. More recently extra characters, music tracks (why?) and a map were released. Though overpriced they offered extra content to those demanding it; sadly no achievements were present, and most claimed the characters to be lackluster.
#6 Snoopy Flying Ace
Crimson Skies was a fantastic game. Considering Snoopy Flying Ace is practically the same game, it's no surprise this was also wonderful. Snoopy's single player and co-op portion was beyond forgettable, but the online component is where this truly shined. The addictive deathmatch gametypes worked best, but an interesting football mode existed which works surprisingly well despite being an aerial combat game.
#5 Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's Decade Duels
I've never played a 'real' game of Yu-Gi-Oh, but I did love the video-games and secretly watched that dreadful anime. My personal life aside, the XBLA version of Yu-Gi-Oh is mostly amazing. Mostly because pairing two experienced duelists against each other over Xbox Live with their completely customization decks is awesome. Sadly, the pitiful single player is the only way to acquire new cards; which is completely randomized. However you could just purchase Konami's newly released DLC card-packs that consist mostly of cards already in the game. Man, Konami really has no idea how to handle DLC.