Last week we chronicled our top titles on Xbox Live Arcade. Now it's time to examine PlayStation Network. Sony's digital space quickly gained a reputation as the console home for independent, experimental titles, but that perception has slowly been challenged by XBLA's commitment to the space. PSN PLAY may help swing the pendulum back eventually, but that's far from certain. Regardless, the accumulated catalog on PSN is undeniably strong, and we've compiled its very best, in alphabetical order. (Note: This ranking excludes larger, retail-level titles such as Warhawk and SOCOM: Confrontation, as well as titles that led primarily on other platforms such as Limbo and Braid)
Everyday Shooter was a breath of fresh air for the twin stick shooter genre, popular among downloadable titles. The game's psychedelic visuals and music mechanic, where players add layers to the soundtrack by shooting objects, made it truly unique. Figuring out the secret way to complete each level was challenging and rewarding.
Fat Princess is a stellar downloadable title that offers far more than expected. There is plenty to do in both an offline and online capacity - especially online - and it's easy to find hours being whittled away while enjoying the fun, yet frantic gameplay in the various modes that are available. In terms of character, Fat Princess has it in droves. The basic concept of the game is borderline ludicrous and it's fantastic! This game is definitely worth checking out if only for the comedy value.
Flower is a one of a select few games ever (Team Ico's work being others) that have mastered storytelling purely through gameplay. The simple story is executed to perfection thanks to the gorgeous environments, and brilliant level design that conveys the narrative in a very subtle way. At every turn, Flower is pleasantly surprisingly and mesmerizing.
Outland is the latest venture from Finnish studio Housemarque, the team behind PSN favourites Super Stardust HD and Dead Nation. Outland combines 2D platforming with colour co-ordinated combat, taking chances notes from classics such as Ikaruga. Players will need to navigate the stunningly stylized environments by changing colour states based on the various types of oncoming enemies.
Peggle not only appeals to a mass audience of "casual" players, but anybody who considers themselves a fan of games in general. Peggle consists of the simple task of shooting balls into a play area of pegs with the goal of removing all orange pegs from the board. It's a simple enough premise, but it has exceedingly addictive gameplay that causes one to lose themselves for hours trying to get that one last peg.
PixelJunk Eden is the pinnacle of what downloadable games can offer - a completely original experience. The game's concept and execution of swinging around the garden of Eden, while collecting pollen to grow plants, thereby exploring the levels is something you have to try for yourself to truly comprehend. The beautiful visual presentation and catchy electronica soundtrack further enhance the experience.
PixelJunk Shooter is the fourth iteration into the PixelJunk franchise and like its predecessors, it's absolutely nothing like anything that's come before. PixelJunk Shooter has buckets of charm, and the way the elements all interact and flow is just outstanding. It features simple controls and rewarding gameplay as well.
Shatter is a modern take on the classic brick-breaking formula, something reminiscent of Arkanoid. It introduces physics mechanics, allowing players to push and pull the shattering blocks as needed to manipulate the environment. A variety of puzzles and challenges, with a catchy soundtrack on top, make Shatter an instantly entertaining, worthwhile experience.
Super Stardust HD
Super Stardust HD was one of the first titles on PlayStation Network to really receive critical acclaim. It came shortly after the PS3's launch, and charmed game-starved players with its unique take on twin-stick shooting. Players navigate a spherical world as asteroids, robots and other menacing foes drop in from space. Smooth controls are the icing on the cake for this addictive arcade shooter.
Trine arrived on the PlayStation Network after already seeing a release on the PC earlier in 2009. It was developed by Finnish company Frozenbyte and successfully blended 2D platforming with puzzle elements, all inside a fantasy world. To mix things up, it also offered three different styles of play, which could be changed on the fly. Trine succeeded in creating a unique experience, one worthy of fans of the fantasy genres time.
Bionic Commando Rearmed
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