The folks at Xbox Live usually horde some of their best downloadable titles for their Summer of Arcade campaign. The headliner of 2012’s line-up for me was easily Deadlight, a 2D puzzle-platformer from Spanish developer Tequilaworks. Combining a visual style heavily influenced by LIMBO and gameplay elements reminiscent of Shadow Complex, you play as a survivor of the zombie apocalypse trying to navigate your way through the decimated remains of Seattle. Filled with challenging environmental puzzles and intense “run or die” moments, Deadlight brought a fresh perspective to the zombie survival genre.
What can be said about Journey that hasn’t been said already? It’s a game but it’s not. It features multiplayer but you can’t play it with your friends. It’s surprisingly moving, occasionally frightening, and very, very strange. Most importantly, Journey is an experiment in gaming that succeeds primarily because of the fearlessness of developer thatgamecompany.
8. Tales from Space: Mutant Blobs Attack
The jury’s still out on Sony’s Playstation Vita but most owners agree that its gaming line-up was a bit slight in early 2012. Mutant Blobs Attack was an early Vita release but it remains one of the most fun and original experiences on the system. You play as a one-eyed blob who rolls along absorbing pieces of the environment and growing in size until, eventually, terrorizing the populace and attracting the attention of the military. It’s one of the most laugh-out-loud funny games of the year, filled with 1950’s B-movie tropes and a roster of evolving powers that allow your blob to dominate Earth.