Top 5 Digitally Distributed Games
5. ‘Grand Theft Auto: The Ballad of Gay Tony’
Yes, the protagonist, Luis, doesn’t have much personality to speak of, and yes, the dancing minigame straddles the line between incomprehensibility and not being fun, but in the end, this game is a blast. Literally, because nearly everything you touch in this game comes crashing down in plumes of smoke and fireballs. The explosions are so great that they nearly distract the gamer from the golden helicopter. In this game, anything can happen, and that makes for a great five hours.
4. ‘Left 4 Dead 2’
The sequel to “Left 4 Dead” did have a retail release, but it made the biggest bucks being sold on Steam. Not content with the atmosphere of the first game, the developer, Valve, sets the second one in the South, where the survivors fight infected foes through swamps, carnivals and New Orleans. There really is nothing like that feeling you get when you bash a zombie in the head with a frying pan while listening to “When the Saints Come Marching In.” And despite the wide variety of levels, you always have to cooperate with your teammates, which means you don’t leave anyone behind. It’s “Left 4 Dead,” not “Left 3 Dead,” and don’t you forget it.
3. ‘LostWinds: Winter of the Melodias’
If a “Sonic” game is a roller coaster, then “LostWinds” is a ride on a bicycle. I mean that in a good way. This moody, slow and beautiful platformer is available exclusively through WiiWare. The game strikes a laid-back and spiritual tone that most games would opt to shoot through. It’s not particularly hard, but it is a thinker’s game. The character’s slow running-speed forces the gamer to stop worrying about the goal at the end of the level and start appreciating the scenery and the devious puzzles. A masterpiece that is all too short.
2. ‘World of Goo’
It’s a quirky puzzler with a sense of humor and a story that you’ll actually care about. In short, it’s the perfect puzzle game. The game will never make you laugh out loud, but you will chuckle in your head at the Sign Painter’s witticisms. More importantly, the puzzles, while challenging, are also physics based, which means that no matter how many tries it takes to beat a level, the solution will always make sense. And thankfully, the little gobs of goo always manage to hang together just long enough to reach the goal.
“Braid” has fun with video game conventions (the princess always seems to be in another castle, doesn’t she?) but make no mistake: this game feels fresh. The game takes the clever concept of rewinding time and expands on it in ways that are too numerous and devious to cover in the 100 words allotted to this entry. The look, the feel, the music: everything in this game is sublime. Plus, the ability to rewind time on the fly means that you’ll never get upset if you die a cheap death.