So this time last year, I wasn’t a big fan of XBLA games. They just didn’t appeal to me that much — Fast forward a year, and now I love them.

With this new found love for XBLA games, I have picked a few of my personal favourites that have released so far in 2010. So without further ado, check them out below.

This is by far my favourite XBLA game of 2010. This brilliantly macabre indie game took everyone by suprise — it even went on to sell over 300,000 copies. The minimalistic approach set out by Playdead Studios was the very thing that made it stand out. The simple controls, haunting aesthetics & eery atmosphere, changed my outlook on gaming. This is a must play and had to be in my favourites list.

Lara Croft: Guardian of Light
When you hear the name Lara Croft you automatically add Tomb Raider to the end of it — not anymore. With the dropping of Tomb Raider from the title, it actually brought some much needed revitalization to the franchise. The use of the isometric view works great, making it simpler to know which direction the game wants you to go in. Add in online co-op (to be released as a patch free in September), collectables, tons of action, a variety of enemies, lots of replay value & DLC support. All that equates to a game game that deserves to be in anyones gaming library.

Toy Soldiers
It’s a tower defense tower game at it’s core, but what really sets it apart from this genre is the ability to take control of your unit in 3rd person, then attack the enemies yourself — simply genius. Surprisingly enough, online play works extremely well here and can provide endless amounts of good times with your buddies. Toy Soldiers was the most fun I have had with an XBLA game since… forever.

This just creeps in as a favourite purely for the art direction the game took. Yes the combat was on par and very graphic, but the art style is what stood out the most. It was like watching a ‘Quentin Tarantino-esque graphic novel movie’ play out on my screen. It went something like this; Admire the art, learn the controls then master this equation: Knife + Shotgun + Chainsaw = a brutal way to kill someone. That’s what Shank is, a brutal & graphic piece of art.

Monday Night Combat
It’s a classed based shooter that has elements of a tower defense game: using strategically placed turrets. The game is just fun as hell. Whether you’re playing as the Tank mowing fools down, or playing as the Assassin, the game just oozes fun. It really becomes fun when you start to play with your friends in a 4v4 match. Trust me, play this and have an awesome time.

P.B Winterbottom
Another game that uses the dark and macabre aesthetics to it’s advantage. If you have played Braid, you kinda know what to expect. Time control, puzzles & chronoberry pie — all the things P.B Winterbottom love. It has a quirky sense of humour and a great art style. The music, my god, the music. Fantastic stuff. If you haven’t played this game yet, do it now.

There you have it, my favourites. There will be plenty more XBLA games that will be released in the coming months so stay tuned to P*N to see which ones I pick as my favourites for then.

*Authors note: I know that some of these games are on PSN but I only played them on XBLA, thus me using the title ‘Favourite XBLA Games’. I’m sure they are just as awesome on PSN.*