December 18, 2009 10:26 AM   Subscribe

I just got an Xbox 360. I'm not the biggest fan of first-person shooters, Grand Theft Auto, and pseudo-instrument games like Guitar Hero, but I do love novel, esoteric games. What are some of the unsung heroes in the XB360 library that I should invest in?

I used to be a hardcore gamer back in my heyday, but I just lack focus and time, so I'd call myself a casual gamer these days.

Games I've really enjoyed over the past few years: Mario Galaxy, Bangai-O Spirits, Viewtiful Joe, Shadow of the Collosus
posted by Christ, what an asshole to Media & Arts (34 answers total) 32 users marked this as a favorite
Braid is not exactly "unsung," but it's awesome, and a million miles from the FPS genre.

I'd muck about with the rest of the XBLA. They've got the Monkey Island games, a few Sam & Max episodes, reiterations of the old classics, you name it.

They're also a damn sight cheaper than the $45-60 a new XBox 360 game will set you back.
posted by valkyryn at 10:30 AM on December 18, 2009 [3 favorites]

Tom Clancy's Endwar is a little off the radar. It's a pretty straightforward military strategy game, but you can control your units by voice, and it does an amazing job at it, mainly through getting you to issue commands through a common-sense, simplified syntax. I think you can get a demo for it through xbox live.
posted by craven_morhead at 10:33 AM on December 18, 2009

Seconding Braid. It's not a very long game, but it's definitely worth its price.
posted by sah at 10:37 AM on December 18, 2009

Castle crashers is fun on arcade. I'm also enjoying the panzer game on arcade - its surprisingly tough.
posted by H. Roark at 10:39 AM on December 18, 2009

You'd probably enjoy Beautiful Katamari, and you might be interested in Eternal Sonata.
posted by Meagan at 10:40 AM on December 18, 2009

If you can find it, get a copy of Burnout 3: Takedown for xbox. According to the microsoft website, that game is compatible with the 360 and it is my FAVORITE video game ever. It's a racing game, sort of, that has different modes. The ultimate goal of the game though is to create as much destruction and havoc as possible. If you like open-world games, I would go for Burnout: Paradise which is much newer and would be easier to find, and is in a similar vein to the first suggestion (being from the same series).
posted by Night_owl at 10:41 AM on December 18, 2009 [2 favorites]

If you like old-school RPGs the Penny Arcade games are really fun.
posted by MsMolly at 10:42 AM on December 18, 2009

Oh, and if you're not set on having an "unsung" game, I would try the Orange Box. Portal seems like a game that most casual gamers should have a blast with.
posted by Night_owl at 10:42 AM on December 18, 2009

Came in here to recommend Braid, so I'll second that.
Viva Piñata
Beautiful Katamari
Mirror's Edge
The Orange Box
posted by cmgonzalez at 10:43 AM on December 18, 2009

Viva Pinata can be pretty addicting -- I'll bet you can find it for $5 or $10, these days.
posted by Pantengliopoli at 10:44 AM on December 18, 2009

There's lots of really great stuff on XBLA that should turn you on ...

There are great board game adaptations of Ticket to Ride, Catan and Carcassone. Those are all three awesome.

Defense Grid is a really fun, classy "tower defense" game. Very addictive.

Yes, Braid, a thousand times, Braid!

Also, if you dig into the Xbox Originals section, be sure to try Indigo Prophecy. Really immersive and wonderful (and definitely "novel").
posted by jbickers at 11:02 AM on December 18, 2009 [2 favorites]

You'd like The Orange Box. You might also dig The Secret of Monkey Island.

Try the XBLA and get Braid-- check out some of the other indie stuff on there. Castle Crashers and Alien Hominid are excellent(they are made by Newgrounds). Some pretty neat stuff. If you like puzzles check out Puzzle Quest or Carcassonne on XBLA too.
posted by OrangeSoda at 11:05 AM on December 18, 2009

I'd call myself a casual gamer these days

Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords.
Magic: The Gathering - Duels of the Planeswalkers.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:10 AM on December 18, 2009

One of the best things about the 360 is the massive library of free game demos you can download. Check them out.

I came in to recommend Orange Box. It's by far the best deal in gaming. Although it's all FPS style game play, it's some of the best ever made.

Shadow Complex is a great, short metroid like game.
posted by anti social order at 11:15 AM on December 18, 2009

Seconds Monkey Island. Most fun I've had playing a game in a long time!
posted by geeky at 11:16 AM on December 18, 2009

Rez HD from Live Arcade. A port of the PS2 game Rez, and the only game I will sit down and play over and over again for no other reason than the music and visuals are awesome. Decent gameplay too.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 11:17 AM on December 18, 2009

I've enjoyed the lego games. They have Batman, Star Wars and Indiana Jones.
posted by morganannie at 11:18 AM on December 18, 2009

OMG Hexic! And it's Freeeee! My boyfriend has spent more hours playing Hexic on his 360 than all other games combined since he bought it.... 2 years ago. Can't believe I forgot that one.
posted by Night_owl at 11:23 AM on December 18, 2009

I've enjoyed the lego games. They have Batman, Star Wars and Indiana Jones.

And very soon, Lego Harry Potter.
posted by cmgonzalez at 11:25 AM on December 18, 2009

You can download Psychonauts, an action/adventure game, or probably buy it for pretty cheap.

#*($($ Zuma and Catan combined nearly ate 300 hours of my life.
posted by thisperon at 12:10 PM on December 18, 2009

I would love to nth Hexic and Puzzle Quest. Both of those games have consumed more of my time that they should have.

You say you don't like GTA, but what about it don't you like? Is it the run and gun? If so I would recommend Assassin's Creed, not exactly unsung either, but really open world and fun to meander around in. You don't need to devote huge amounts of hours to find the fun in my experience. Of course if you hate open worlds like GTA, you probably won't like Assassin's Creed either, so it depends on your taste here. I recommend it because it is a game the casual gamers I know really enjoy without investing a huge time commitment every week, there is a lot to explore and the fights are fun.
posted by Carillon at 12:41 PM on December 18, 2009

Seconding Portal, which can be downloaded cheaply, but if you go buy a copy of Orange Box somewhere, you'll get a few games with it and it's probably even cheaper...

If you're a casual gamer and like sports, then those games are often a good bet... FIFA, NHL, etc from EA sports... I think Madden has gotten WAY too complicated for an old fart like me though... (ok, not really an old fart, but as far as the video game world goes I sort of am)

Castle Crashers was fun, albeit a bit short and overly simple...

The Burnout games are fun and casual if you like driving games... it's sort of "extreme" driving.. in between arcadey and ridiculous, but not totally ridiculous... Not sure if the one mentioned above is easy to find, but Burnout: Paradise can be downloaded or purchased inexpensively.

Trials HD is great, addicting, frustrating fun... yes, it's a "motorcycle game", but really it's a crazy physics/balancing game.. there is no racing involved...

I wouldn't call it unsung, but I've heard great things about Brutal Legend... I played the demo and bought it but haven't had the chance to crack it open yet... it is hilarious, though...
posted by honestbleeps at 12:43 PM on December 18, 2009

I'd recommend the original Fable that came out for the original Xbox. It's the only game I have played all the way through twice. It's a nice balance between action and role playing. It plays on the 360 if you can update your 360 through Xbox Live.

In fact, if you are looking to save money there are a lot of older games that play on the 360. You can view the list here.

If that is an appealing option then also check out Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. It's a very enjoyable RPG.
posted by zzazazz at 12:44 PM on December 18, 2009

Oh yeah, the game Links is still a great golf game.
posted by zzazazz at 12:46 PM on December 18, 2009

As many others in the thread have mentioned, Portal/Orange Box. I also like the Burnout 3 suggestion, and suggest Burnout Revenge as well, but not Burnout Paradise. Braid's good, the Magic: Duels of the Planeswalkers is a great title (except for not being able to fully customize decks). If you like Pinball, Pinball FX. If Marble Madness was your thing back in the day, grab Marble Blast Ultra. Play 1vs100 live with the rest of the US for prizes every Tuesday and Friday nights (free with Gold subscription). Boom Boom Rocket for a music-but-not-really-a-music game. Uno, if you dig that card game.
posted by deezil at 1:19 PM on December 18, 2009

The Lego games (Indiana Jones, Star Wars, Batman and next year, Harry Potter ) are pretty fun to play. Who doesn't like walking around and smashing things? there are lots of exploration/sandboxy elements to the game, but they are still simple to play.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 1:29 PM on December 18, 2009

One more vote for Beautiful Katamari.
posted by elizardbits at 1:42 PM on December 18, 2009

Bayonetta - download the demo and see what you think of it, the game will be out early next year.

EDF 2017.
posted by Bangaioh at 2:51 PM on December 18, 2009

Braid is good stuff.
Also check out Mirrors Edge. It's pretty and fun.
I'm not generally a fan of FPS games, mostly because I find them boring. However, I really enjoyed the story in BioShock. And though short, the campaign of Call of Duty 3 was fun, too.
posted by herrtodd at 4:10 PM on December 18, 2009

Assassin's Creed II. Definitely not the first one. I pushed myself through it, but only because I needed to know what happened when the second one came out. And II is amazing.
posted by InsanePenguin at 4:30 PM on December 18, 2009

Kingdom for Keflings
Viva Pinata (the newest one)
posted by Nelson at 5:07 PM on December 18, 2009

Sorry, specifically VIvaPinata: Trouble in Paradise. Not "Party Animals".
posted by Nelson at 5:08 PM on December 18, 2009

If you want really off the beaten track, try Culdcept Saga. It is a perfect crosspollination of Magic the Gathering and monpoly. It's definitely a niche title, but if it's your niche you'll fall in love.
posted by yellowbinder at 11:29 PM on December 18, 2009

Ditto Braid & Portal. Add Shadow Complex if you like 2D Metroid at all and can get past the Orson Scott Card involvement.
posted by juv3nal at 6:25 AM on December 19, 2009

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