Xpandora's box
June 18, 2010 7:33 PM   Subscribe

What are some of the stranger, crazier, or more innovative or off-beat Xbox 360 games?

I've been enjoying my Xbox (slim, now!) for the past few months. I've particularly enjoyed Fallout 3, BioShock, Borderlands and Bad Company 2. And Rock Band, of course. All of these are fairly mainstream, though, however good they may be. I guess Borderlands is the most like what I'm looking for in that it's got ludicrous weaponry, nice style and humor, and somewhat (OK, slightly) unconventional structure. I want to leave this question pretty open, though, so here goes.

What weird-ass, over-the-top, or wildly different games am I missing?"
posted by cmoj to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (30 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Don't know so much about ludicrous weaponry, but Saint's Row 2 has offbeat style and humor, and it's pretty loosely structured.
posted by MegoSteve at 7:39 PM on June 18, 2010

Just Cause 2 is pretty balls-to-the-wall, but it's pretty mainstream. Red Faction: Guerilla is cool for blowing shit up.

Having a hard time thinking of more, sorry.
posted by InsanePenguin at 7:43 PM on June 18, 2010

The Misadventures of PB Winterbottom available on XBLA.
posted by cali59 at 7:45 PM on June 18, 2010

Not out yet but looks awesome: Limbo - a puzzle platform game coming to XBLA this summer.
posted by sharkfu at 7:57 PM on June 18, 2010

Rez, Castle Crashers, and Braid, all on arcade, are completely fantastic. Castle Crashers is the most mainstream, but high-quality four-player side scrolling beat-em-ups with brilliantly quirky humor have always been rare. Rez is impossible to describe, just play the demo and decide if you like it. Braid is a straightforward puzzle/platform game that slowly twists into a mindbending, time-twisting journey with a surprisingly powerful story.

Just look through the highest reviewed arcade and community games (all of which have free demos) and you should find enough to keep you busy for a while. Off the top of my head, the only community game I remember as particularly interesting is Along Came a Spider.
posted by sandswipe at 7:57 PM on June 18, 2010

With the FPS games you've mentioned, might I suggest the Mass Effect series? In combat it behaves like a third-person shooter, with pretty good and sensible camera controls. Out of combat, it behaves like KotoR/NWN (big surprise since it was done by Bioware).

#1 change from Bioware's other games: There's a conversation 'wheel' instead of numbered responses, and your character actually speaks.

I highly recommend getting Mass Effect 1 first for various reasons. It's planned out to be a trilogy, and your character's actions have actual consequences from one game to the next -- if a character dies in ME1, when you import your game to ME2 that character will still be dead. It has pretty high replayability because of the different directions you can choose for the game. You can start with ME2, but it's so much more fun if you import your game!

There's also hilariously epic lines, which I will not spoil for you because I wish I hadn't known about some of them before I played them.

There is a lot of first-rate talent voicing the games -- Seth Green, Adam Baldwin, Martin Sheen, Claudia Black, and Jennifer Hale voices Female Shepard (vastly superior to playing Male Shepard, imo). And that's just the start.

(Sorry if it's a bit preachy, but I seriously cannot stop playing it. Partly because each time I do, something different happens!)
posted by Heretical at 8:05 PM on June 18, 2010

earth defense force 2017 - reviewed not so great (although, most reviewers seemed to have fun with it), certainly not a top notch game - but it's filled with guns and GIANT ants and you can take a skyscraper down with a rocket. badassery all around.

now, ignoring your parameters and going for hidden gems (or games you might not have considered - all XBLA) -

chime - it's a tetris clone, but maybe one of the most game changing tetris clones i've ever played. the music is great, the graphics are pretty, the action fun and tense and frustrating and rewarding - it's cheap and money goes to charity! you really can't go wrong with purchasing chime.

puzzle quest - bejeweled + rpg - not so hidden, but scoffed off by a lot of gamers i know. it's awesomely fun.

trialsHD is offbeat and over the top and fairly different. a puzzle game made up like a dirt bike game with explosions!

castle crashers - crapton of weapons, funny, wonderful graphics, interesting take on an old idea

darwinia+ - a strategy god game with puzzle elements? grab the demo - try it out. the new graphics are fucking stellar.

shadow complex - a really pretty, well done metroid-vania.
posted by nadawi at 8:05 PM on June 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

I liked Every Extend Extra Extreme a whole bunch. Shooter/ rhythm game/ "oh my god I'm on drugs."
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 8:05 PM on June 18, 2010

Also, I like Puzzle Quest, but the AI cheats like a mofo. If you're not into "WAIT HOW DID YOU JUST GET SIX EXTRA TURNS YOU SON OF A BITCH" gameplay experiences, you may want to skip.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 8:06 PM on June 18, 2010

oh! and Rez is a good suggestion - but if you're interested in it, get the qubed compilation disc - it has rezHD, lumines live, and one of the best chain reaction games (ever!), every extend extra extreme. we got it used for $12 and it's cheaper than buying all three on XBLA.
posted by nadawi at 8:09 PM on June 18, 2010

i actually disagree about the AI cheating like a mofo in puzzle quest - i thought so too at first, but the more i play it the more i realize we both get those sorts of turns and seemingly in pretty equal measure.
posted by nadawi at 8:11 PM on June 18, 2010

You really, really want weird-arse and over-the-top? Bayonetta.

And I don't know how easy to get hold of it is, but Deadly Premonition sounds awesome.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 8:23 PM on June 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

In the Pit is a pretty interesting Indie game. The Impossible Game on Arcade (I think) is really frustrating but strangely addicting.

If you want to go slightly more mainstream, Fable 2 is awesome and a lot of fun. Prince of Persia (the one just called "Prince of Persia", I haven't played the newest) has some great writing.
posted by specialagentwebb at 8:24 PM on June 18, 2010

Portal is unusually structured, darkly humorous, and very addictive.
posted by karminai at 8:34 PM on June 18, 2010 [3 favorites]

I thought I'd like it, but Mass Effect just didn't so it for me. I was so sure about it that I got if off of the marketplace, and gave up after about an hour. I guess it just felt too structured and the world was too familiar compared to Fallout 3. I might try it again eventually since I have it.

I've been playing Castle Crashers. It's definitely a very good side scrolling masher, but I've played TMNT before, so it's not exactly what I'm looking for in this particular instance.

I've played Portal (and HL/2), but on PC. Well, Mac through Darwine. I know I'll get the orange box eventually so I can play everything without glitches. But yeah. A Portal game with exploding velociraptor guns and puzzle-rpg-cardgame elements would be the incomprehensible ideal here.
posted by cmoj at 9:33 PM on June 18, 2010

Ditto Braid & Rez.
Shadow Complex is pretty great if you can get over the Orson Scott Card connection. It isn't all that weird/strange/"out there" though.

Also, it's not due for a while, but the followup to Rez looks amazing.
posted by juv3nal at 11:06 PM on June 18, 2010

Baby Maker Extreme - basically only a casual game, but it is strange, crazy and offbeat (and you can play the demo for free).
posted by Coobeastie at 2:10 AM on June 19, 2010

Seconding EDF 2017, Rez, and Braid. Especially EDF, it's a blast in split-screen co-op, IMHO.

For really unique titles, though, I'd suggest Senko no Ronde (known as Wartech in the West) and Virtual On: Oratorio Tangram (XBLA). VOOT is intended to be played with a twin-stick controller, so do try the demo before purchasing.
posted by Bangaioh at 4:43 AM on June 19, 2010

Geometry Wars Retro Evolved 2.

One stick controls movement, and the other controls the direction of fire. You shoot shapes. It costs 7 dollars or so in the Xbox arcade, and is certainly worth every penny.
posted by clearly at 5:41 AM on June 19, 2010

Deadly Premonition.

Dear LORD, Deadly Premonition.
posted by naju at 9:29 AM on June 19, 2010

Yes, Deadly Premonition also appears to fit the bill, as long as you're in the USA. No such luck for PAL 360 owners.
posted by Bangaioh at 10:14 AM on June 19, 2010

Perhaps I've spoken too soon.
posted by Bangaioh at 1:41 PM on June 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

3 days and no-one's mentioned Zeno Clash yet? I've got your weird-ass over-the-top right here, man. Seriously though, it's a pretty great game, and you'll struggle to find a weirder first-person game on the 360. If it helps sell you on it, the guys from RPS loved the PC version.
posted by Kreiger at 7:08 AM on June 21, 2010

Peggle (!) (XBLA): man, peggle is so good, unicorns and ode to joy and pachinko. everyone should at least try the demo, your life is not complete until you've peggled

Toy Soldiers (XBLA): cool art style, mix of action and tower defense with little WWI figures, you get to drive a tank that shoots mustard gas while you protect your toybox

Snoopy Flying Ace (really!) (XBLA): its like mix of mario kart and crimson skies, and if you shoot down 4 planes in a row you get a little woodstock bird with two huge revolvers sitting on your planes tail, great multiplayer

Groov: (on Xbox indie games) its a cool, really cheap, twin stick shooter than is matched up to music

I'll second Trials and Chime and Saints Row 2

Another weird one is Culdcept Saga, its a board game with collectible card game elements and a goofy japanese RPG style plot
posted by yeahyeahyeahwhoo at 10:58 AM on June 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

if you're going to get peggle, love yourself and get the PC version. the graphics are a little poopoo-caca on the xbox. in fact, i've yet to see a popcap game that is as good on any other platform as it is on the pc.
posted by nadawi at 12:18 PM on June 22, 2010

in fact, i've yet to see a popcap game that is as good on any other platform as it is on the pc.

I don't have an iPad, but consensus among people who do (and have previously played it on PC) seems to be that Plants versus Zombie reaches its apotheosis on that device.
posted by juv3nal at 12:20 PM on June 22, 2010

did they finally release the full game? i know the the iphone version wasn't the full game. i see that they added one mini game, but i can't find a review that actually compares the PC and ipad game except for one that said "nearly the full game is on the ipad!".

although, at half the price - that does seem to be pretty good.

most of the OMG i've heard has had a healthy dose of "isn't the ipad just so WONDERFUL?!" without "and this is why it's better than the PC version".

i'm certainly open to being wrong. i was just sorely disappointed with peggle on the DS and zuma, peggle, bejeweled, astro pop were all lackluster compared to the PC.
posted by nadawi at 12:58 PM on June 22, 2010

> Dear LORD, Deadly Premonition.

It's also out in Europe now and it's excellent. I'm talking GOTY material, forget the "so bad it's good" tosh, it's bloody amazing despite its faults (but yes, some of those faults only make it more endearing).

If anyone is minimally intrigued by this game, my advice is to just go out and buy it; avoid reading any reviews for it (read this instead as it contains lots of information that should be in the manual but isn't), and play it on Easy, as the combat is utter shite, it's either frustrating or boring, with no satisfying middle ground.
posted by Bangaioh at 4:55 AM on November 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

My copy is in the post somewhere between the UK and Australia. And I just re-watched this. I haven't looked forward to playing a videogame this much since I was 10.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 3:21 AM on November 30, 2010

If you end up liking it as much as I did it will be well worth the wait. Having said that, it's definitely possible (probable, even) that you won't, and IMO that cutscene remains one of the best in the whole game in its quirkiness, so don't set the bar too high.

The delay in the PAL release actually worked in favour of my enjoying the game since I stopped paying attention soon after the Mefi post (when it was NTSC only) and only when this thread came up and I found out it was being released in Europe I started really getting interested and had the good fortune of not coming across any spoilers when making my decision to pre-order it.

FWIW, one of the best reviews for it is from the Telegraph of all places. I'd advise against reading it completely because of some minor spoilers (which you may already be aware of at any rate, but still...) so I'll just quote the parts that matter:
Why is it that, in a year stuffed with premium, prime rib, triple-A blockbusters, the game I will remember most from 2010 will likely be this one?

But don't mistake lack of polish for lack of ambition. The best thing about Deadly Premonition is that it doesn't care how ugly it is, as long as it adheres to its own (insane) vision.

That score at the top of the page is especially arbitrary this time. You can throw any number at Deadly Premonition and make it stick. [...] None of it is ‘wrong’, because it is a game beyond such simple summation. It’s a game to be talked about and experienced for yourself. And it's an experience like no other, if not always for the right reasons. I adored it, but I couldn't tell you in earnest that you will feel the same. But I will tell you this: you absolutely must play it. How else would you ever know?
posted by Bangaioh at 5:24 AM on November 30, 2010

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