10 Best Downloadable Games

Beat the summer heat with these games that you don’t even need to leave your couch to purchase.

Erik Norris & Joey Davidsonby Erik Norris & Joey Davidson


As painful as it is to admit, we’re in a dry spell right now. After the flood of major titles that released in the first half of the year, the next few months are slow in comparison. We’re pretty much biding time until the fall/holiday rush kicks into gear. So to make that wait go by a little faster, we decided to outline the best downloadable titles still available that should make up for the lack of AAA games hitting store shelves. So if you’re looking for something to play, everything on this list comes highly recommended. As a final note, these ten titles come in no particular order.



Developer: thatgamecompany
Available on: PSN

thatgamecompany’s engrossing, involving, whimsical and downright gorgeous PlayStation Network ride is one of the best downloadable games ever. It may seem weird at first, and, sure, we attest to the fact that it’s not for everyone; however, Flower defines stylized and artistic gaming. For its beauty alone, Flower earns a spot on our list.

‘Splosion Man


Developer: Twisted Pixel
Available on: XBLA

Cult favorite much? ‘Splosion Man mixes ridiculousness with hilarity and adds that gooey batter to a bowl of wonderful gameplay and challenging mechanics. You blow up to traverse the 2D landscape. How is that not one of the most awesome things you’ve ever heard of?



Developer: Number None, Inc.
Available on: XBLA, PSN, Windows, Mac

This is an obvious one. Braid is often one of the games brought up in the whole “games are art” debate, and for good reason. The art style is mesmerizing, the gameplay is fun, yet challenging, and it’s one of the few downloadable titles that will make your head explode upon its conclusion.

Castle Crashers


Developer: The Behemoth
Available on: XBLA, PSN

A simple, criminally funny, addicting, cooperative hack and slash side-scroller that absolutely took the gaming world by storm upon its release. The unique art style and tons of glorious pillaging and leveling made this game a joy to play through several times. There are hidden levels and completely wacky bosses. There’s even an explosively shitting deer. No. We’re not kidding.



Developer: Playdead
Available on: XBLA, PSN (coming soon), Steam (coming soon)

Playdead’s monochrome masterpiece is another downloadable title that speaks leagues for video games being true works of art. Limbo’s style is like no other, using shadows and an eerie ambience to set a brilliant, nightmarish tone for the adventure. While the title features plenty of frustrating trial-and-error gameplay, the atmosphere alone makes Limbo a must-own downloadable game.

Shadow Complex


Developer: Chair Entertainment
Available on: XBLA

If Metroid and Castlevania hooked up and had a baby obsessed with espionage, that baby would be Shadow Complex. Developed by Chair in cooperation with Epic Games, Shadow Complex is one gorgeous downloadable title that pays tribute to some of the gaming industries most iconic franchises. While there are plenty of bad guys to pummel, the real draw of Shadow Complex is the game’s massive environment which rewards exploration. If you fancy yourself a trinket hunter, then Shadow Complex is right up your alley.

Super Meat Boy


Developer: Team Meat
Available on: XBLA, Windows, Mac, Linux

For the masochistic gamers out there, Super Meat Boy is for you. This title from Team Meat is absolutely brutal, with some levels taking hundreds of tries to complete. However, there’s a charm to it all, which the majority of difficult games fail to capture. And when you do finally finish that level which has hung you up for over a week straight, the sense of gratification is unmatched. Super Meat Boy also deserves a spot on this list simply because the game’s villain is a fetus with a monocle. How awesome is that?



Developer: Double Fine
Available on: XBLA

Trenched is definitely a new love as far as we’re concerned. We reviewed it like two weeks ago. It’s epic that we consider it good enough to hit our top 10 best list. This game packs all of the humor and style Double Fine is known for while being able to deliver a mechanically succinct gameplay experience. The critical darling studio always struggles with mashing those two elements perfectly. This game is great, but the multiplayer side moves it from great to astounding.

Geometry Wars 2


Developer: Bizarre Creations
Available on: XBLA

This simple twin-stick shooter is responsible for sucking away so many hours from our lives. While the original Geometry Wars is responsible for starting the twin-stick shooter craze, it’s the sequel that pretty much upped the ante in every conceivable way. The game boasted six different game modes, as well as a cooperative and competitive mode for up to 4 players. The original game will always hold a special place in our hearts, but if you’re going to dive into the world of shapes shooting at each other, you might as well go with the more robust version of the two. And trust us, geometry class was never this interesting or intense.


PixelJunk Monsters


Developer: Q-Games
Available on: PSN

PixelJunk fans will probably have their own call when it comes to their favorite game in the PixelJunk line, but ours goes to PixelJunk Monsters. You may be sensing a trend here, but the visual style couples with the strong tower defense gameplay make this one a titan in its own right. The soundtrack is also worth noting as it’s one of the best features of the game. Really, truly, PixelJunk Monsters is good.