This year has likely been the best year of my life. It's the year I started my own Xbox 360 review blog, and the year that I gained great respect from the online gaming community. While the year did start off rough for me with the PS3 hacking incident that ended my life as a Sony gamer, it still finished on a good note. I found something special when I took my leap of faith, and invested in a new Xbox 360 console. It was a hard decision for me, but one that I'm glad I made. As months passed by in 2011 I managed to complete over 140 reviews on my newly made review blog, "OtakuDante's Gaming Inferno". My blog currently has over 17,000 page views which I would have never dreamed possible in my career as a freelance reviewer. I took a chance, and made it big. Without my friends, readers and review code contributions from developers I would have failed miserably. As I mentioned in my "Special Thanks" section I'm a man who is thankful for the blessings I receive, and I'd like to thank all of you who made this dream come true for me. Thank you so much! Without further adieu I give you my "Top 10 of 2011". It's a list that will shed light on those 10 special game gems I have found through my reviews in 2011 ...
10 - Poopocalypse (XBLIG): This game is one of the few XBLIG games I have revisited many times during the year. I know most won't agree with my decision of placing it in the "Top 10", but I honestly think it deserves the 10th place spot. Poopocalypse is a new take on the dual thumbstick shmup genre. It featured a humorous plot, and gameplay that not only entertains the gamer, but also makes for a good laugh. I found that most reviewers wrongfully gave this game heck about the color of the poop (because of perverted thoughts), and the fact that they didn't understand how to control the pigeon properly. I ended up dominating the online leaderboard (U.S.) simply because no one would give the game a chance. If you haven't added this XBLIG to your collection I strongly suggest that you do!
9 - All The Bad Parts (XBLIG): This was one of the most unique XBLIG titles I had a chance to review this year. In no way did it copy, or mimic another game. The graphics were very impressive for a an indie game, and featured a mixture of 2D and 3D elements. The story was extremely interesting, and had multiple plot paths that the gamer could take. It offered an eerie tale that I could honestly see made into a Tim Burton film. I also stated this in my review of the game. While a lot of reviewers probably won't agree with me on this, I definitely think "All The Bad Parts" has earned it's place as one of the "Top 10 of 2011".
8 - T.E.C. 3001 (XBLIG): Out of all the XBLIG titles I reviewed this year none have come so close to being an XBLA game as "T.E.C. 3001" did. Everything within the game was accented by spectacular 3D visuals, and a brilliant neon color scheme. The gameplay was fast paced, and solid throughout. As you took control of the running robot you could feel the speed increase as if you were there in the game. The parkour style maneuvers also added an intense yet enjoyable edge to the game. It definitely made the gamer work harder for that higher rated finish. As I did my playthrough of "T.E.C. 3001" I was constantly impressed by the seamless gameplay, and the fact that there were no glitches or hiccups at all. The developer of this game went out of their way to make it thoroughly enjoyable for the gamer, and even presented the game in a professional manner. I'm glad I got the chance to play, and review "T.E.C. 3001" this year. It was truly an awe inspiring game.
7 - The Jump Hero (XBLIG): I have had the pleasure of reviewing many of 'Silver Dollar Games' XBLIG titles this year. I could have listed a lot of the games here in my 'Top 10' list, but the one that really stood out above the rest was "The Jump Hero". During my research of titles from "Dream Build 2011's" list of games I found "The Jump Hero". The trailer of 'The Jump Hero' that I watched definitely caught my undivided attention to say the least. At this point in my reviewing career the developer behind 'Silver Dollar Games' didn't really know who I was, but allowed me to review "The Jump Hero" which I was truly grateful for. I found the game to be unlike any I have ever played. It featured exciting music, a constantly running man, and parkour style gameplay. What I really enjoyed about this game is that I could play it nonstop for a very long time, and as with other 'Silver Dollar Games' titles it featured highscores which is always a plus in my book. The game wasn't without fault, but the fun factor was so amazing that I could easily overlook those minor details. Throughout 2011 I have revisited this game many times, and it never gets dull.
6 - Magic The Gathering: Duels Of The Planeswalkers 2012 (XBLA): Few people I know on Twitter, or elsewhere online know of my interest in the MTG (Magic the Gathering) card game. I never really participated in tournaments, or anything of that sort but I was a serious collector of the game at one point in my life. During this year I found out through my usual means of investigation that 'MTG 2012' was going to be released as an XBLA title. I was aware that I had missed reviewing the previous version of the game, so I sought the developer out as soon as I could. With some luck, and knowledge on all things 'MTG' I was able to talk the developer into giving me a review code of the game. As I did my playthrough I was honestly impressed how the video game version of 'MTG 2012' was a lot like playing the actual card based game. All the rules were kept intact as well as the beautiful artwork that makes 'MTG' so amazing. This is one of those games that most non-MTG players will overlook, but that is definitely worth having.
5 - Marvel Pinball: Vengeance & Virtue (XBLA): This year I made a friend with the Mel Kirk of Zen Studios. He was kind enough to allow me to review several of his 'Pinball FX2' tables without hesitation. I even ended up getting some satisfactory comments regarding my reviews from Mel. When it comes to Zen Studios pinball games I'm definitely no stranger. Back on the PS3 I used to own all of the 'Zen Pinball' tables, and when I made my transition over to the Xbox 360 I enjoyed 'Pinball FX2' as well. This year I've reviewed both sets of 'Marvel Pinball' tables, but the 'Vengeance & Virtue' set really stood out above the rest. It featured one of my all-time favorite comic book characters, Ghost Rider. Not only did that table seriously impress me, but the Thor, and Moon Knight Table were also done very well. The tables in this set had a different feel to them, and played differently than previous 'Pinball FX2' tables. In fact the Moon Knight table stood out from the rest of the 'Pinball FX2' tables with a design like no other. While I wasn't a fan of of the X-Men table, it still wasn't that bad. I definitely think this Marvel Pinball set is worth adding to your collection if you haven't got it already.
4 - Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike Online Edition: I didn't spend much of my time playing the online edition of 'Street Fighter III' this year, but after spending a little time playing it I honestly think it's worthy of a spot in my 'Top 10'. Often times when a fighting game ports over as a downloadable game it usually isn't done that well. This version of 'Street Fighter III' not only had a polished look, and sound but the core online gameplay played smoothly as long as you played with someone who had a decent connection. The fact that Capcom applied a ranking system, and youtube upload capabilities was icing on the cake. I had missed the parrying system from the original 'Street Fighter III', so I was definitely happy to be able to play it again.
3 - Crimson Alliance: I'm a man who enjoys a good RPG, especially the hack 'n slash type. When I got my review code for 'Crimson Alliance' I was excited, and a little scared since it was my first time reviewing a major RPG title. The developer ended up sending me a message of gratitude when I was through making my effort worth the while. I actually got to play the game with two of my Twitter friends (@CherryRasulka & @Waxxxz018) which allowed me to experience the game the way it was meant to be played, as a multiplayer. I found 'Crimson Alliance' to be a game similar to the newer Gauntlet titles I enjoyed on past consoles. It featured three character classes, each with unique abilities as well as character specific weapons/armor. The game was a hack 'n slash with RPG elements. It had a decent story that unfolded through art panels, and voice acting. It all came together rather nicely making the game worthy of a mention in my 'Top 10 of 2011'. This is a game that is best experienced with friends, and if you don't know anyone who has it you can join others through Xbox Live.
2 - Rock Of Ages: This game totally took me by surprise. Earlier in the year I found a teaser trailer that gave a peek as to what you could expect from the game. When I actually got the game for review, and began my playthrough I was truly amazed at how great it really was. The trailers never really did the game justice, and is probably why it didn't become as popular as it should have. Everything about this game was fun, and beautiful. I had a great time playing through the entire game, and it's multiplayer modes. Rock of Ages was one of the most visually impressive XBLA titles I've seen all year, and the fact that ATLUS was involved only made it sweeter. I honestly think the developer of "Rock of Ages", and ATLUS hit a home run with this title. The only thing standing in it's way of success was that it didn't get the attention it deserved. If you haven't got this game yet you would definitely be wise to do so. ATLUS titles are few, and far between so enjoy them when you can.
1 - Dungeon Defenders: This game rightfully takes the top spot on my list of the 'Top 10 of 2011'. Dungeon Defenders is an awesome game on so many levels. To begin with it's a tower defense plus an RPG. Aside from that the game looks, and plays amazingly. I was actually fortunate enough to get two codes for review purposes this time around, and shared the experience with my friend (@CherryRasulka). Like Crimson Alliance' this game is best played with friends, and I was glad to get the chance to share a game with @CherryRasulka and my fellow reviewer friend @MasterBlud. There are some many details to go over about this game, and it's probably best that you check out my review for yourself if you're interested. I will say that the combination of tower defense, and RPG elements were put together in a way that compliments the overall gameplay quite nicely. The only downfall I found with this game is that most of the DLC, and special events came out only for the STEAM version. I wish the developer would show the Xbox 360 more love when it comes to that.
Well, you have made it to the end of my list. I realize that a lot of reviewers will most likely disagree on some of my choices, but this is my list, and my opinion. I had to sort through over 160 games, and doing so wasn't any easy task. With that being said I think there were a lot of games that deserved an honorable mention. It was hard for me to choose just 10 games since there were so many good titles, but that is what happens when you narrow it down as I have done. You can take my list at face value, or disregard it. It's your choice what you choose to believe, and I won't judge you for that. I would like to take the time to thank all of my friends, followers, readers, fellow reviewers, and developers for supporting my blog this year. Without you I wouldn't have lasted as long as I did. Thanks to all of you! Now for the honorable mentions ...
HONORABLE MENTIONS OF 2011
Astro Cluster (XBLIG)
Bloody Checkers (XBLIG)
Zombie Slaughter Is Fun! (XBLIG)
The Great Paper Adventure (XBLIG)
Angry Zombie Ninja Cats (XBLIG)
Orbitron Revolution (XBLIG)
Stunt Bike Agent Julie (XBLIG)
Sins of the Flesh (XBLIG)
FireFly Vegas (XBLIG)
Decimation X3 (XBLIG)
Score Rush (XBLIG)
Pinball FX2: Ms. Splosion Man (XBLA)
Avatar Fighter Online (XBLIG)
Bejeweled 3 (XBLA)
Chain Crusher (XBLIG)
Colonies: NeoCiv (XBLIG)
Dead Block (XBLA)
Dead Pixels (XBLIG)
Escape Goat (XBLIG)
Game Type (XBLIG)
Moon Cheese (XBLIG)
Parasitus: Ninja Zero (XBLIG)
Take Arms (XBLIG)
Who Is God (XBLIG)
Worms: Ultimate Mayhem (XBLA)
Zombies Ruined My Day (XBLIG)
Castle Miner Z (XBLIG)
Cute Things Dying Violently (XBLIG)
Nano Squad (XBLIG)
Rainbow Runner (XBLIG)
Spartans in Candyland (XBLIG)