Best of the rest: Ross' picks

Lumines Live! (XBLA)
On a big screen with surround sound, Q Entertainment's Lumines Live was easily the most-played game in my library (if you stretch the definition of library to digitally distributed titles). Although I railed against how microtransactions were implemented in this title and still think the extent to which they disclosed the dearth of features was misleading, both the Basic and Advanced Pack got more than enough play time, as did the multiplayer. It is the best Xbox Live Arcade title since Geometry Wars.

Big Brain Academy / Brain Age (DS)
Curse you, Dr. Kawashima, for making intelligence-building a competition, and a wag of my finger to only letting me test once a day. Big Brain Academy held my interest longer, as I could retest over and over again to my heart's content, constantly going for the high score.

You Don't Know Jack! Online
I've missed the You Don't Know Jack series, and these daily Dis or Dats have given me another way (Text Twist notwithstanding) to waste time when I wake up. The added bonus of the format is that the Dis or Dats feel somewhat topical. Now how about a Jack Attack, some multiplayer, and a full-fledged release?

Dead Rising (Xbox 360)
Having been fortunate enough to play the game on HDTV, the tiny text didn't bother me. Nor did the oft-discussed save system, which I actually enjoyed. The game was fun, and the enjoyment only increased the further I got into the game. It's sandbox with a purpose, and a plot as campy as most zombie flicks. Besides, how often can you play an entire game wearing a teddy bear mask? Despite Dead Rising's numerous flaws, the full package is well worth the price of admission -- if you're gaming in High Definition, that is. And if you're still hesitant to pick up the full game, you can thoroughly enjoy the demo for free.

Rayman Raving Rabbids (Wii)
Michel Ancel's Wii launch title wavered between here and my list of disappointments. I love those adorable, psychopathic hares and do think they fit perfectly in a collection of minigames. However, the quality of the minigames was inconsistent and the multiplayer aspect was implemented poorly. Had more time been spent perfecting what worked (the shooting gallery, the disco dancing) and less on throwing in ideas for the sake of variety (e.g., "Bunnies don't like open bathroom doors"), the game would have been a top contender. In the end, the amount of good games outweighed the bad; we hope this isn't the last we see of the rabbids.

Honorable mentionss go to Bookworm Adventures (PC), Chibi Robo (GameCube), Cooking Mama (DS), Rockstar Table Tennis (Xbox 360) and the Burger King Games (Xbox)


  • The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (Xbox 360) - So you're telling me that I spent 80 hours on one character, only to lose it all because of a glitch? Having this scenario happen to me on more than one occasion, for more than a few bugs, ultimately made me despise this game. (PC users would have much less of a fuss since the mod community could help to ad hoc fix all issues.) Let's hope their Quality Testers are up to par before they screw up my beloved Fallout series.

  • Tetris DS (DS, duh) - The multiplayer was fun but a tad limited, and the other additions weren't as fleshed out as I'd have liked. The first time you play standard Tetris and "beat" it via destroying 200 lines caused a vein of anger to sprout from my forehead. (To be fair, after "beating" standard Tetris you are given the option to play "endless" mode.)

  • GRAW (Xbox 360) - Clunky controls and bad AI aside, how aggravating is it that these super soldier can't seem to climb pebbles on some multiplayer maps?

See also: Joystiq's Game of the Year