7 oft-forgotten Xbox Live Arcade games

The Xbox 360 and its library of Xbox Live Arcade downloadable games occupy a weird place in gaming history right now. A lot of people aren’t quite ready to consider the Xbox 360 “retro” despite it being two generations old — and at least part of this is down to the fact that a decent number of Xbox 360 games still work on the Xbox One and Xbox Series consoles.

But Xbox Live Arcade in particular is at risk of falling into obscurity as time goes on — and that’s a real shame, as there are some fantastic downloadable titles among the library. Sadly, not all of them are available any more — and not all of them work on the more recent Xbox models — but if you have the opportunity to play them, it’s worth taking the time to do so.

So with that in mind, here’s seven top picks from the Xbox Live Arcade back catalogue that are still worth your time today. In no particular order…

E4: Every Extend Extra Extreme

Xbox Live Arcade: E4

Building significantly on the previous versions of this excellent combination of puzzle game and shoot ’em up, Every Extend Extra Extreme is a delightfully hypnotic experience in which you blow yourself up in time with the music in the hope of triggering enormous (and enormously satisfying) chain reactions of explosions.

Featuring a really pleasing “digital LCD” aesthetic combined with some throbbing music that responds to the gameplay, Every Extend Extra Extreme is an oft-forgotten part of Q Entertainment’s back catalogue — and one of the best Xbox Live Arcade games out there.

Get it here. Works on Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S.

Outpost Kaloki X

Xbox Live Arcade: Outpost Kaloki X

One of the earlier Xbox Live Arcade releases, Outpost Kaloki X is a combination of management sim and time management game that challenges you to make various space stations profitable under a series of increasingly unreasonable circumstances. It’s easy to pick up but tricky to master — and the whole thing is infused with a pleasing sense of gentle humour that never feels like it’s trying too hard.

Back when it originally released, Outpost Kaloki X was proof that Xbox Live Arcade was a good place for indie developers to put out more experimental titles — as well as showing that despite the name, Xbox Live Arcade didn’t just need to be about “arcade” games.

Get it here. Works on Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S.

Puzzle Arcade

Xbox Live Arcade: Puzzle Arcade

This chilled-out jigsaw puzzler is one of the best value games on Xbox Live Arcade thanks to its wealth of puzzles and variety of ways to play. If you enjoy working on jigsaws in a traditional way, you can do just that — or if you’d rather add a touch of arcadey spice to proceedings, you can play the “Turbo” mode, which is more about spotting the right slots to drop pieces into as quickly as possible.

It might not look like much, but let Puzzle Arcade get its hooks into you and you’ll be surprised quite how long it will hold your attention. Bring a friend and play together — or use your Xbox Live Vision Camera to make puzzles out of your own photos. Yes, even your junk if you so desire. But you’re better than that, aren’t you?

Get it here. Xbox 360 only.

Perfect Dark

Xbox Live Arcade: Perfect Dark

Perfect Dark is, quite understandably, primarily associated with its original host platform, the Nintendo 64. But the Xbox 360 conversion is absolutely excellent; it maintains the distinctive look and feel of the original but sharpens it up a bit and makes it run considerably more smoothly. The result is a highly entertaining first-person shooter that plays quite unlike any of today’s entries in that genre.

There’s a substantial single-player story to explore and a fully customisable multiplayer mode, which can be played split-screen locally or against bots. And for one of the most interesting experiences in multiplayer first-person shooters, try the “Counter-Operative” mode, where one player is the protagonist and the other takes control of various enemies throughout the level.

Get it here. Works on Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S.

Centipede & Millipede

Xbox Live Arcade: Centipede and Millipede

The quivering, mauled carcass that is Atari has attempted to “reboot” its classic properties numerous times over the years — and their various Xbox Live Arcade games are some of the best ones, since they leave the core gameplay of the original completely intact and simply update the graphics and sound.

Centipede & Millipede is a double pack that is one of the best examples of this approach. You can play both games either in their classic, arcade-perfect form, or with the thumping bass and excessive particle effects of their “Evolved” editions; either way is, as always, a delight.

Get it here. Works on Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S.

Rocket Riot

Xbox Live Arcade: Rocket Riot

This delightful voxel-based competitive shooter is a ton of fun, whether you’re playing through the extremely challenging single-player campaign or taking on friends in simultaneous multiplayer. With destructible scenery, customisable characters and a variety of ways to play, this one really is a riot.

It also has a really, really catchy theme song that you’ll almost certainly be singing to yourself for quite some time after playing. Enjoy that!

Get it here. Xbox 360 only.

Jetpac Refuelled

Xbox Live Arcade: Jetpac Refuelled

This reboot of one of Rare’s earliest games — from back when they were called Ultimate Play The Game — is a joy to play, and like Atari’s Centipede & Millipede reboot, allows you to play either in authentic retro-vision or with modern HD graphical effects and high-quality sounds.

Jetpac is a simple but enormously addictive arcade-style game, and Jetpac Refuelled doesn’t mess with the formula too much — its modernise mode does add quite a bit more variety in terms of level and enemy design though, making it a lot of fun for fans of the original.

Get it here. Works on Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S.

Honorable mention: Diner Dash

Xbox Live Arcade: Diner Dash

This one is no longer available for purchase online, sadly, but it’s still great fun today if you happen to still have it loaded onto your old Xbox 360! One of the world’s great time management games, Diner Dash challenges you to keep your patrons happy in a busy restaurant while attempting to score as many points as possible by chaining actions together.

The Xbox 360 version built on the earlier PC and mobile versions of the game by featuring cute cel-shaded 3D visuals rather than 2D artwork, and the game as a whole worked really well — it’s a genuine shame you can’t get it any more.

What are your top picks from Xbox Live Arcade? Let us know down in the comments!

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