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Drop a 'Load on 'Em

When you buy a $60 dollar game at the old brick-and-mortar, what are you paying for exactly? A case, an instruction booklet, and a disc that, in most cases, likely only features a few hours of solid gameplay. While most gamers and large game companies still focus on developing and marketing these big-budget titles and all of their expensive trappings, the advent of downloadable content–which many see as the future of the industry–has really opened the door for new, innovative ideas and tried-and-true content to get to consumers more quickly and with a much more affordable price tag. XLR8R takes a look at some of the best titles out there for download on your favorite consoles.

Xbox 360: Xbox Live
Castle Crashers (The Behemoth/Microsoft)
Up to four players can take on the role of Munny-esque knights out to rescue princesses kidnapped by an evil wizard and his hoard of barbarians… Sure, the story is trite, but that isn’t why Castle Crashers is awesome. This tongue-in-cheek take on old-school side-scrolling adventure games like Streets of Rage and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles mixes comical button-mashing action with a gorgeous cel-shaded look that never wears on the eyes.

Braid (Number None Inc./Microsoft)
Essentially a Mario-style platforming game, each level of Braid revolves around the concepts of time and distance. In pursuit of a princess, your character (an average guy in a suit named Tim) is able to reverse time at any given moment; each level reacts to this ability differently to constantly keep you thinking. While its name seemingly has little to do with its content, Braid’s fresh take on a tired genre–and its thought-provoking ending–makes it one of the most interesting titles in recent memory.

Age of Booty (Certain Affinity/Capcom)
It sounds like a pretty sweet porno, but Age of Booty is actually a strategy title that delves into the realm of high seas adventure! Relying on resources like gold and rum, you must navigate your pirate vessel through a series of hexes, working your way towards coastal towns in an effort to rape and plunder as many of them as possible. Okay, you don’t actually rape anyone in the game. But if recent news has taught us anything, it’s that pirates these days sure have great PR people. Who knows what all they are getting away with, those saucy drunks!

PlayStation 3: PlayStation Network
Fat Princess (Titan Studios)
Perhaps one of the most un-PC titles out there, Fat Princess is also one of the more creatively themed multiplayer titles to date. Essentially a game of “capture the flag,” Fat Princess pits teams of up to 32 players against each other; each team attempts to capture the other team’s princess and bring her back to its own base. Once there, your team must fend off the opposition while feeding the captive princess cakes and pies until she grows so girthy that she becomes near-immovable by the other team. Awesomely insensitive to the big ’uns!

The Last Guy (Sony)
With the amount of games that have focused on the forthcoming zombie apocalypse you would think that the well would have run dry by now. The Last Guy, however, proves that you would be sorely mistaken! As the titular guy, you must traverse over a dozen undead-infested cities around the globe, rendered similarly to Google Earth’s satellite imagery, searching for survivors and tactically guiding them to safety all while brain-munching nasties are in hot pursuit.

Wipeout HD (Sony Liverpool)
As one of the first games released for the original PlayStation back in 1995, the Wipeout series has become synonymous with Sony’s machines ever since. Now Wipeout HD, the futuristic racing series’ first downloadable title for the PS3, offers even more ridiculous speed, amazing control, and a soundtrack from artists like Kraftwerk and Stanton Warriors, setting the high watermark by which all other racers on the platform are measured.

Nintendo Wii: Wii Ware
Strong Bad’s Cool Game for Attractive People(Telltale Games)
This five-part point-and-click game (à la old-school Sierra games), based on the adventures of interweb superstars Strong Bad and Homestar Runner, features oodles of scenarios, characters, and in-jokes from the cartoon and enough pop-culture references and humor for non-fans to get into the ridiculousness as well. Everything from other videogames to Shaft gets the Strong Bad treatment here.

Mega Man 9 (Inti Creates/Capcom)
Of the handful of characters to have survived from the NES days, Mega Man is second only to Mario on the unfuckwithable scale. The developers of Mega Man 9 knew this and proved that a new adventure featuring the Blue Bomber didn’t need all the bells and whistles of current-gen technology. Nay! Mega Man is such a badass that he can be presented in classic retro style–and not only does this game remain relevant but it’s actually more fun to play than most of today’s slickest looking titles.

World of Goo (2D Boy)
Pretty much what it says it is, World of Goo requires you to build all manner of structures, from towers to bridges, out of living gelatinous blobules. You must overcome various obstacles (chasms, cliffs) to reach a pipe at the other end of the level, which, after sucking you in, transports you to the next level. An excellent atmospheric soundtrack and multiplayer add to the sticky fun!

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