2010’s best DLC and downloadable games

Best PC exclusives


We’re all a little too familiar with the RPG formula, but did you ever wonder what it’s like to run an item shop in a world filled with dungeon explorers? That’s Recettear’s clever hook, as you operate a store that caters to average people as well as above-average adventurers, and it’s all about reaching peak profitability. Its slick anime-inspired visuals and cute script make it a surprising and welcome change of pace from what we normally expect from a JRPG.

Puzzle Agent

Telltale Games, when not making CSI games, delivers some of the best episodic gaming there is with series like Sam & Max and Tales of Monkey Island. This year they gave some new series a chance with its “pilot program,” where a new title is given a shot with a one-off episode for download with the possibility of getting a full “season” of episodes. Puzzle Agent was the first to receive this honor, and its distinct humor, visuals, and “Professor Layton plus Twin Peaks if it were sillier” feel left many hoping they haven’t seen the last of this escapade.

Robot Unicorn Attack

To be honest, most the internet is so lousy with Flash games that it’s difficult for any exceptional ones to get noticed. However, even in the relatively strong field of Adult Swim titles, Robot Unicorn Attack shines, literally. As your pretty, robo-unicorn runs on rainbows as fast as it can, leaping over perilous pits to 80s classic Always by Erasure, you can’t help but smile as the tune hits its apex when you get that next burst of star power. Getting a high score is serious business, so even if you aren’t cool enough to appreciate its looks, Robot Unicorn Attack will hook you all the same.

Best multiplatform downloads

Costume Quest

Double Fine makes some of the best games that too few people play, and after the so-so sales of Brutal Legend, the developer decided to give smaller, downloadable games a try. Costume Quest was the first and hopefully the next three DLC games it puts out will be just as witty, cute, and cleverly designed as this one. Taking the classic RPG formula and setting it during Halloween, three adorable trick-or-treaters battle real monsters to save their friend. CQ was a perfect example of what downloadable games can be when a talented developer decides to commit to the format.

Pac-Man Championship Edition DX

The first Pac-Man Championship Edition came out a couple years ago and it shocked me with just how many wonderfully new things Namco could do with its mascot. You’d think the devs would’ve run out of ideas then, but DX took Pac-Man to a whole new place. The neon looks and thumping soundtrack of Championship returned, but this time it was all about getting as many ghosts to chase you as possible, until Pac-Man had a tail of 30 or more behind him. Courting that danger is all worth it when a power pellet appears and you turn around to eat every single ghost while your score explodes. With a multitude of different modes and settings, Pac-Man DX was one of the most rewarding titles all year.

Scott Pilgrim vs the World

Movie games usually suck because the developers don’t understand what fans of the film want, but Ubisoft got Scott Pilgrim exactly right. The film and comic Scott Pilgrim vs the World is brimming with love for old games, with some special affection for old beat-‘em-ups like River City Ransom, and the game follows in RCR’s footsteps perfectly. With awesome sprite-based graphics and a jaw-droppingly good original soundtrack by chip-tine band Anamanaguchi, SPVW seemed to be plucked out of our dreams of what the perfect Scott Pilgrim game would be.

Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light

Many doubted that a twin-stick, co-op based downloadable was the right place to take Lara Croft, so it was a real shock what a fun experience it was. With either one or two players, the sharp graphics supported great gunplay, platforming, and puzzles that kept you hooked the whole time. It was a great way to pass the time until Lara’s real reboot next year, now if only the online co-op didn’t get delayed for months.

Super Meat Boy

I’ve written so many kind words about Meat Boy that there’s little more to say. The best 2D platformer all year? Yup. Incredibly funny? Sure. A great deal for the huge amount of outstanding content you get?  Certainly. Made with love and dedication in every pixel, Super Meat Boy might be one of the toughest games you’ll play all year, but it earns your devotion with every single death. By your 2,000th quick defeat, you’ll only love it more, because when you finally beat a particularly tough level, you know you earned it. Whether on XBLA or PC, it’s one of the best packages all year.


  • anduin1 - January 25, 2011 12:48 a.m.

    Um...all of those "XBLA exclusives" are all on Steam :/ fail less
  • Firenzeta - December 30, 2010 8:42 a.m.

    As RushofBlood17 said, Chime is on PC well ahead of 2011, making it no longer a XBLA exclusive.
  • philipshaw - December 24, 2010 1:14 p.m.

    Great article, downloadable games have had a better year than retail games
  • Fuzunga - December 24, 2010 6:43 a.m.

    How is Bit Trip Runner not on this list?
  • Lionzest7 - December 24, 2010 2:41 a.m.

    honestly, I didn't feel like sonic 4 was a big disappointment... I felt like they tried to make the game like the old ones, but wanted to keep it nostalgic. I felt like it was a decent game, not really disappointing. I don't care that much about the graphics, the fanmade one is better looking. Honestly though I felt like sonic will just never be made into anything acceptable to all. "The Sonic Fan"
  • OHMYGODIMONFIRE - December 24, 2010 2:18 a.m.

    I'm gonna have to disagree on the Dorito's dissing. Crash course is an incredibly fun game, and i know i've spent at least three hours in the one day that i've owned it playing online with friends. I haven't played harm's way, though i have heard good things. Besides, they're both free.
  • oxman89 - December 23, 2010 6:54 p.m.

    Monday night combat! xD thats expected for release on steam in january. It makes me excited because i can have tf2, AND mnc!
  • EricBratcher - December 23, 2010 6:53 p.m.

    Weird - I thought the Sonic games would be the most controversial entry on this list, but it's the Doritos games. Go figure. Incidentally, if anyone is playing the new Fallout: New Vegas DLC Dead Money and wondering why it didn't make the cut, it's because it came out too late. It could very well be excellent.
  • sleepy92ismypsn - December 23, 2010 6:20 p.m.

    Undead Nightmare has so much to offer for only 10 bucks. Personally I don't think Joe Danger is worth $15 so it's a good thing I waited til black friday to buy it half off. For some reason I always though Super Meat Boy was a XBLA exclusive.
  • elilupe - December 23, 2010 5:40 p.m.

    haha I remember when Shamus Young from the Escapist got obsessed with Chiime, and played it so much he got number one on the world leader-boards for a short time!
  • PushesPaperInACircle - December 23, 2010 4:02 p.m.

    I had a lot of more fun with Castlevania: Harmony of Despair than with Scott Pilgrim. Henry should give Crash course another shot because the controls are pretty tight.
  • GR_HenryGilbert - December 23, 2010 3:40 p.m.

    @japstersam Yeah there were a few that hit way too late for me to play and include, notably Enslaved: Pigsy's Perfect 10 and BFBC2: Vietnam. Plus Dead Rising 2: Case West has the audacity to launch next week, taunting me with further incompleteness. Also you guys are right, Chime stopped being an exclusive a few months ago. It's way too late for such a major edit, but how about we all use our imaginations and mentally move Chime to the multiplatform section and then fill its 360-exclusive slot with Toy Soldiers or Risk: Factions, whichever you prefer.
  • gilgamesh310 - December 23, 2010 3:23 p.m.

    Why would Dead Space Ignition be there if this is a list of 2010's BEST dlc and games?
  • DirkSteele1 - December 23, 2010 11:32 a.m.

    I find it hard to criticise any game that has a price tag of 0MSP/£0, even if I have to put up with advertising for salty snacks. Both Doritos games were mildly amusing diversions. And I achieved 200G on both. Crash Course multiplayer with friends on line was a good laugh. Scott Pilgrim and Snoopy Flying Ace would be my DLC games of the year (based on hours played). And Limbo of course was excellent. Sonic 4 was the biggest disappointment. Please Sega, just give us what we want!
  • japstersam - December 23, 2010 9:30 a.m.

    probably a bit late for this article, but BFBC2 Vietnam is a sweet add-on! also, like a few people have said, the achievements in harm's way took less than 10 minutes, probably the easiest 200 this side of avatar :D but yes the ones in crash course were awful, the game was a good laugh but just not fun enough to try and nail gold on every level! also although i don't play it, all my friends seem to think cataclysm is a great add-on.
  • veryweirdguy - December 23, 2010 8:48 a.m.

    @jmcgrotty seems a bit extreme. Care to expand...? I've found more enjoyment this year from downloadable titles that retail releases, for sure.
  • jmcgrotty - December 23, 2010 8:30 a.m.

    This article is an embarrassment. Downloadable games/content are the cancer of the industry, and making a list like this seems like you are trying to legitimize the process.
  • AA95mp - December 23, 2010 8:17 a.m.

    Sam and Max should have been on here
  • mattchew86 - December 23, 2010 7:45 a.m.

    Stupid me splurged for the DX addition for Sonic Adventure. If I would have known how completely useless it was, I would've used that $5 to get a pack of smokes.
  • Limbo - December 23, 2010 7:07 a.m.

    Super Meat Boy is probably the most addicting game I've played in a while. I actually just played the demo and accidentally ended up buying it. At first I was super mad at myself because I just wasted all my points, but then I played it some more and I can't stop. Slowly on my way to 100%ing the damn thing. Oh yea and Limbo is amazing.

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