9 games for leaderboard lovers
You don’t want to cycle into Trials Fusion unprepared, here are nine games to get you into the score-chasing spirit before the frustration sets in.
Local multiplayer had a bit of a death in the last generation, but that didn’t stop Bizarre Creations from creating one of the best pass-the-controller multiplayer experiences we’ve encountered on Xbox. Inspiring the sort of “just more try” arguments that cause rooms of people to sit up into the early hours and surprisingly simple to get into, Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2 became one of the XBLA greats through its twitchy twin-stick controls, pumping trance soundtrack, and addictive gameplay.
Pac-Man is approaching his 35th birthday; that’s a legacy built on popping pills and forcibly exorcising ghosts – not necessarily starring in fun games. But all that changed in 2007 when Namco Bandai unleashed Championship Edition. A masterclass in addictive pick-up-and-play design, and great for inspiring unhealthy levels of leaderboard competition, everybody can get involved with. After all, who hasn’t played Pac-Man? It’s a lightning fast, instantly engaging iteration of the core Pac-Man experience.
Half a decade away gave EA plenty of time to do something interesting with its flagging SSX franchise. Eschewing traditional multiplayer, SSX introduced Global Events that were built to drag the score chaser in our soul out. Constantly updating challenges, open to worldwide racers (or refined to your friends list), made every second of SSX into an attempt to set a fastest lap, high score or unbeatable trick combo. It introduced a wildly competitive edge to the series, but let you compete on your own schedule – a next-gen Tony Hawks is simply begging for SSX’s online infrastructure.
This oft-overlooked shooter from Bizarre Creations inspired its fair share of leaderboard battles in its time, despite never hitting big with the wider Xbox Live community. Marrying a need for speed born out of Project Gotham Racing with frantic third-person action, The Club demanded players set aside any semblance of restraint and take a run-and-gun approach through tight corridor firefights. Released in an era when tactical shooters ruled the roost, The Club never quite garnered the popularity it deserved, though the addictive racing-shooter hybrid leant itself perfectly for sessions of score-chasing bloodlust.
Ok, so you probably wouldn’t consider FIFA to be big on score chasing – it’s a game of cautious attack, defence and two footed tackles. That said, Microsoft bundling a copy of FIFA 14 in with every Day One edition Xbox One made the Skill Game leaderboards really light-up with competition. Masking the loading times, you’ll find skill games designed to help players get to grips with various advanced mechanics. We’ve left Arsenal waiting to play a Champions League final for hours as we attempted a leaderboard toppling Dribbling Gold run. We failed, and the Gunners later went on to lose 2-0 to Everton.
Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit may have introduced Criterion’s Autolog system, but it was Rivals that refined the system into the obsession-inducing behemoth it is today. Taking everything the player does while connected to Live and posting it to the Speed Wall for local and global leaderboards, it’s impossible to escape the allure of beating a friends lap time when it’s constantly staring you in the face. This, combined with AllDrive – blurring the lines between single and multiplayer – makes it essential for score-chasing fanatics on Xbox 360.
We’re pinpointing Modern Warfare 2 here, but really this goes for every Call Of Duty game released on 360 since Infinity Ward first took the franchise into modern conflict. Every multiplayer round of Call Of Duty is score-chasing marathon, with players left desperately killing noobs, obtaining and activating killstreaks and taking objectives to bolster their score. It’s a race to the top by any means necessary with Tactical Nuke the ultimate goal – achieved by 25 kills in a row – wiping every player from the map and ending the game.
We’d be remiss not to include People Can Fly’s kick-ass Bulletstorm in a list recommending games to score-chase. It’s purpose-built to reward you for showboating in the slaughter of all things that look at you funny. Unlike many score attack shooters, Bulletstorm really is all about considered bombast, letting you kill with style at your own pace. The crazier you get when utilising the weapons and environment at hand, the bigger the reward – and when you’ve got an electric whip at your disposal, it doesn’t take much encouragement to start going for crazy combos.
You know what, we hate Super Meat Boy. We want to mince up Meat Boy’s stupid squishy meat face and feed him to the obnoxious players on our friends list who wear its full 200Gs on their profile like a meaty badge of honour. Super Meat Boy gave us blisters, bloodied fingers and bouts of rage unlike anything we’ve experienced before – it’s a punishing, threatening assault on sanity – but god damn is it good. With incredibly tight gameplay, chasing bandages and Dark World completion was a rite of passage back in 2010 that we’ve never quite recovered from, but we’d certainly do it all over again.