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The Essential Video Games of 2012

#9 Sound Shapes

#9 Sound Shapes

Equal parts instrument and game, Sound Shapes gives everyone the ability to make music. Play through a unique campaign that fuses music and artwork into a classic 2D platformer, featuring artwork by Pixeljam, Capy, Superbrothers and more, with music by I Am Robot and Proud, Jim Guthrie and Deadmau5.

Create your own unique musical levels with all of the campaign content and share with the world. Sound Shapes creates an ever-changing musical community for everyone to enjoy at home or on the go.

#8 Trials Evolution

#8 Trials Evolution

Red Lynx topped their impressive debut of Trials HD in nearly every way with this year’s release of Trials Evolution. This physics based racer will have players testing their hand eye coordination in navigating some of the most challenging courses in the series.

While Red Lynx made this dirt bike riding gameplay popular with Trials HD, they’ve included some meaningful additions in Evolution with a robust track editing tools suite, and online racing via Xbox Live.

For 1200 Microsoft Points there probably wasn’t a better gameplay for dollar value in 2012.

#7 ZombiU

#7 ZombiU

Fans of the survival horror genre haven’t had much to be excited about in recent years. With even the most familiar franchises abandoning the genre for the greener sales pastures of more action oriented experiences.

So what does Ubisoft do? They release a zombie themed title that is probably the purest survival horror title that a console has seen in a long time, while tailoring the game exclusively for the Wii U GamePad.

For survival horror fans, ZombiU is a dream come true. Scavenging for supplies in a zombie infested London, while utilizing the GamePad for immersing and innovative gameplay, makes ZombiU the first must have “core” title for Nintendo’s next-gen console.

#6 XCOM: Enemy Unknown

#6 XCOM:Enemy Unknown

When developers are looking to pay homage to yesteryear’s classic PC titles, they should take note of Firaxis Games’ XCOM: Enemy Unknown. Not only does this strategy title stay faithful to the game’s roots, it brings some of these classic systems up to speed with all the trimmings of modern day game development.

For strategy fans, XCOM: Enemy Unknown is nothing short of amazing. The pace of turn-based combat isn’t for everyone though, and complexities of some of the systems that are invovled with saving the world from an alien invasion can be overwhelming at times.

The sheer amount of customization and personalization that you can add to XCOM units gives each and every attempt at saving the world a personal feel, that you just don’t see in other games of this type.

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