Little Big Planet 2
Alright, it takes about 30 seconds of gameplay before you realize that this title's out there — way out there. In this day and age, the side-scrolling genre has become a distant memory, reminding us of great games that kick-started the industry.
LBP:2 introduces a wonderfully original way to combine the simplicity of a side-scroller with contemporary graphics. Starting off slow (as most games do), you run left and right to solve puzzles, which require thought, and get increasingly difficult. The control scheme is simple and the game flows beautifully.
In single-player mode there's an increasingly large world of stages for you to clear, each requiring more thought and perhaps introducing a new technique to use for clearing obstacles.
Here's one of my favorite upgrades to the genre: The checkpoint system allows you to restart in the area that gave you trouble, so there's no more of that die-and-restart-the-stage crap. And every so often — and between stages — you get the option to play mini-games, which test your reaction time and ability to think through a simple puzzle quickly. (I really don't know why, but it sure is neat.) Little Big Planet 2 deserves a spot with the rest of the games that shaped history.