From Dust was developed by Ubisoft Montpellier and will be released for XBLA on July 26, 2011 for 1200 Microsoft Points. The game is part of Microsoft’s Summer of Arcade promotion. A copy was provided for review purposes.
From Dust is the geo-centric strategy/god game brainchild of storied game designer Éric Chahi. It marks Chahi’s long-awaited return to the industry and—perhaps more importantly—helps fill the gaping void in quality strategy games for downloadable platforms.
Lootfest was developed by GameFarm Studios. It was release July 4, 2011 and retails for 80 MSP.
Lootfest is a stripped down indie version of 3D Dot Heroes. This is in no way a bad thing. The look both emulates its hero and has a unique tone. The gameplay is fun. The story is as simple as can be: the land has been taken over by three bosses and you must defeat them to set the land free. Your trusty sword and bow are the only weapons needed. Everything about this game is designed to be immediately accessible the first time you sit down on the couch.
Bastion was developed by Supergiant Games and published by WB Games. It will be released on July 20, 2011 for 1200 MSP. A copy was provided for review purposes.
Bastion is kicking off the Microsoft’s Summer of Arcade on July 20, 2011. This game, the first developed by Supergiant Games, puts you in control of the kid as you make your way through the demolished landscape of the once flourishing city of Caelondia. The Calamity ripped the world apart, and the Bastion is all that’s left. The narrator tells the story of the kid as he works to gather the cores, place them into the monument, and bring more power back to the Bastion. So, is the Bastion worth re-building? Is the tale of the kid worth seeing? Is this the story worth be told?
Boulder Dash XL was developed Catnip Games and published by Kalypso Media. It was released July 13, 2011 and retails for 800 MSP. A copy of the game was supplied for review purposes.
If the media has taught us anything recently it’s that mining is a difficult and dangerous job. Fortunately Boulder Dash XL gives us a happy look into the future were mining is done by cute little robots. Robots Rockford and Crystal fearlessly dash into any mining situation to collect as many diamonds as possible and escape before time runs out.
The whole goal of the game is to collect the loot and get out. The game progresses on stage by stage basis with over 140 levels to choose from. The action is fast and difficult at times, but it is great old school fun as well. And to add to that old school fun is a retro mode, complete with classic graphics.
Shield the Beat was developed by MBrio and was released on the XBLIG marketplace on April 4, 2011. It originally retailed for 400 MSP. The price has since been dropped to 240 MSP. A copy of the game was provided for review purposes.
Some would argue that rhythm-based games are no longer fun, and for the most part they’d be right. The Guitar Hero series has gone stale and luckily fizzled out, Rock Band 3 — as great as it is — can only have so many good songs each week as DLC — and games like Parappa the Rapper have long since been thrown in the bargain bin at your local used game store.
But there’s something about Xbox Live Indie Games that bring a fresh take on tired genres. Shield the Beat does just that. It requires no plastic guitars, but instead prefers a set of thumbs that spend their time playing dual stick shooters. The premise is simple: the on-board computer is trying all sorts of crazy maneouvers to evade four enemy ships while it prepares for a hyperspace jump. You control the ships defenses. In addition to overall shields your fighter is equipped with large red and blue defensive spheres. Catch enemy fire in them to keep the main shields from failing. The barrage is all set in time to an electric soundtrack that makes it an absolute blast to play.
Warhammer 40,000: Kill Team is an action-shooter that takes place in the Warhammer universe. Your objective is to board and halt an Ork Kroozer from reaching Imperial Forge World. Along the way, you’ll be fighting various enemies along with destroying many vital sections of the Kroozer. At only five levels, the game may seem short at first. But the replay value shines bright in the character select screen. That along with great pacing and an excellent upgrade system make Warhammer 40,000: Kill Team stand out in a way that not many Xbox Live Arcade action games have done before.
As a side bonus for fans of the franchise, purchasing this game unlocks an exclusive Power Sword weapon to use in the upcoming game: Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine.
Dead Block was developed by Candygun Games. It was released on July 6, 2011 and retails for 800MSP. A copy of the game was provided for review purposes.
Dead Block is one of the rare games that truly defies a proper description. It has a lot of familiar gameplay elements put together in a truly unique way. Zombies and Rock n’ Roll are the two main themes of this game. It is set in the 1950’s and the new genre of Rock n’ Roll has somehow raised the dead back to life. Huh, guess all those preachers were right. Rock n’ Roll really is of the Devil.
You take control of three survivors who each have a different set of skills. The idea is to rummage through whatever building you are in and find enough resources to hold off the zombies until you can find the key or piece of equipment you need. This is where the game gets weird. To finish a level you need to find a guitar and amp and play rock music to defeat all of the zombies.
Fluffy Operation Overkill was developed by So SO Dev Games and released on June 22, 2011 for 240 Microsoft Points. A copy was provided by the developer for review purposes.
As gamers, we often feel desensitized to violence — something politicians in Washington like to mention when introducing legislation aimed at our favorite past time — but if they played a game like Fluffy Operation Overkill and benefited from its offering of stress release in digital form, only then would they begin to appreciate an industry not defined by violence but free enough to include it.
The premise is simple: an unnamed disease has devastated the peaceful tendencies of your neighborly animal folk, including yourself it seems (if harnessing a rapid-fire machine gun is any indication), contributing to their blood lust and an unabashed hatred for you (a squirrel, a beaver, a squirrel-beaver?), and you’re stuck having to defend yourself against them. Controls are that of a traditional side scrolling shooter. A to jump, X to shoot, right trigger to kick nasty animals off your body before they eat you alive, that kind of thing.
MLB Bobblehead Pros was developed by Power Pros Production and published by Konami. It was released on July 6, 2011 for 800 MSP.
Not many MLB games are on Xbox Live Arcade, with only one being currently available, MLB Stickball. MLB Bobblehead Pros tries to add drollery to baseball, but unfortunately falls short of being even a little humorous. With lackluster gameplay, creepy player models and features being locked up as future DLC, MLB Bobblehead Pros is a poor attempt at making an arcade baseball game.
Deadliest Warrior: Legends was developed by Pipeworks and published by 345 Games / Spike Games. It was released on July 6, 2011 for 800 MSP. A copy was provided for review purposes.
Deadliest Warrior: Legends takes all the data from the famous Spike TV show and puts it into motion at your fingertips. In this new brutal installment, we get a handful of new characters, all with their own set of armor and weapons. Throw in a completely new game mode, some unlockables and a fighting style all its own and you’re ready for a bloody date with history.