Burnout Crash was developed by Criterion Games and published by EA. It was released September 21, 2011 for 800 MSP. A copy of the game was provided for review purposes.
Crashing cars has always been the appeal and the overall point of the Burnout series. Up until the last installment in the series, Burnout Paradise, Crash mode had been a staple that rivaled the the core racing game in popularity. Believe it or not, six years have passed since Criterion’s puzzle-like mode has seen a release of any kind. The wait has been far too long.
In Burnout Crash, the series is taken to new levels of absurdity as players wreak havoc in Crash City; a city with locations as diverse as those at a movie studio and more natural disasters than a town in Sim City. The game consists of 18 intersections ready to be deconstructed in 3 game modes. Each revolves around the concept of driving a car into a busy intersection and using a recharging explosive blast, known as a Crashbreaker, to how much damage can be done under a given mode’s conditions. How does Crash hold up in it’s solo debut?
Renegade Ops was developed by Avalanche Studios and published by SEGA. It was released on September 14, 2011 and retails for 1200 MSP. A copy of the game was provided for review purposes.
Avalanche Studios have quickly become known for over the top action, the Just Cause games allowing players to perform the craziest action movie stunts. Who hasn’t wanted to ride a motorbike off a cliff, open a parachute and glide to safety? No one, exactly. With Renegade Ops Avalanche have brought their brand of over the top action to Xbox Live Arcade in the form of a twin stick shooter. Admittedly it’s not quite as extreme as Just Cause but it easily manages to be just as fun.
You play one of four members of the Renegade Squad, a group setup by the disillusioned General Bryant to bring down the maniacal supervillian Inferno. Each character has a unique special ability to go with their personal vehicle, all of which are equipped with a roof mounted machine gun. Armand has an APC with a shield ability which brings down tough armor plating making him impervious to enemy fire. Diz drives an armored truck which comes with an EMP that can disable enemy weapons. Roxy rides in an especially bouncy buggy and can call down a devastating air strike. Gunnar jumps around in a jeep which has a heavy gun that inflicts way more damage than his regular machine gun, he can’t move while using it though.
Red Bull X-Fighters was developed by Xendex and published by Konami Digital Entertainment, it was released on September 14, 2011 for 800 MSP. A copy of the game was provided for review purposes.
Red Bull X-Fighters is the game iteration of an international freestyle Motocross competition. This action packed release comes with high flying action, spread across several major world events. Each stop on the tour is a new location. Pitted against time and score you must pull off jaw dropping stunts in order to stand out and be number one. Immediately reminding you of Trials HD when you first see it, and having a very similar feel, is it enough to set this highly overlooked genre back on the radar?
Leedmees was developed and published by Konami. It was released on September 7, 2011 and retails for 800 MSP. A copy of the game was provided for review purposes.
Leedmees is the third game in a string of Xbox Live Arcade releases to utilize the Kinect sensor and given the lack of quality Kinect titles warranting a full release, this looks to be a good move by Microsoft. Developed by Konami, Leedmees is a puzzle game in which you take on the role of a giant who must help tiny creatures called Leedmees on to safety by using your body to form a bridge and avoiding deadly obstacles such as spikes, ghosts and beach balls.
SkyDrift was developed by Digital Reality and published by Namco Bandai. It was released September 7, 2011 for 1200 MSP. A copy of the game was provided for review purposes.
Any fan of arcade racing games loves the Mario Kart series, and any fan of Mario Kart knows and loves Diddy Kong Racing as well. It introduces planes into the racing combat genre, something that more experienced players fell in love with. Others tried to take plane combat to new levels: in 1998 Inner Workings released Plane Crazy, a visually realistic take on the genre. Unfortunately nothing ever met with DKR‘s level of success–that is until now. SkyDrift is the perfect combination of Diddy Kong Racing‘s combat system, Plane Crazy‘s realistic art style and visuals on par with Hydro Thunder Hurricane. It’s beautiful, action packed, and frankly a complete blast.
BloodRayne Betrayal was developed by Wayforward Technologies and published by Majesco Entertainment. It was released on September 7, 2011 and retails for 1200 MSP. A copy of the game was provided for review purposes.
You may not have heard of BloodRayne before so let us fill you in. The BloodRayne series consisted of a pair of fairly average action games on the last generation of consoles. There were also a pair of incredibly bad movies, helmed by noted video game movie-murderer Uwe Boll. BloodRayne gained at least a little attention for it’s somewhat unique premise of a sexy half vampire fighting nazis using her arm mounted blades. As the name implies, there was also a lot of blood.
So it came as a surprise when it was announced WayForward were working on a new BloodRayne game for Xbox Live Arcade. BloodRayne was known for it’s over the top violence and scantily clad protagonist Rayne. WayForward’s last notable console game was A Boy and His Blob, a game which was downright adorable, to the extent that it had a button just for hugging! It didn’t seem like a particularly good match, but once we saw some trailers of the game and got a glimpse of the art style and animation we were left wondering. Now we’ve played through BloodRayne Betrayal, we are still left wondering…
Ugly Americans: Apocalypsegeddon was developed by Backbone Entertainment and co-published by 345 Games and Comedy Central. It was released on August 31, 2011 for 800 MSP. A copy provided for review purposes.
Ugly Americans: Apocalypsegeddon is based off of the hit series on Comedy Central, Ugly Americans, where they seemingly take every horrific devil spawn, mythical creature and odd ball and let them all coincide in New York City. The game is based around this concept; the idea is that the devils daughter is getting married, which is going to cause the end of days. It’s now your job as a member of the Department of Integration (D.O.I.) to stop this marriage and the impending doom of the world before it’s too late. You will join Mark, Callie, Leonard and Frank in this twin-stick adventure across New York to battle demons, man-birds and the devils daughter herself.
Crimson Alliance was developed by Certain Affinity and published by Microsoft Studios. It was released on September 7, 2011. The game is a free download, but characters must be purchased. One character costs 800 MSP, while all three can be purchased for 1200 MSP. A copy of the game was provided for review purposes.
Isometric cameras come with a whole myriad of expectations and memories for many gamers. Most jump straight to Gauntlet, the quintessential isometric beat stuff up game. Well Crimson Alliance is no Gauntlet. Granted, those enjoying the first minutes of their virgin voyage into this game will call blasphemy, but by the end of the first level the differences will be very clear. Crimson Alliance can, however, play like Gauntlet if allowed to, but it would take a lot of effort to ignore the awesome aspects of Crimson Alliance that make it such a different game.
Crimson Alliance has a slight flair for the retro in that it is very, very much about score. There is a story, and there are characters, but the real meat is in the mechanics; Crimson Alliance thrives on good gameplay. The game has three classes, Direwolf the Wizard, Moonshade the Assassin, and Gnox the Mercenary. Each class has its role, especially when it comes to co-op, but each has its offensive and defensive capabilities, none of them rely on each other necessarily, though they can assist each other. Each class’s ability to deal with the decent variety of enemies in Crimson Alliance varies greatly, so the game will play very differently based on which class is being used, and which skills of the class are being focused on. While it’s an action-RPG, Crimson Alliance isn’t so RPG-heavy, the stats are simple and easy to manage as they’re based off of the equipment and there aren’t too many permutations of skills. It’s easy to jump into, it’s easy to understand, but mastery is a different story. Living through a level of Crimson Alliance is pretty easy for the most part, but the multiplier mechanic used to get awesome scores is what really sends this game above and beyond. Every kill, every combo, every streak adds to the multiplier, but one hit, just one, will send the multiplier down one whole notch (it maxes out at 8). That whole mechanic is what Crimson Alliance hinges on and is why people that love to top leaderboards will be all over this game.
Rock of Ages was developed by ACE Team and published by Atlus. It retails for 800 MSP. A copy of the game was provided for review purposes.
Rock of Ages is quite possibly the oddest game we’ve played on XBLA. It is an eclectic mixture of tower defense and Marble Blast Ultra. You travel through different eras of time challenging historical figures to a strange game of protect the castle. You’ll meet daunting characters like Vlad the Impaler that want nothing more than to push your face-of-a-rock off the cliff to weaken its ability to damage his castle gate, all while being treated to a Renaissance style of music that is one of the game’s best features.
Players who are familiar with tower defense games will feel right at home. You place defensive units up and down the narrow path to your castle wall in an attempt to thwart your challenger’s rock from reaching top speed to crash into your castle’s gate. In almost all instances, three consecutive dashes on you or your challenger’s gate will bring it down revealing a paper-like historical figure ready to be run over–so speed as well as proper defense are equally important.
If this setup sounds quirky that’s because it is. Not only is your rock anthropomorphic but it occasionally yells in terror when it falls of a cliff, which will happen often because a finite number of elephants, cows, catapults, towers, explosives and other obstacles will obstruct your path to the castle gate.
The Baconing was developed by Hothead Games and published by Valcon Games. It retails for 1200 MSP. A copy of the game was provided for review purposes.
The Baconing is the third installment in the DeathSpank series. Why it isn’t simply called DeathSpank 3 is a mystery but with a game this over the top it only seems appropriate. This game has the hero DeathSpank seeking to destroy the Thongs of Virtue by burning them in bacon fire. This mission will branch of into countless other directions as the citizens of the world give DeathSpank other quests to do as well. Those familiar with the series know about the over the top humor of the game and frantic combat of the game. But is this installment enough to win over the uninitiated?