Ms. Splosion Man was developed by Twisted Pixel and published by Microsoft Game Studios. It was released July 13, 2011 for 800 MSP. A copy of the game was provided for review purposes.
Putting a bow on the main character and changing the gender is a strategy that hasn’t been used since Ms. Pac-Man; but Ms. Splosion Man is so much more than a female character with bow in the same old game. It’s a continuation of the story with new gameplay mechanics, and it works brilliantly.
The game begins as the original game’s protagonist Splosion Man is captured by Big Science staff. During the celebration the scientists accidentally create a female version of the imprisoned hero. She’s much more than a clone, however. She encounters plenty of challenges, toys, and villians not seen by her male counterpart. Sploding and wreaking havoc have never been so much fun, and that’s saying something. It’s an improvement on the original in every way possible.
Galaga Legions DX was developed and published by Namco Bandai. It was released June 29, 2011 for 800 MSP.
Namco Bandai has been giving the retro classics a new makeover with the Pac-Man series in Pac-Man Championship Edition and the Galaga series with Galaga Legions. While Pac-Man CE DX came out last year to huge love, Galaga Legions DX is the next in the Namco Generations line. The basic game is shooting ships while avoiding the wave of bullets sure to come your way. Does it retain the retro charm or does it fizzle up in the dust of the past?
Backbreaker: Vengeance was developed by NaturalMotion Games and published by 505 Games. It was released on June 29, 2011 for 1200 MSP. A copy of the game was provided for review purposes.
Backbreaker: Vengeance is a spin off from last year’s retail release that emphasizes on the mini game aspect. You have three modes to choose from: Tackle Alley, where you run the ball through an obstacle course; Vengeance, where you are the defender trying to stop the runner from scoring; and Supremacy, which pits you against three other ball runners to be the highest scorer. Once you pick your player, it is time to run through these different gauntlets racking up the most points possible by stringing together score pick-ups and special moves like jukes and spins on your run to the end zone.
Lucha Fury was developed by Punchers Impact and published by Coktel. It was released June 22, 2011 for 800 MSP. A copy was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
Luchadors are somewhat of an enigma. Like the North American’s WWE they compete in major league wrestling mainly in Mexico and other South/Central American countries. However in Lucha Libre wrestlers conceal their identity behind a mask, making them in essence possibly anyone in the world. Lucha Fury plays on that culture, pitting four masked luchadors against insurmountable odds. The game is very Final Fight meets Nacho Libre with some amazing artwork and bright colors. It’s a beautiful setting that works really well with the game’s slapstick humor.
Half-Minute Hero: Super Mega Neo Climax was developed by Marvelous Entertainment, Inc. and Opus Studios, Inc., and retails for 800 MSP.
Half-Minute Hero arrives on XBLA after enjoying substantial success on the PSP. The game is what its name implies, more or less: a traditional Japanese RPG style hero, who saves the world in 30 seconds, give or take a reset from the Time Goddess, over and over again.
For the most part the game works like this: hero appears in an area, an evil lord announces that he will cast the spell of destruction, which will destroy the world. The spell takes 30 seconds to complete. A timer appears at the top of the page and our hero must rocket into action. Thanks to the Goddess, the timer can be paused while in towns or reset if enough cash is on hand (the goddess has to make a living, after all). In the time allotted, the player must advance to a level at which they can beat the local evil lord, and possibly solve a side quest or two.
Adventures of Shuggy was developed by Smudged Cat Games and published by Valcon Games. It was released June 15, 2011 for 800 MSP. A copy of the game was provided to us for review purposes.
We’re used to thinking we find the best platformers on the classic Nintendo or Sega consoles, but in the growing future we see Xbox Live Arcade as a platform for that genre. With calls to classic difficulty in Super Meat Boy or offering an artistic experience with Braid, the types of game in that genre boom and The Adventures of Shuggy brings that same flavor.
As Shuggy, you inherit a mansion with over 100 challenge rooms. Your mission is to go throughout the rooms all over the mansion and collect the gems in each room. The game goes from tricky to downright complex in a matter of levels and the amount of variety will keep your thumbs on the edge.
Iron Brigade (Formerly Trenched) was developed by Double Fine Productions, published by Microsoft Games Studios and will be released on June 22nd, 2011 for 1200MSP. A copy of the game was provided to us for review purposes.
Double Fine has found great success so far with their downloadable titles. Costume Quest and Stacking were well received, critically and commercially. Each title has been unique in gameplay, setting and style. Trenched is no different, a mech-based tower defense game set in an alternate history with all the charm and character you’ve grown to expect.
The original Duels of the Planeswalkers was perhaps the best bad game one could play on XBLA. It launched with numerous bugs, many of which remain unfixed today. A small number of cards didn’t work as described in their text, it was inordinately difficult to arrange blocking if there were too many attackers, and certain design decisions crippled the strategic calculus normally found in a Magic game. And in many ways the first Duels game played like a giant teaser advertisement for the rest of the Magic universe, rather than as a game whole and complete unto itself. It was still hugely fun to play, because Magic is a fun game with great art and clever mechanics, but the game lacked a certain richness, that attention to detail and the player experience that marks a great game.
Thank Wizards and Stainless, then, for making the bold decision to leave behind the old game, warts and all, and concentrate on creating the game that the first Duels could have been. The new Duels of the Planeswalkers 2012 addresses many of the complaints about the first Duels, providing a smoother, faster game experience, a cleaner UI, vastly improved deck editing, a variety of online cooperative play formats, and a generally richer, better game experience.