Halo: Spartan Assault was developed by Vanguard Games and published by Microsoft Studios. It was released December 22, 2013, on the Xbox One for $14.99. An Xbox One copy was provided for review purposes.
Halo. It’s a name that carries a lot of weight in the gaming world. The series has spawned countless hits and established itself as a legendary franchise that will no doubt be around for another decade. Now, Vanguard Games has stepped up to the plate to deliver a fresh take on the Halo series. Ditching the standard FPS formula, we are instead treated to a top down view of the universe as a twin-stick shooter. With this new style comes new Spartan protagonists, Sarah Palmer and her partner Davis, who you control across various battles against covenant forces throughout the galaxy.
The Halo universe is full of stories to tell and it’s great to see developers able to step away from Master Chief, but still deliver a fast-paced, action-oriented Halo title. With that in mind, Halo: Spartan Assault is fun, and refreshing to play. It features a lengthy campaign, running players through dozens of missions spanning the time between Halo 3 and 4, and with the upgrade from smartphone to console it packs a new multiplayer mode where 2 players fight together against hordes of Flood in a desperate attempt to survive. Unfortunately, alongside everything Halo: Spartan Assault does well, it struggles to overcome its own glaring weaknesses.
Max: The Curse of Brotherhood was developed by Press Play and published by Microsoft Game Studios. It was released on December 20, 2013 for $14.99. An Xbox One copy was provided for review purposes.
Max: The Curse of Brotherhood is a 2.5D puzzle platformer in which players take on the role of Max, a young boy who uses a curse on his annoying brother, Felix, and then has to rescue him when the curse turns out to be real. Players are equipped with a handy marker that can alter the environment, helping them to solve interesting puzzles in their quest to save Felix from the evil Mustachio.
Peggle 2 was developed by PopCap Games and published by Electronic Arts. It was released December 8, 2013, on the Xbox One for $11.99. A copy was provided for review purposes.
With the follow-up to its 2009 smash hit Peggle, PopCap Games has delivered a quality game that not only challenges the player, but provides hours of entertainment at the same time. Fans of the original will be happy to know the development team didn’t tinker with what was already a great formula. Instead, PopCap has expanded upon its existing efforts, and by doing so, has made Peggle 2 an extremely fun and addictive title for the Xbox One.
With over 120 levels to play through, Peggle 2 has tons of content to offer eager peg-smashers. PopCap has also introduced new masters that enhance the experience by drastically altering the way the game is played, making each master feel unique. A fun and simple online mode has also been added to the mix, allowing for players to quickly jump into games and compete against others, trying to achieve the highest score with a 10-ball limit set in place. The ease with which you drop into matches is the biggest draw, and is something that’s seen throughout the game, as accessing content is generally fast and snappy.