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Xbox One Reviews

Giana Sisters Twisted Dreams – Director’s Cut review (Xbox One)
10 years ago

Giana Sisters Twisted Dreams – Director’s Cut review (Xbox One)

Giana Sisters Twisted Dreams – Director’s Cut was developed and published by Black Forest Games on the Xbox One. It was released on December 12, 2014 for $14.99. A copy was provided for review purposes.

Giana Open

The Giana Sisters started off in a title known as The Great Giana Sisters which was released in 1987 on the Commodore 64. The title caused many controversies as the game’s design was incredibly similar to another popular platformer released at that time, Super Mario Bros. As a result, the brand went quiet for many years. Fast forward to 2012, Black Forest Games was successfully funded by a Kickstarter campaign for a project known as Project Giana. After more time passed, Giana Sisters Twisted Dreams was released on the Xbox Live Marketplace for the Xbox 360 on March 20, 2013. Moving ahead to current times, Giana Sisters Twisted Dreams – Director’s Cut was released on the Xbox Live Marketplace for the Xbox One on December 12, 2014.

When I first got a hold of Giana Sisters Twisted Dreams – Director’s Cut, I thought to myself, this is going to be great. Giana Sisters Twisted Dreams for the Xbox 360 was a blast and I’m excited to see the new improvements and extra content that is included in the Director’s Cut. After playing through the game extensively to provide a quality review, I’m at a loss for words to describe my experience. Then I found it. Let me show you below.

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Kalimba review (Xbox One)
10 years ago

Kalimba review (Xbox One)

Kalimba was developed and published by Press Play on Xbox One. It was released on December 17, 2014 for $9.99. A copy was provided by Press Play for review purposes.

Kalimba Xbox Cover Art

A funny thing happens while playing Kalimba, Press Play’s new puzzle-platformer for Xbox One. Your brain will shut off and you will go into auto-pilot. It might happen on your first attempt at a colorful new level, or it might happen during your 60th try at said level. But the stars will inevitably align, and the next thing you know, you’ll have made it to a new checkpoint that you had previously thought impossible to reach.

Kalimba has you controlling two totem pieces in tandem as you use both sides of your brain — and some really clever power-ups — to maneuver your way past enemies and through traps and puzzles. It’s not the first game I’ve seen in which you have to control two characters at once, but I think it just might be the best.

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Boom Ball for Kinect review (Xbox One)
10 years ago

Boom Ball for Kinect review (Xbox One)

Boom Ball for Kinect was developed and published by Virtual Air Guitar Company on Xbox One. It was released on November 28, 2014 for $9.99. A copy was provided by Virtual Air Guitar Company for review purposes.

Boom Ball For Kinect

Raise your hand if your favorite Kinect-based experience was the “Rally Ball” game in the original Kinect Adventures on Xbox 360. Me too! Well, good news — now we’ve got that same idea expanded into a full ID@Xbox game in the form of Boom Ball for Kinect.

If you’re like me, the idea of a first-person, 3D, motion-controlled Brick Breaker sounds like an absolute blast. Indie studio Virtual Air Guitar Company seems to agree and created 55 levels of brick breaking to satisfy that craving. The only question: is it any good?

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Game of Thrones Episode 1: Iron from Ice review (Xbox One)
10 years ago

Game of Thrones Episode 1: Iron from Ice review (Xbox One)

Game of Thrones: Iron from Ice was developed and published on Xbox One and Xbox 360 by Telltale Games. It was released December 3, 2014 for $4.99. A copy was provided by Telltale for review purposes.

GoT3

Having recently played through the first episode of Telltale Games’ Game of Thrones, I’m pretty thankful for XBLA Fans’ new approach to reviewing episodic games. No doubt you’re wondering why, and the answer is simple – because whilst this episode shows a lot of promise for the rest of the season, it is generally uneventful in isolation and scoring it as a standalone game would be quite a challenge.

The season begins during the Red Wedding and introduces us to a new family in the form of House Forrester. These loyal followers of House Stark are immediately thrown into a difficult position both at home and away because of their allegiance. This first episode does a decent job as the introduction that it aims to be by placing us in the shoes of Lord Ethan, his sister Mira and the house squire Gared. Thankfully, Telltale has created a generally likable cast of heroes in this trio. Lord Ethan is suitably believable as our main character, stepping into his father’s shoes following the outcome of the Red Wedding. His sister Mira occupies an interesting and entirely different position as the handmaid of Queen-in-waiting Margaery Tyrell, whilst the final character is the house squire, Gerad.

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Tales from the Borderlands: Zer0 Sum review (XBLA)
10 years ago

Tales from the Borderlands: Zer0 Sum review (XBLA)

Have you ever tried chocolate and bacon together? You know how combining those two great things sounds gross, but turns out to be amazing? That’s the first episode of Tales from the Borderlands. It’s chocolate-covered bacon.

Zero Sum proves Telltale’s patented formula has flexibility and that making decisions can be fun instead of torture. The episode is essentially a heist story, told from the perspective of two very different characters. Playing as Rhys and Fiona, you make the decisions as they tell their side of the story. Despite not being gun-wielding tanks, they’re still true Borderlands anti-heroes: likeable scumbags trying to get paid. Getting to tell their stories is a blast; you get dialogue trees full of wit and sarcasm, and some major choices just turn out to be jokes in disguise. Going through the events that brought them together, you get a more intimate look at Pandora; one that is a little more calm with humor more refined. It’s still a Telltale game; you’ll build relationships with the game’s great supporting cast and do some terrible things, but you’ll be smiling all the way through.

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Thomas Was Alone review (Xbox One)
10 years ago

Thomas Was Alone review (Xbox One)

Thomas Was Alone was developed by Mike Bithell and published on Xbox One by Curve Studios. It was released on November 21, 2014 for $10.99. A copy was provided by Curve for review purposes.

Thomas Was Alone Cover Art

Thomas Was Alone is a game that released at precisely the right time in history. Originally debuting on PC in 2012 before finding its way to Xbox One, Thomas Was Alone perfectly captures today’s zeitgeist. Using nothing more than colored squares and rectangles that are seen and heard about but rarely heard from, developer Mike Bithell has assembled one of gaming’s most interesting and diverse casts of playable characters.

In Thomas Was Alone you play as artificial intelligences that have, as the result of a glitch in an experimental lab, become self-aware. Yes, this is a setup similar to ones we’ve seen countless times in popular media, but Bithell has breathed new life into it. AI Thomas, represented on screen by a red rectangle, is companionless and confused upon achieving self-awareness. He starts moving “up and to the right,” as the game’s delightful narrator makes a point of frequently noting, in a desperate bid to find friends and answers. It’s not long before Thomas begins encountering both, and he and his new friends endeavor to reach the awe-inspiring “fountain of wisdom” (internet connection). The staggering amount of information Thomas sees there convinces him that the AIs must work in sync towards the goal of escaping the system and entering the greater world beyond. Each AI is different in appearance and ability, and the way they learn to accept this diversity and use it to their advantage is nothing short of inspiring.

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The Jackbox Party Pack review (Xbox One)
10 years ago

The Jackbox Party Pack review (Xbox One)

The Jackbox Party Pack was developed and published by Jackbox Games. It was released on November 26, 2014 for $24.99. A copy was provided for review purposes.

Jackbox 1

With Christmas rapidly approaching, it may come as no surprise to see more and more party focused games begin to appear. Leading the way on Xbox One is Jackbox Games’ rather generous The Jackbox Party Pack, which features all three previous Jackbox releases, plus two (almost) entirely new games. Jackbox has built an excellent reputation primarily on the success of its standout title You Don’t Know Jack, the latest (2015) version of which is included in the here.

The Jackbox Party Pack promises the kind of risque laughs that have been made popular in recent years by accessible, engaging tabletop games like Cards Against Humanity. Achieving the kind of belly laughter that these board games provide on a console has always been challenging, and often disastrous – let’s find out if Jackbox have got the balance right.

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Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions review (Xbox One)
10 years ago

Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions review (Xbox One)

Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions was developed by Lucid Games and published by Sierra. It was released on November 26, 2014 for $14.99. A copy was provided for review purposes.

Geometry Wars 3 Cube Screenshot

Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions is a punishing experience. It will destroy what faith you have left in yourself as a gamer. It will force you to try over and over in vain as you continue to fail. But just like Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved (and its sequel) on Xbox Live Arcade, Geo Wars 3 will keep you coming back for more.

True story: I bought my first HDTV and an Xbox 360 after seeing Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved for the first time. So obviously, I’m a fan. Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions improves just about everything in the original and adds a ton of new content. This is the third game in the series (not counting Geometry Wars: Galaxies on 3DS/Wii U, since most people don’t seem to count that game for whatever reason), and the first by new developer Lucid (and published by the recently resurrected Sierra). It is both a trip back in time and a look forward. What has stayed the same? Your little ship-like shape moves around in the now familiar twin-stick shooter style game, as you blast away other brightly colored ships and shapes on a stark black background filled with psychedelic effects and particle explosions. It’s only sort of retro, as nothing even remotely close to it could have been made back in the days of quarter-munching arcade machines. It’s addictive, and it’s hard. Very hard. So, what has changed? Quite a bit.

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Magic: DOTP 2015: Garruks Revenge expansion review (Xbox One)
10 years ago

Magic: DOTP 2015: Garruks Revenge expansion review (Xbox One)

Magic 2015: Garruk’s Revenge was developed by Stainless Games and Wizards of the Coast and published by Microsoft Studios. It retails for $4.99 and was released on November 5th, 2014. A copy was provided for review purposes.

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Magic 2015: Garruk’s Revenge is the first expansion for Magic: Duels of the Planeswalkers 2015. The expansion adds 51 new cards and a short new campaign starring Garruk the Planeswalker. Some of our readers may remember my less-than-positive review of the base game from August. Since the initial review, the developers have made substantial changes to improve the quality of the game and have removed the pay wall. If a player purchased any packs or the complete pack when the game first released, this expansion was given to them free of charge as an apology of sorts. With these changes and an expansion comes a rare chance for a second look into a game initially deemed unplayable.

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Pier Solar HD review (Xbox One)
10 years ago

Pier Solar HD review (Xbox One)

Pier Solar HD was developed and published by Watermelon. It was released on November 21, 2014 for $14.99. A copy was provided for review purposes.

PS1

Here in the UK there is a superstitious theory known as “Sod’s Law,” which basically suggests that if you want something to happen really badly, you’ll inevitably get the opposite outcome. In the US, this is known as Murphy’s Law — chances are, you’ll feel like you’ve been on the receiving end of this phenomenon at least once or twice in your life. My most recent “evidence” that such a law (whatever you call it) may exist begins with an email conversation I had with XBLA Fans Managing Editor Nick Santangelo. My past three assignments have all been Xbox One reviews of re-released Xbox 360 titles, and I mentioned that it would be great to get my hands on some new IP so that I could see what the Xbox One is really capable of.

It seems only natural, then, that I now find myself writing about a game which is not only another re-release, but a Kickstarted HD remix of a fan-made, homebrew Sega Genesis game from 2010. Hopefully I can be forgiven for wondering whose pint of craft ale I spilled in a past life to deserve such a punishment, but after spending the best part of five solid days with Pier Solar HD, I can happily report that Watermelon’s it’s a real old-school gem that demands your attention.

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