At Microsoft’s E3 press conference on Monday morning, there was a video montage of a lot of games that are coming to Xbox One through the ID@Xbox program. Over the next few days, XBLA Fans is bringing you a slightly longer glimpse of those titles than what the montage trailer allowed for. Our coverage of these titles will be in alphabetical order. Following is a look at the fourth set of those games.
Ori and the Blind Forest
Microsoft describes Moon Studios’ Ori and the Blind Forest as “one of the most stylistically gorgeous games we’ve seen on Xbox One so far. Even though the young console doesn’t have much competition in that realm yet, it’s a fair statement to make. The Metroidvania title looked absolutely gorgeous racking up a lot of time in the limelight during Microsoft’s E3 media briefing. Moon Studios was busy quietly working away on the side-scroller for four years prior to its public debut last week. The playable E3 demo received mostly favorable reports from the show floor, but we’ll have to wait until the fall to find out how things come together in the final release.
Plague Inc.: Evolved
Ndemic Creations is taking the same road to its first Xbox One release that many other early ID@Xbox devs are: porting an existing Steam release over to Microsoft’s next-gen platform. In strategy game Plague Inc.: Evolved, a deadly pathogen is bringing about humanity’s end by evolving a worldwide plague showing astounding resiliency by adapting to everything humanity throws at it. Unlike it most end-of-the-world scenarios, though, you’re not trying to stop the extinction of mankind. Instead of bringing humanity back from the brink, you’re tasked with giving it the final push it needs to meet its end by spreading the plague. You’re kind of a jerk, aren’t you?
With Pure Pool, publisher Ripstone is promising to deliver something that few if any XBLA/ID@Xbox devs have ever promised or delivered: photo-realism. Voofoo Studios’ pool hall title doesn’t actually look quite that real, but it does look damn close. This summer gamers will get the chance to find out if the game comes through on its publisher’s other big promise: “the most authentic pool experience players can get outside of real life.”
QUBE Director’s Cut
Toxic Games’ QUBE: Director’s Cut is a first-person puzzler in which players use special high-tech gloves — that we can only assume are future versions of the Nintendo Power Glove — to manipulate cubes to help them solve physics-based puzzles and traverse platforming challenges. XBLAFans’ own Kyle Aufderheide was able to go hands-on with the game at E3 and describes it as extremely enjoyable, noting that the puzzles are similar to those found in Valve’s beloved Portal and that they “made [his] brain hurt.”
Rip Tide GP2
From Vector Unit, the makers of Hydro Thunder Hurricane, comes a port of the popular Steam and mobile rocket-powered hydro jet racing game, Rip Tide GP2. The racer puts players on futuristic tracks set on dynamic water surfaces that are touted as being “fully interactive” in single-player and up to six-player multiplayer. Vector Unit promises a “deep” (hopefully no pun intended) campaign mode and unpgradeable and customizable hydro jets.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a silent chauffeur of a constantly rotating limousine that can pull off tricky platforming moves and solve puzzles in the 1970s? Neither have we. Nevertheless, we got a taste of it when we played No Goblin’s Roundabout at PAX East a few months ago. At first glance, Roundabout sounds and looks ridiculous. Pick up the controller and play it, though, and you’ll discover that…well, that it is indeed completely ridiculous. Zany as it may be, our time with the game’s demo was enjoyable, but we’ll have to hold out until later this year to see if the absurd premise can hold players’ interests for an entire game.
The latest release in the Siegecraft series, Siegecraft: Commander is a one to four-player strategy game in which you have to build and defend your own medieval castles while attempting to bring others’ to the ground. Developer Blowfish Studios promises that the Steam Greenlight title will feature strategic elements that are easy to grok. The key will be mastering tower and wall placement in your own castles while tearing enemies’ asunder.
Single-screen multiplayer party games have been making a comeback as of late, as evidenced by games like Towerfall. In Nevernaut Games’ SlashDash, four players take control of ninjas grouped into two teams and, as the name implies, slash and dash around the screen. The fast-paced combat is only part of the experience, with the ultimate goal being to capture the other team’s flag. At least, that’s the “first game mode,” clearly implying others are in the works.
Fenix Fire Entertainment’s Source goes where many games have gone before — to another dimension. This particular dimension is unique in that it’s bursting full of bioluminescence, but it’s also being devoured by a dark and terrible energy that’s threatening to obliterate the whole thing. The player will take control of a firefly with the ability to gather, grow and re-distribute energy from other life forms. Gameplay is said to be Metroidvania-like, with the twist that you’re flying in fully 3D spaces rather than running through 2D ones.
That concludes Part IV of our look at the ID@Xbox games of E3 2014. Check back with us soon for our breakdown of the final set of indie Xbox One titles Microsoft showcased at this year’s big convention.