Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD was developed by Robomodo and published by Activision. It was released on July 18, 2012 for 1200 MSP. A copy was provided for review purposes.
The Tony Hawk games–everyone’s played at least one, and most have people have 1-2 favorites from the series. Their success paved the way for extreme sports games like the SSX and Skate series, and their soundtracks helped to bring the slightly obscure Punk Rock genre into the mainstream. Over the years the games have continued to try to expand and build on each preceding title. Pro Skater 2 brought the create-a-skater feature, Pro Skater 3 brought Tony and company to a new generation of consoles. Underground brought off-the-board gameplay and a story. Ride attempted to bring players even closer to skating realism with a skateboard controller. For better or worse, each new feature attempted to keep the series fresh and enjoyable.
But Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD is a trip back to the series’ roots. It puts a controller back in players’ hands. It strips out the story mode. You can’t get off the board. It’s just vanilla Pro Skater, and while some may prefer more flavorful ice cream, vanilla is the perfect flavor for Tony’s games.
Spelunky was developed by Mossmouth and was published by Microsoft Studios. It was released on July 4, 2012 and retails for 1200 MSP. A copy was provided for review purposes.
Spelunky casts you as a nameless adventurer seeking treasure in a deep cave. Blocking you from your bounty are countless enemies, traps, and other hazards. The way you choose to tackle these challenges really defines how the game will play for you. Some may crash ahead fearlessly while others will be more cautious. Spelunky is technically an action/platformer, but it also has roguelike qualities as well. You run and jump, whip and shoot. What’s surprising is to learn that death is permanent here and one false move sends you back to the very beginning. It’s a truly unique game and is presented in a very attractive manner. It does everything it sets out to do, even when it’s rejecting modern gaming conventions.
Trials Evolution was developed by RedLynx and published by Microsoft Studios. It was released April 18, 2012 for 1200 MSP. A copy was provided for review purposes.
Oh RedLynx, how are we supposed to get anything done when you release such addictive games? We logged close to a hundred hours into Trials HD, and grew a three day beard trying to complete the expert tracks. Looks like we’ll have to quit our jobs, because now Trials Evolution is out.
Evolution builds on everything that’s great about Trials HD. For the uninitiated the premise to to ride a motorcycle over obstacles and to the finish. The left and right triggers control the throttle and brake while the left thumbstick controls the rider’s balance. It’s a simple yet incredibly addictive formula that RedLynx started back in 2000, and Trials Evolution is the latest and greatest installment in the series.
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‘s blood bath battles bring big changes to better bloody beatdowns. Well that’s about the alliteration quota for the year from us, suffice to say that …
Blacklight: Tango Down was developed by Zombie Studios and published by Ignition Entertainment and released on July 7, 2010 for 1200 MSP.
XBLA and the multiplayer FPS genre have a delicate relationship. Content, replayability, a large player base and something fun and interesting to weld it all together keeps a multiplayer FPS at the top of everyone’s mind and the front of everyone’s games played list. Retail FPS titles usually provide these flavors, as such XBLA titles have to ace them out in one of those categories to make the purchase worthwhile.
Blacklight: Tango Down provides a decent slew of game modes both solo and team oriented, 12 multiplayer maps, a robust customization system, and a an interesting mechanic that highlights enemies and points of interest at the expense of combat functionality. Last but not least Blacklight features a cooperative mode called Black Ops. A now-traditional FPS progression system is also in place to dole out unlocks at a steady pace.
Moon Diver was developed by feelplus and published by Square Enix. It was released on May 4th for 1200 MSP.
In the late 80’s there was a little game known as Strider, the development of which was lead by Koichi Yotsui. Yotsui draws back on that experience to direct Moon Diver, a side-scrolling platformer with enough style, action and frustration to blow up a planet. Ironically, that’s essentially the story to Moon Diver — Earth’s days are numbered and the Moon Divers have to come reclaim it from evil mechanical beings.
Players choose from multiple divers, each with different stat growth patterns. As they progress through the story mode characters gain stat points and MCs, or Moonsault Combinations, which manifest themselves as a variety spells and skills. Four players can jump in together offline or online, but only one player per box can join in the online experience.