Random scribblings by a prick. Enjoy.

Posts Tagged ‘XBLA

Review: Deadlight (XBLA)

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Whenever Mr. Cookie Cutter publisher thrusts a game about zombies in our face, you could easily make the reasonable inference that it would involve many guns, probably chainsaws and an unreasonable amount of on-screen prompts and feedback as you mow down waves upon waves of the bloody things in true, po-faced Chuck Norris esque detached fashion.

With Deadlight then, it’s refreshing to see a game that rather than dry humping the well-worn FPS genre tropes; for which the zombies themselves have become practically synonymous with, instead attempts to apply a 2D platforming coating to a zombie survival setting and ends up doing a pretty good job of it.

Well, most of the time anyway.

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Written by bitsnark

August 8, 2012 at 9:09 am

Review: The Walking Dead Episode Two – ‘Starved For Help’ (XBLA)

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With the release of episode one of The Walking Dead, it was fairly clear that developer Telltale Games had something fairly special on their hands, well, special by the measure of ‘interactive adventures’ at any rate.

It also didn’t hurt that unlike previous IP’s which Telltale have made to walk down the interactive adventure path, such as Back To The Future and Jurassic Park, that The Walking Dead is enjoying a very contemporary groundswell of fan support in the form of hugely popular TV series and on-going graphic novella.

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Written by bitsnark

July 30, 2012 at 10:22 am

Review: Spelunky (XBLA)

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When people talk about Spelunky they far too often refer to it as some sort of ‘death-grind’, where all you do is spawn and die and that’s somehow that’s the single, solitary hook that keeps you playing like some sort of brutal exercise in platforming S&M.

For me, it wasn’t the notion of getting flat-lined just to try again that kept me coming back, it was something a little more subtle than that; namely the concepts of greed versus survival and risk versus reward.

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Written by bitsnark

July 17, 2012 at 10:24 am

Sega Announces NiGHTS Into Dreams HD Re-Release For Later This Year – Forgets The Spit ‘n’ Polish

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One of the most fondly remembered games from the Sega Saturn deserves more than just the ‘lick’ of HD paint that it currently has. Singular.

Sega has announced a HD re-release for their 1996 Sega Saturn cult hit, Nights Into Dreams, which is due to drop later this year on 360, PS3 and PC (via Steam) platforms.

As well as having all of the usual mod-cons like achievements, trophies and a new lick of HD paint, the game also bundles in the original Sega Saturn version with the original visuals intact as a freebie.  Whilst any day in which anything remotely Nights orientated gets announced should be looked upon as a good day, i’m left distinctly underwhelmed by the title’s HD resurrection.  The reason for my dissatisfaction is purely superficial – the supposedly ‘new’ high definition visuals look chuffing awful; drawing attention to the fact that this looks like the laziest and most cynical ‘HD update’ seen in a long while.

The whole thing has essentially been upscaled into 720p with the sixteen year old assets being brought along for the ride, kicking and screaming.  That’s it – that’s the extent of these ‘new’ visuals – a resolution upscale.  Thanks for that.

It looks fairly atrocious and this sad issue is exasperated by the fact that in the trailer below, footage is shown of the bundled Saturn version and it looks almost indistinguishable from the high definition version.

Not happy.  In addition, to say that it doesn’t exactly light a fire of confidence regarding my hopes for a quality Shenmue HD re-release would be understatement of the year at this point.

Watch and cry below:

NiGHTS Into Dreams is due to be released sometime later this year on 360, PS3 and Steam.  OR, you could just bring out your Sega Saturn and play it NOW.

Written by bitsnark

July 6, 2012 at 9:38 am

Something You May Have Missed – The Dark Souls Of 2D Platforming; Spelunky Releases On XBLA Tomorrow For 1200MSP

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This is just the merest glimpse at the punishingly sadistic, yet wholly entertaining 2D platform bliss that is Spelunky. If you have even a passing interest in platforming, you OWE it to yourself to grab this.

Right, this is going to be an unashamed plug for a game that I feel not nearly enough people know about – a tragedy given just how titanically brilliant it is.  Originally released on the PC back in 2009, Derek Yu’s roguelike 2D platformer Spelunky will finally complete it’s elongated trek to Xbox Live Arcade tomorrow complete with updated HD visuals, brand new levels, obstacles, items, enemies and the welcome addition of competitive and co-operative multiplayer modes.

As we’ve already said, Spelunky is a 2D platformer and equally, the game itself us truly deserving of it’s Dark Souls analogous comparisons – the game is totally, rock-fucking-hard and each time you die, you are forced to start the whole thing again.  Such a brutal practice of punishing players would seem like a huge misstep, were it not for the fact that the game is bursting with more challenge, satisfaction and charm than any 2D platformer of recent memory.  The gameplay in Spelunky is simple enough; you must proceed from the top of the level to the bottom of it, avoiding obstacles and enemies unique to that level (every level has a different theme) whilst hoovering up as much loot as humanly possible.  Yet, this game is as a staunch test of your gaming credentials as anything else on the market – death is permanent and when you respawn, the level randomises itself; forcing you to play dynamically and adapt on your feet.

In all honesty as if you couldn’t guess, I am completely and unreservedly stoked for this and I remain in a state of flabbergast that what will surely be the downloadable title of the year isn’t a part of Microsoft’s ‘Summer of Arcade’ promotion (and thusly benefitting from all the extra marketing), yet inane Kinect-dross such as Wreckateer is.  I mean really, just look at the trailer below – the game practically sells itself:

Critical praise for the title has been staggering and as you can see by the reviews I have linked below, there is a common sentiment; the game is tortureously difficult but it’s in that difficultly, emboldened by peerless level design and playability, that players continually force themselves back into the fray – to see if they can get just that little bit further to make it onto the next level.  Despite it’s price of 1200 MSP, this appears to be a game that is worth every single bit of that Microsoft currency.  Go on, treat yourself to what will surely not only be the downloadable title of the year, but surely, one of the best platformers in recent memory.

Eurogamer – 10/10

IGN – 9/10

The Verge – 10/10

Team Xbox – 9/10

Destructoid – 9.5/10

Spelunky is due to release tomorrow on Xbox Live Arcade for 1200 MSP.  The original, relatively feature-lite version of the game can be downloaded on the PC for free – grab it here.

Written by bitsnark

July 3, 2012 at 10:08 am

Gorgeous Looking Water Physics Platformer ‘Walter’, Emerges From Former Test-Drive Unlimited Dev Blossom Minds – Debut Trailer Released

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Blossom Minds, an off-shoot of Test Drive Unlimited developer Eden Games has today released the trailer for it’s inaugral effort – a water physics platformer that goes by the pun-tastic name of ‘Walter’.

Besides boasting a charming art-style and looking utterly gorgeous, Walter looks like on initial impression at least that it will play as well as it looks.  Playing as a sentient blob of water with eyes, the titular ‘Walter’ can change his mass, form and density to suit any situation.  See a long series of peaks and trough tubing that needs to be overcome? Walter can transform himself into a trickle of water to speedily race up and down the tubes far quicker than if he was to remain as a blob of water; otherwise forced to slowly plod through.  Another great example of how denisty and form affect the gameplay is one instance in the trailer where Walter is required to maintain a frozen ice-cube state to complete the level and he does this by keeping under dynamically moving shadows in order to prevent himself from melting.

It really looks like compelling stuff and while no formats have been announced, smart money is on an XBLA, PSN and Steam release sometime during the vague ‘2013’ release window that has been pegged for the game.

The trailer for ‘Walter’ is embedded below:

Walter is due to be released on formats to be announced sometime in 2013.

Written by bitsnark

June 13, 2012 at 1:40 pm

Mark Of The Ninja E3 2012 Trailer Gleefully Reminds Us How Stealth Should Be

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Whilst Sam Fisher was out and about doing Michael Bay golden showers over the legacy of stealth that he had built at this year’s E3, it was perhaps rather fitting that ‘Mark of the Ninja’, an Xbox Live Arcade title by Shank developers Klei Entertainment, was delighting the rest of us from the shadows with it’s stealthy 2D platform exploits – reminding us just how fun stealth can be and what it takes to get it *right*.

The game reinvigorates all of the hallmarks of stealthy gameplay, focusing sternly on the setup for the kill (or evasion instead of the kill) with misdirection, patient observation and wide-range of acrobatic abilities and ninja gadgets all further emboldened by Klei Entertainment’s typically gorgeous cartoon stylings.

Below, you can see not only the E3 2012 trailer, but also an earlier video taken from PAX East – showing off one of the levels in almost it’s entirety.

It’s about time games took stealth seriously again says I:

Mark of the Ninja is due to be released exclusively on XBLA sometime this Summer.

Written by bitsnark

June 12, 2012 at 2:23 pm

E3 2012 – Microsoft Release Their ‘Summer of Arcade 2012’ Trailer

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Microsoft have just released a trailer for their forthcoming Summer of Arcade promotion which showcases five of the best Xbox Live Arcade titles available this year.

Need something to tide you over the typically sparse Summer gaming months?  Then take a look at the quintet of gaming awesomeness below and see if anything takes your fancy:

Summer of Arcade starts this Summer, exclusively on Xbox 360.

Written by bitsnark

June 4, 2012 at 11:28 pm

Microsoft E3 2012: Summer of Arcade Details (Shunted from the conference because MS thought you preferred to hear about social apps instead. And Usher.)

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Bit of a public service thing going on here.

Completely absent from their E3 presser were any details about their ‘Summer of Arcade’ promotion for this year that typically, Xbox 360 owners have come to enjoy.  For the uninitiated, The Summer of Arcade promotion typically brings together four or five highly regarded Xbox Live Arcade titles during the Summer period.

In the past, the promotion has spawned and raised awareness of such gems as Braid, Limbo, Shadow Complex, Trials HD and the seminal Castle Crashers.  This year, auidences wouldn’t have had a fucking clue what was going on in this year’s promotion as the details of which were left on Major Nelson’s Blog over at instead of being an actual part of the Microsoft presser itself.

No, MS in all of their wisdom, thought that the vast gaming massive would much rather want to see unveilings of region-specific (read: The US) social apps and Usher on stage for a total of nearly forty-five minutes, than running a two-minute sizzle reel of five really quite decent looking summer gaming attention grabbers.

Anyhow, below you can find a list of the Summer of Arcade games (dates and prices will be announced shortly it seems).

Oh, and you’re welcome.

(Taken from the MS Blog)

  • “Deadlight” (Tequila Works/Microsoft Studios). “Deadlight” is a puzzle platformer, where the player must take advantage of the main character’s agility to solve obstacles, and dodge zombies, manipulating the many interactive elements of the scenery. With more walking corpses than bullets, the feeling of danger is constant.
  • “Dust: An Elysian Tail” (Humble Hearts/Microsoft Studios). As the mysterious warrior, Dust, your action-packed journey will take you from peaceful glades to snowy mountaintops and beyond. Battle dozens of enemies at once with an easy-to-learn, difficult-to-master combat system, and uncover the story of an ancient civilization on the brink of extinction as you fight to uncover your own past in a gorgeous hand-painted world.
  • “Hybrid” (5TH Cell/5TH Cell). “Hybrid” is a pioneering third person shooter set in the near future, where global conflict exists between a species known as the Variant and a rebel human faction known as the Paladins. 5TH Cell strives to give players a completely new gameplay experience never seen before in the genre.
  • “Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD” (Robomodo/Activision). “Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD” takes the best elements of the classic “THPS” games and gives them a fresh update to create an all new skateboarding experience. Tapping into fans’ muscle memories, and combining sharp visuals with the best controls ever in a Tony Hawk game, the feel is cutting edge yet timeless.
  • “Wreckateer” (Iron Galaxy/Microsoft Studios). “Wreckateer” uses Kinect to put you in control of a massive castle-wrecking ballista. With the help of Wreck and Tinker, travel the land and destroy 60 castles using six magical projectiles, and explore the infinite ways you can wreak havoc with “Wreckateer’s” fully-dynamic destruction.

Written by bitsnark

June 4, 2012 at 7:29 pm

Classic Sega Megadrive/Genesis brawlers Streets of Rage and Golden Axe get ‘collection’ re-releases tomorrow on XBLA for 800 MSP

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Behold! Streets of Rage & Golden Axe – No finer expression of 16-bit testosterone.

Ah, the wistful memories of 16-bit side-scrolling pugilism – the battering of multiple enemies, the pressing on the ends of the screen to progress to the next section as soon as possible, the desperate reaching for a weapon to level the playing field…  In my adolescence, it was gaming satisfaction at it’s best and having a mate sat next to me, frothing at the mouth as I was to beat that final, seemingly indestructable boss, only added to the enjoyment.

Sadly however, the old side-scrolling brawler appears to be the genre that time forgot.

That is, until tomorrow when Sega will release the Streets of Rage collection, including all three original Sega Megadrive/Genesis titles on Xbox Live Arcade tomorrow for 800MSP.

They’re also doing the same thing with Golden Axe; releasing all three of the 16-bit console games as a collection on the service tomorrow for 800 of your Microsoft Points.

I think i’ll be plonking down the points for the Streets of Rage collection for sure, but the Golden Axe collection is not something that appeals to me much; given that the only decent one (the original) is available on XBLA already and the two sequels that followed it were lame ducks indeed.

Any of you lot up for some old-school scrolling brawling action?

Streets of Rage Collection and Golden Axe Collection both release tomorrow on XBLA at 800 Microsoft Points each.

Written by bitsnark

May 29, 2012 at 2:30 pm

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