This month officially got a whole lot better, as itâ€™s the season of great games on XBLâ€™s Summer of Arcade! Over the next 5 weeks, weâ€™ll see some fabulous titles on offer starting with the absolutely brilliant Limbo (see below) then followed by Hydro Thunder Hurricane (28th July), Castlevania: Harmony of Despair (4th August), Monday Night Combat (11th August) and finally the lovely Lara Croft and the Guardian and Light rounding things up (18th August). Now for even better news, if you download all five titles, Microsoft will give you 1200MP to spend. Now thatâ€™s the kind of summer deal I like:
Limbo â€“ 1200MP
Limbo is a masterful dark puzzle platformer with amazing charcoal misty scenery. You play the shadowy Boy, making his way through the eerie and forbidding forest as he searches for his sister. The controls are simple (move, jump and push/drag) and as he has no weapons, only wits and speed alone will get you past the monsters and traps that await you in the dark. The soundtrack comprises only of sound effects â€“ heavy rain, creaking branches or Boyâ€™s footsteps through the grass whilst the puzzles are ingenious and require logical thinking, physics, gravity and courage to solve. Fantastically atmospheric and with great game play, this is definitely the game of the summer and should be a serious contender for game of the year. For the GGUK review: http://tinyurl.com/339lx9l
Elsewhere to buy:
Stuntman: Ignition – Â£14.99
You always hear those people who work in the movies claim itâ€™s not as glamorous as youâ€™d think and this game does give you a sense of that. You are the newest stuntman on the back lot and to make a name for yourself, youâ€™re going to have to pull off some almighty impressive stunts whilst satisfying the director. This means playing the same scene over and over and over until you reach perfection run and earn the admiration of Hollywood. You get 36 different challenges and 25 vehicles with which to rack up combos, done by adding jumps, drifts and near misses during your scene, which adds some thrills though I think this is for gamers with lightening quick reactions who like to gain every achievement and will play a title repeatedly to keep bettering their score rather than the whiz-throughs. Be sure to check out the multi-player option for nitro boosted chaotic races.
FacebreakerÂ – Â£14.99
Brought to you by EA Freestyle, this game is a million miles away from EAâ€™s more triumphant Fight Night Round 4 which appeared on XBL a couple of weeks ago. Though more of a fighting than a boxing game, it lacks the realism, balance, aesthetic and overall satisfaction of FNR4, which I would recommend you seek out instead of this. The less said about this game, the better so moving onâ€¦â€¦
Add-Ons now and itâ€™s all music! Must be festival season:
Guitar Hero 5
Disturbing tracks this week, quite literally! Get the Disturbed Track Pack for 440MP or buy each track individually for 160MP:
â€Down With the Sicknessâ€ by Disturbed
â€Indestructibleâ€ by Disturbed
â€Strickenâ€ by Disturbed
Not a Disturbed fan? Fear not as Rock Band has a variety this week for 160Mp each:
â€New Dark Agesâ€ by Bad Religion
â€No Controlâ€ by Bad Religion
â€1969â€ by The Stooges
â€I Wanna Be Your Dogâ€ by The Stooges
â€No Funâ€ by The Stooges
You can buy the final three tracks listed above in The Stooges Pack01 for 440MP
Phantasy Star Universe
Ambition of the Illuminus â€“ FREE
This is an important enhanced edition Add-On for all Phantasy fans wanting to play online from now on. Youâ€™ll carry on your Gurhal System adventures as before but now get fast â€“paced MMO action plus a massive number of character customisation options. This expansion adds new missions, items and interface upgrades which will enhance your monster battling teams and make decorating your shops and rooms even more fun!
Finally, Indie Games and sadly, thereâ€™s lots of cheap classic imitations of bubble popping, word searching, minesweeping titles this week. Thankfully, some developers out there are at least trying to be original:
D.O.T.S â€“ 80MP
This sounds and looks a very simple game but try overcoming mazes and obstacles such as the evil ghost toast â€“ tastiest sounding baddie ever â€“ and youâ€™ll find guiding the purple dot to the blue dot is actually quite tricky. With a truth hurts â€œFailsâ€ display telling you exactly how many times you got thwarted by a slice of toast, this game looks appealingly addictive.
WordWise â€“ 80MP
A nice twist on a word making/spelling game with the aim of ridding the board of all the letter tiles before the time runs out. Itâ€™s simple but effective as the layout of the letters makes hunting down the big scoring words tricky. At least your Avatar is on hand to lend emotional support when the only word you can think of is â€˜catâ€™ in yet another addictive bargain.
Phat Fly â€“ 80MP
Zoom around battling toads, bats and giant monkeys using an array of weapons including bazookas and bombs in order to prove that you are the baddest leader of the Dipteral order that the world has ever seen. Collect coins to exchange for hats (cowboy, sombrero and crowns maybe?) or extra cool items like gold earrings and artistic moustaches. Bursting with colour and attitude, this is a great â€œmy first shoot â€˜em upâ€ title for younger gamers!
So in case you havenâ€™t worked it out yet, the majority of games arenâ€™t brilliant in terms of quality or good value for money this week as maybe XBL know thereâ€™s no other title that can compete with the addictive, haunting challenges on offer in Limbo. Save your pennies for the other scorching hot titles coming up as part of the Summer of Arcade!