Arcade or downloadable content has gained more and more interest over the years. Whether it’s because the games are cheaper, quick to download or just that they seem to be getting better… that’s up to you. Truth is, I think it’s all three. Before I had the 1.21 gigawatts of net speed required to play online, I fell in love with Xbox live content. Amazing titles like Shadow Complex, Mat Hazard and so many others (not to mention those crazy indy titles) had me hooked.
Since then I’ve been blessed with a DeLorean that hits 88mph and allows me to benefit – No… INDULGE in the amazing multiplayer and online services that the Xbox offers apart from the rest (not a shameless plug – party chat is awesome!!). Wait… so why the Back To The Future reference… well because that’s exactly what arcade titles are about… a trip back in time when things were simpler and all about addictive gameplay and yet often to the future of gaming, mixed with some high def, state of the art physics and some insanely creative/unique concepts.
So of all the amazing XBLA titles that have been released, here’s an overview of some of the best ones that certainly have stuck out and you should check out or download.
TRIALS EVOLUTION 4.5/5 stars
Multiplayer: up to 2
Modes: single & multiplayer (no coop)
Rating: PEGI 10
Trials Evolution is the sequel to Trials HD, one of the best-selling Arcade titles Xbox live has ever seen. Think Excite Bike… but on serious steroids.
Essentially a side-scroller motocross game where you’re tasked with overcoming ridiculous hurdles in an attempt to finish a course in the fastest time with the least amount of face-crushing faults. The physics is insane. Completing unbelievable tracks and unlocking more customizations/tracks/bikes etc is only remotely rewarding compared to the leader board function.
You’ll be replaying tracks for hours, beating your mates’ times and setting new ones. The real draw factor of this game is replayability as there are two-track builders in the game, one simple and one complex. Already there are hundreds or player created tracks for you to download. The best part is that the downloads are done before you take your finger off the ‘A’ button and your friends don’t have to get the track if you’re hosting – LEGENDARY!
Even if you’re not a racing fan, like me – you’ll love this title and it’s definitely one to get. If you have Trials HD – keep it…it’s a classic but you’re doing yourself a great injustice by letting this one go.
DIABOLICAL PITCH 3/5 Stars
Developers: Grasshopper Manufacture
Platform: Xbox360 Kinect
Modes: single & multiplayer
Rating: PEGI 12
A baseball pitching game with a clever twist.
You play McAllister, a baseball legend who’s arm rips apart after a record pitch. Fast-forward through a car accident and you find yourself in a haunted/filled with possessed dolls amusement park…oh and you have a bionic arm. Essentially you have to stay alive by hurling deadly pitches at whatever comes your way. You can use your non-dominant arm to precision aim and hit some cool collectables while you’re at it. There are also some tricky enemies that require some extra skill, timing and creativity, essentially keeping the gameplay fresh.
You can choose between one of six power throws as well and build them up to use in-game when things get hairy. I dig these since it kinda makes you feel like you’re in a manga cartoon.
As a kinect game, its pretty solid and the motion sensing is about as perfect as your setup. The co-op is pretty cool too and there are a number of gameplay features associated with this.
It’s definitely a game that tried to do something a little different and succeeded in many ways. The graphics are pretty cool and it’ll keep you playing until your arm hurts – which I can vouch for… many times over.
SINE MORA 3/5 Stars
Old school sidescrolling shooters still keep a big chunk of my childhood time in their power up capsules and insane boss battle clutches. Sine Mora doesn’t come short in any way to its predecessors. It’s another addictive arcade title that revamps the old with more than enough modern innovations such as incredible visuals, nail-biting action and a brilliant health gauge system.
This system is what sets Sine Mora apart from everything else – your life works on time. For every point you earn you gain additional time. And yeah you can even slow down time to marvel at the visual masterpiece while chaos populates your screen.
The narrative is pretty out there and fairly political but to be honest… I just wanted to get back in the action and try out the various game modes, post some high scores and watch the pretty lights.
The game comes across as a fun inbetweener while you wait for your friends to come online but then very soon they’ll be waiting for you to fight the addiction and join them.
ANOMALY: WARZONE EARTH 4/5 Stars
Developers: 11 bit Studios
Genre: Strategy & Simulation/Tower Offence
Rating: PEGI 12
Well we’re in the future yet again and as can be expected with the words ‘warzone earth’’, things are not cool. Then again aliens have crashed on earth in 2018, creating an anomaly point from where these advanced species plan to invade the planet. Please note this happens in Baghdad so its hard to tell what the aliens actually have destroyed… hell this could be one crazy misunderstanding – only kidding.
Essentially this is a tower defence… ahem excuse me… TOWER OFFENCE game with amazing graphics, awesome technology and gameplay so nail-biting and action packed, you’d chew your fingers down to nubs – don’t believe me? I’m typing with my tongue and lemme just say… this thing doesn’t taste like an apple! You play as a single commander running around on the field of battle, calling in new mecha and guiding your armor of fourteenth platoon to victory. You’re equipped with a number of abilities, smoke screens, repair kits and many others to help you in your mission.
If you love awesome action, strategy and tower defence games, which I’m pretty sure many of you do, then this is like an intravenous drip that will get keep you amped.
THE SPLATTERS 2.5 Stars
Developers: Spikey Snail
Platform: PlayStation 3 & Xbox360
Splatters is another physics-based puzzle game similar to Angry birds. As it is with most of these games, they can literally be a hit or a miss. Personally I’m not a big fan of the genre but since arcade titles, as previously mentioned, are often as addictive as illegal pharmaceuticals, I admit to finding myself playing them for hours.
Splatters allows you to slow down time and warp the movements of the blob splatters you create to destroy other blobs on the screen. Its pretty strange.
Use the A button to fling a blob across the screen in any direction and then tap it again to fling the splatters in other directions. There are a number of other affects etc that you can use to accomplish each puzzle and you can get very creative. There’s an in-depth tutorial section to get you into understanding the physics. What I really love is the splatter TV section that allows you to upload and share your most amazing level clears with friends. As I said before, you can get really creative with the multitude of stunts and the visual experience is rather rewarding.
It’s a pretty polished game overall if you’re into that sort of thing and by all means a good buy.