Archive for the 'Xbox Live Arcade' Category

Review: Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet (Xbox Live Arcade)

Another link to a review on Gamedot, I’m afraid. This time it’s of Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet, the 2D metroidvania game released as last week’s Summer of Arcade title. It goes a little something like this:

A world of forms. Undulating, oppressive forests teeming with alien life. Smooth ice caverns, sharp and cold. The ocean depths, all muffled noise and fading light. A broken hub of technology, dark and neon, made of harsh corners and sparks. This is the world of Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet, a world at once fragmented and whole. Each environment has a distinct character, yet feels a part of a single cohesive entity, united by the encroaching plant life which engulfs much of the planet, and the unique silhouetted graphical style which permeates throughout.

Into this world the player is thrust: not only are they an outsider exploring this strange and dangerous planet, but so too their character, a being whose solar system has just received an uninvited guest in the form of said planet. The stage is set for a game of gradual exploration; of upgrades and hidden areas. There’s a name for this genre: metroidvania. Only, where that suggests a 2D platformer, Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet eschews such trappings, taking the form of a twin-stick shooter. Albeit an unusually thoughtful, slow paced one.

And carries on in that way. If you want to know what I thought about it, you can find the full review here.

Review: From Dust (Xbox Live Arcade)

Oh, before I forget – today isn’t just for further discussions on Blizzard. Today also saw my review of From Dust go up at Gamedot. In it I say things like

The Summer of Arcade continues, this time bringing us From Dust. From Dust is an exciting prospect for those of us with long memories – and no, not because we can remember the dawn of man depicted in the game, you cheeky so-and-so. Rather, this is an exciting prospect because it sees the return of both Eric Chahi, the game designer responsible for classic cinematic platformer Another World; and of the god game, a genre sadly long-dormant.


Certain trees spew flame causing forest fires. Others absorb water, releasing their load when put in contact with heat, or when oversaturated. Sudden downpours of rain cause riverbanks to swell and natural basins to flood. Huge tsunamis, massive volcanic eruptions and tectonic activity bend and warp the land. You may not have any enemies, but you have a lot to fight against.


The joy of the game is the joy of building sandcastles; of seeing environments entirely of your own making spring to life, and watching them face the elements.

I quite liked it. You can find the full review over here.

Review: Bastion (Xbox Live Arcade)

It’s typical, really. You leave town for a few days, and everything falls apart.


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Review: Warhammer 40,000: Kill Team (Xbox Live Arcade)

Publishers will try all sorts of tricks to try and publicise their upcoming games. Adverts in magazines and on websites. Posters and billboards. TV adverts. Public betas. Flashy events, sometimes for the press, sometimes the public. Opening a shop in Soho. And, occasionally, tie-in games.

The Fable titles like this approach, releasing cheap mini-games before their release, the playing of which gives the player in-game benefits; Croteam, meanwhile, have been using the “Serious Sam Indie Series” to publicise the upcoming Serious Sam 3. Warhammer 40,000: Kill Team is unusual, however, in its positioning as a premium Xbox Live Arcade title: where the aforementioned titles are cheap mini-games and indie spin-offs, clearly distinguished as side-shows to the game they advertise, Kill Team could almost be a stand-alone product. Does it deserve to be treated as such?
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Review: Trenched (Xbox Live Arcade)

Here’s a thing about Trenched: it’s a weird tower defence / customisable mech combat game hybrid developed by Double Fine, with a strong emphasis on online multiplayer, that thanks to fun trademark issues isn’t on sale in most of Europe.

He’s a thing about me: I’m a big fan of tower defence and customisable mech combat games, love most of Double Fine’s output, but don’t have a subscription to Xbox Live Gold, and live in Europe. Hmm.

Obviously, I had to chronicle my relationship with the game.
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August 2017
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