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Pier Solar HD review (Xbox One)

Pier Solar HD was developed and published by Watermelon. It was released on November 21, 2014 for $14.99. A copy was provided for review purposes.

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Here in the UK there is a superstitious theory known as “Sod’s Law,” which basically suggests that if you want something to happen really badly, you’ll inevitably get the opposite outcome. In the US, this is known as Murphy’s Law — chances are, you’ll feel like you’ve been on the receiving end of this phenomenon at least once or twice in your life. My most recent “evidence” that such a law (whatever you call it) may exist begins with an email conversation I had with XBLA Fans Managing Editor Nick Santangelo. My past three assignments have all been Xbox One reviews of re-released Xbox 360 titles, and I mentioned that it would be great to get my hands on some new IP so that I could see what the Xbox One is really capable of.

It seems only natural, then, that I now find myself writing about a game which is not only another re-release, but a Kickstarted HD remix of a fan-made, homebrew Sega Genesis game from 2010. Hopefully I can be forgiven for wondering whose pint of craft ale I spilled in a past life to deserve such a punishment, but after spending the best part of five solid days with Pier Solar HD, I can happily report that Watermelon’s it’s a real old-school gem that demands your attention.

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Microsoft announces five ID@Xbox games to release this week *updated*

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Earlier today Microsoft posted a press release informing us that five ID@xbox games would be released this week. Two of which, Never Alone and The Jackbox Party Pack, launched Tuesday evening. Thomas Was Alone, Piers Solar and The Pinball Arcade will release tomorrow rounding out the week.

Never Alone was developed in part with the Alaskan Native community and features beautiful arctic landscapes and with Limbo-esque puzzle segments. Our Never Alone review went up earlier this week and Nick Santangelo wasn’t a huge fan, saying “Never Alone exposed me to [the Iñupiat] culture, and I’m thankful for that. Unfortunately, it didn’t do so as part of a satisfying game experience, which makes it impossible to recommend anyone else learn the Iñupiat ways through the same means I did.”

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Killer Instinct Season 2 continues with new character Kan-Ra

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Kan-Ra is the third character to join the Killer Instinct Season 2 roster alongside TJ Combo and Maya, developer Iron Galaxy announced on its official forum.

As you can tell from his appearance, Kan-Ra has had quite a few rough years. As a royal vizier in ancient Babylon, his relentless drive for knowledge and power got him in trouble with his king. The king cursed him with endless torment, so his body rots away without ever dying.

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Microsoft renews Battletoads trademark *updated*

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Update: A prior posting of this story incorrectly stated that the trademark was acquired. The trademark was already owned by Microsoft and was just being renewed which is standard practice. — Ed.

Microsoft recently renewed the trademark for the Battletoads franchise. The rights include both “game software” and “entertainment services” particularly pertaining to online video games. Microsoft is currently declining to comment on any project and responded by stating that they regularly acquire trademarks as part of their business model. Until we hear more about a Battletoads project, it’s safe to assume the game is not in production at this point.

Source: US Patent and Trademark Office via Polygon

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XBLAFans Twitch Schedule: Week of 11-17

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This week’s schedule is as follows:

Wednesday, November 19th @ 8:30 pm (CST) – Pure Pool with Marshall “Intelektgaming” Britt.

Thursday, November 20th @ 5:00 pm (CST) – Terraria with Scott “K4rn4ge” Smith.

Thursday, November 20th @ 8:30 pm (CST) – Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare with Jen.

Impromptu steams all week!

If there is a game you would like to see streamed or previewed, let us know and we will do our best to get to it quickly. Enjoy this week’s stream!

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Jackbox Party Pack releases for Xbox One

Jackbox Party Splash

The Xbox One just received a huge helping of party games in the form of the Jackbox Party Pack. The pack contains a collection of five games, all of which can be played from the comfort of your phone or tablet. All players need to do is sign on to game’s website from any internet-capable device and enter the game’s room code, then they can play along with the action on the console. Most games support up to 8 players, expect Lie Swatter, which has a massive 100 player limit.

So what games are in the pack? First and foremost is You Don’t Know Jack 2015, the newest installment of the hit comedy-trivia series. Fibbage XL is a lying-based trivia game that builds on its predecessor, featuring everything from the original release plus over 50% more content. Drawful is a twist on classic drawing games, making good use of the game’s device capabilities by having players draw on their phone. Word Spud has players race to finish unfinished words, complete with adjustable levels of rudeness. Last but not least, Lie Swatter is a true or false trivia game filled with strange and unusual questions.

Jackbox Party Pack is available now for $24.99. Check out some screenshots and the launch trailer after the jump.

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Pre-Order Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions and get exclusive level

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One of my favorite features on the Xbox One has been the ability to pre-order and pre-download games. There is something truly satisfying knowing that your 60GB Halo Master Chief Collection download is ready and waiting for you when the clock strikes just past midnight (even if Matchmaking isn’t). We’ve been requesting this feature for ages (check out some old XBLA Fancasts), specifically with smaller digital titles that sometimes can be forgotten about. It looks like Microsoft is on the right track with this, as Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions is now live for pre-order. To make the deal even sweeter, the bundle comes with an exclusive level: “Blood Count” on a Torus-shaped grid with exclusive background. The game will not be live until 7:01 PM EST on November 25, 2014.

Geometry Wars should need no introduction to XBLA Fans. The franchise has been huge for the platform. Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved and RE2 ranked 13 on our best XBLA Games of all time. As such, there is obviously a bit of hype for the sequel with Lucid Games at the helm, a successor company to Bizarre Creations. With a ridiculously blatant pun title, Geo Wars 3 breaks away from previous games with the addition of a 3D grid playspace that will feature a few different shapes.

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Never Alone review (Xbox One)

Never Alone was developed by Upper One Games and E-Line Media and published by E-Line Media. It was released on November 18, 2014 for $14.99 on Xbox One. A copy was provided for review purposes.

Never Alone's Mystic NPC

Do you remember the arrival of the first tightly crafted indie Xbox sidescroller that disproved the notion that a Big Developer with a Big Budget was needed to create games of the highest quality? Neither do I, and that’s because it’s an event guilty of such unrestrained reproduction that it’s hard to recall its inaugural occurrence. Was it the release of Limbo? Mark of the Ninja? Braid? Something else? Regardless of what game kicked off this most welcome — even if now slightly clichéd — trend, it’s seemed apparent since its announcement that Never Alone would be the next game to continue the movement.

Its pretty graphics, intriguing setting and story aspiring to teach players something new caused many to think that Never Alone would be the next big little game. Maybe that’s an unfair burden to have placed on it. Maybe gamers should have instead anticipated only a game that would deftly introduce them to a culture that was heretofore both underrepresented and misrepresented in popular media. Certainly Never Alone does just that, offering a glimpse at the Iñupiat people’s ways that’s worth seeing. But while Upper One Games and E-Line Media have wonderfully succeeded in educating their audience, they’ve come up disappointingly short in entertaining it.

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Never Alone launch trailer delves into the Acrtic

Never Alone for Xbox One

Never Alone stands at a distinctive place for gaming. Built in partnership with the Alaska Native community, Never Alone attempts to introduce players to the unique culture of the Iñupiat people. Set in the beautiful yet tumultuous Alaskan tundra, Never Alone gives off a limbo-esque vibe. Players engage in side scrolling puzzles and basic platforming. The trailer highlights Nuna and Fox who players will control on their journey.

It’s really awesome to see an attempt at adding cultural and educational value to a game without straight out making an “educational” game. Our own Nick Santangelo is working on a review of the game which should be posted on the site shortly. Never Alone is available later today on Xbox One for $15.

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Pure Pool out now on Xbox One

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Pure Pool sneakily made onto the Xbox One over the weekend and is available now for $12.99. The beautiful-looking billiards game offers multiple game types and online live matches. One of the more interesting features is a tracking of your ability and play style that is used to create an offline opponent for your friends to compete against.

XBLA Fans will stream Pure Pool this Wednesday evening at 8:30 pm and occasionally throughout the week, so keep an eye on our feed if you’re interested in seeing some live gameplay.

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