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Microsoft (Xbox) digital gift cards available just in time for the holidays

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There are only four days left till Christmas 2014! That leaves only three “retail” shopping days left!

If you have a gamer on you list that you need to still get a gift for, or if you just are looking for more stocking stuffers, Microsoft is once again offering the ability to digitally send a gift cards to Microsoft accounts. Read on for more information on how to send a digital gift card to a friend or loved one just in time for Christmas; or the specific holiday you celebrate.

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Indie game sale on Xbox One and Xbox 360 today only

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TODAY ONLY!

There is currently a sale on five great indie titles on the Xbox One; with two of these titles also discounted on the Xbox 360.

Read on for more game titles, sale information and links to XBLA Fans coverage of the games on sale.

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Life Is Strange coming soon to Xbox 360 and Xbox One

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Square Enix and DONTNOD Entertainment have announced a new episodic, narrative driven adventure game of the story of a high schoolgirl named Max who suddenly discovers she can rewind time and saves her friend Chloe from danger with her new powers. Strange events start to occur as the pair stumble into the darker side of Arcadia Bay when they uncover the truth of the disappearance of a student.

Life Is Strange is set to release on Xbox 360 and Xbox One on January 30, 2015.

Episode one is priced at $4.99 and episodes two through five can be purchased individually for $4.99 when each episode is released. Each console will have a different bundle option available for purchase:

  • Xbox 360: A season pass consisting of episodes two through five can be purchased for $16.99.
  • Xbox One: The entire season consisting of episodes one through five can be purchased for $19.99.

Check below on the first reveal of Life Is Strange.

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Giana Sisters Twisted Dreams – Director’s Cut review (Xbox One)

Giana Sisters Twisted Dreams – Director’s Cut was developed and published by Black Forest Games on the Xbox One. It was released on December 12, 2014 for $14.99. A copy was provided for review purposes.

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The Giana Sisters started off in a title known as The Great Giana Sisters which was released in 1987 on the Commodore 64. The title caused many controversies as the game’s design was incredibly similar to another popular platformer released at that time, Super Mario Bros. As a result, the brand went quiet for many years. Fast forward to 2012, Black Forest Games was successfully funded by a Kickstarter campaign for a project known as Project Giana. After more time passed, Giana Sisters Twisted Dreams was released on the Xbox Live Marketplace for the Xbox 360 on March 20, 2013. Moving ahead to current times, Giana Sisters Twisted Dreams – Director’s Cut was released on the Xbox Live Marketplace for the Xbox One on December 12, 2014.

When I first got a hold of Giana Sisters Twisted Dreams – Director’s Cut, I thought to myself, this is going to be great. Giana Sisters Twisted Dreams for the Xbox 360 was a blast and I’m excited to see the new improvements and extra content that is included in the Director’s Cut. After playing through the game extensively to provide a quality review, I’m at a loss for words to describe my experience. Then I found it. Let me show you below.

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After Burner Climax removed early from XBLA

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As was noted in an earlier post by XBLA Fans, Sega’s After Burner Climax was scheduled to be de-listed and removed from Xbox Live Arcade on December 24, 2014. No real reason was noted for why the game was being removed, but speculation is that a licensing issue involving one of the aircrafts is the culprit, much like the Ferrari license in Sega’s Outrun Online Arcade.

Unfortunately, and apparently this came as a surprise to even some Sega developers, After Burner Climax was removed early yesterday and is no longer available for purchase on Xbox Live Arcade. If you had previously bought After Burner Climax, you can go to your purchase history and re-download the title. If you had not had the chance, to purchase this title there is still a demo available to test out, but the closest to playing the full game you’ll get is to check out XBLA Fans’ review of After Burner Climax here.

Source: @lifelower Tweet #1 and #2

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Pinball FX2: Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 review (Xbox One DLC)

Pinball FX2 was developed by Zen Studios and published on the Xbox One by Microsoft Game Studios. Pinball FX2 is a free download with individual tables priced from $2.99 and under and collections of tables priced at $9.99. A retail copy was purchased by XBLA Fans for review purposes.

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On December 4, 2014 an old evil villain was re-awoken in Tokyo when the Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 (NGS2) table was released for Pinball FX2 on the Xbox One. You play as Ryu and team up with three other teammates to confront this evil and attempt to “jump” your way to defeat it. Not having played the actual NGS2 game (a PlayStation 3 exclusive title), I at first felt a disconnection with this table. I was “going though the motions” while beginning to play it, but that doesn’t mean it can’t still make for one exciting table. The last couple tables that have released for Pinball FX2 (South Park and The Walking Dead) have had intricate, detailed missions to attempt with multiple ramps to try and consistently hit.

In contrast to those examples, the NGS2 table, originally made for Zen Pinball on the PlayStation 3, and it shows. There is a large open middle section in the table where the ball will pick up a lot of speed. With only three short ramps to hit, a much quicker response or more precise timing is required on the flippers to hit them. The NGS2 table also brings a new platform jumping mechanic that is unique to this table and a fresh new aspect and challenge to a game that I have been playing for many, many years.

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Risk and Tetris Ultimate available now

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As first posted by Major Nelson both Risk, develop by ZOE Mode, and Tetris Ultimate, develop by SoMa Play Inc, are available now on the Xbox One. With both being published by Ubisoft this could account for the change in release dates as both of these titles previously had others; Risk’s being December 23, 2014 and Tetris Ultimate’s being December 17, 2014. Continue on for launch trailers for both titles.

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Kalimba review (Xbox One)

Kalimba was developed and published by Press Play on Xbox One. It was released on December 17, 2014 for $9.99. A copy was provided by Press Play for review purposes.

Kalimba Xbox Cover Art

A funny thing happens while playing Kalimba, Press Play’s new puzzle-platformer for Xbox One. Your brain will shut off and you will go into auto-pilot. It might happen on your first attempt at a colorful new level, or it might happen during your 60th try at said level. But the stars will inevitably align, and the next thing you know, you’ll have made it to a new checkpoint that you had previously thought impossible to reach.

Kalimba has you controlling two totem pieces in tandem as you use both sides of your brain — and some really clever power-ups — to maneuver your way past enemies and through traps and puzzles. It’s not the first game I’ve seen in which you have to control two characters at once, but I think it just might be the best.

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Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons creator has a new studio and a new game

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The team behind last year’s Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons has started a new studio called Hazelight, headed by the Brothers director Josef Fares. Electronic Arts is publishing their first game, teased in the screenshot above. It does not yet have a title.

Fares’ success with Brothers came after many successful works in film. “Movies are a great way of telling a story,” he says, “but the potential of interactive storytelling through games is even greater.” After the emotional journey that Brothers was, he has a point.

When inquired, Hazelight told us “We are not at AAA level budget-wise. We are a comparably small team in the area of 20-25 employees.” In other words, they are right up our alley. Check out the teaser for their new game below.

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Project Root coming to Xbox One

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Argentinian indie developer OPQAM wants to give gamers some classic arcade-style shmup action, and that’s exactly what they’re doing with Project Root. Recently announced by OPQAM and Reverb Triple XP, Project Root is an overhead shooter with free-roaming open environments. You play as Lance Rockport, a rebel pilot attempting to end the Prometheus Corporation’s plans for world domination. Taking flight in an advanced F-72 Zonda fighter, you’ll fight enemies both on the ground and in air across eight distinct levels. Players fighting in this revolution can also look forward to upgradable firepower, special weapon drops, and crazy boss battles.

Project Root is coming to Xbox One in early 2015. Check out the reveal trailer after the jump.

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