Yes, you read that headline correctly. Your Xbox One games will soon be stream-able to any Windows 10 PC or tablet. If you weren't able to watch the Windows 10 Consumer Preview on Wednesday the 21st, then you missed out. It was a great show, and a lot of cool stuff was revealed for the Windows 10 platform.
The entire time I was watching, I had this feeling that streaming Xbox One games would finally be announced. Just before Phil Spencer — head of Xbox — said the magic words, I tweeted this:
You've read our picks for the best XBLA and ID@Xbox games of 2014. Now it's time to look forward with us at what might be the best games of 2015. While fully acknowledging that some of these games likely won't up to their billing and others may get pushed into 2016, these are the 2015 games that XBLA Fans is currently most looking forward to. If these releases aren't on your radar yet, they will be after you're done reading.
Developers: Other Ocean Interactive and The People of the Internet
#IDARB is a particularly interesting game to say we're anticipating in 2015, seeing as XBLA Fans got our hands on what we were told was the "final" game in December and published our review already. This zany handball-meets-platformer game from Other Ocean Interactive and the fine folks of the internet — many features crowd sourced — isn't officially out until February, though, when it will be part of the Games with Gold promotion. It's difficult to explain just what #IDARB is, but it's easy to recommend that you go play it when it releases next month.
It's January, which means it's time for XBLA Fans to take a look back at the best and brightest games of the last year.
2014 was a transitional year for the Xbox brand. It was Xbox One's first full year on the market, and it bore witness to Microsoft going all-in on its complete reversal of the console's strategy and public image. Redmond distanced its next-gen console from being some sort of multimedia wonderbox as much as possible and did its best to focus on the games. Despite a litany of exciting ID@Xbox game announcements, the program got off to a bit of a slow start, though. Ports and re-releases dominated much of 2014's ID@Xbox release calendar, and last-gen Xbox Live Arcade releases on Xbox 360 were used to buoy Microsoft's greater indie library.
If you paid as much attention to ID@Xbox as as XBLA Fans did, though, then you know there were some standout stars even if there was not a terribly high quantity of them. We've played the games and cast our votes, and how we present you with our 2014 Game of the Year awards. Don't like our picks? Fair enough. Head to the comments and make your case for why yours are better.
#IDARB is scheduled for release on Xbox One in February 2015 and will be free for all Xbox Live Gold subscribers. It was developed by Other Ocean Interactive (and the people of the internet) and published by Other Ocean Interactive. A copy of the game was provided by Other Ocean for review purposes.
Based on what I have read over the past week or two, the gaming press have been generally disappointed by a lack of both quality and innovation across almost all platforms in 2014. Many of the most anticipated games of last year were sequels or remakes. Worse still, almost all of the triple-A holiday releases were clearly rushed, unfinished and in some cases almost entirely unplayable. It seems fitting to me then that one of the first key indie releases of 2015, #IDARB, is the complete opposite of these bloated, cynical big-studio productions in every way. Let me tell you all about it.
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.
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.
#IDARB? It Draws a Red Box. ^
What once was a red box on Twitter has now become a platforming, jump-all-over-the-place, arena-ball esport that'll make the crowds go wild. Crowds? Yes. For the first time, people can actively participate or interfere with games in progress by Twitch or Twitter. By using different hashtags, different effects may occur to really liven the game up: reversed controls, water floods, fireworks and even an internet meme that will never give up. Games played live may never be the same.
The best part? #IDARB is participating in Microsoft's Games with Gold program in February, developer Other Ocean Interactive announced today. Microsoft members with an Xbox Live Gold membership will be able to attain #IDARB for free when downloaded while the game is in the program.
Can't wait until February? Well, you're in luck.
Other Ocean has started giving out full game codes two months early to some of its most vocal fans. If you want your chance to play the game early, visit Other Ocean's Twitter page here, Twitch page here and website here to declare your desire to play the game.
Mike Mika, Head of Development for Other Ocean Interactive had this to say about giving away the game early: “It might sound kind of strange to give the game away for free two months before it officially comes out, but that’s in line with how #IDARB was built from day one.”
What is this game, and how does it play? Check out the trailers inside to see festivities in action.
Chivalry: Medieval Warfare was developed by Torn Banner Studios and published by Activision for Xbox 360. It was released December 3, 2014 for $14.99. A copy was provided for review purposes.
Within the first five minutes of booting up Chivalry: Medieval Warfare, I was absolutely certain that I would hate it. After a year packed full of dazzling next-generation titles delivered via the might of Xbox One, I was ill-prepared for Chivalry's low-res textures and clunky combat; in fact, the whole thing repulsed me. Regardless, I ploughed grimly forward like one of the stoic feudal knights to whom Chivalry pays homage, chopping, hacking and bludgeoning my way through one foe after another – and as the body count mounted, so did my respect for this brutal, bloody title.
Battles take place between the rival forces of the Mason Order (bad/red) and the Agatha Knights (good/blue) as they vie for control of their fictional kingdom. Whilst it is possible to play against up to seven AI bots, the real fun can be found in multiplayer battles featuring 12 human combatants. Each player chooses a class from the four available, including an archer and three melee fighters ranging from light through to heavy in terms of their weaponry and armour. More on that later, though; let's cut right to the bone and find out if Chivalry is worth your hard-earned cash.
Game of Thrones: Iron from Ice was developed and published on Xbox One and Xbox 360 by Telltale Games. It was released December 3, 2014 for $4.99. A copy was provided by Telltale for review purposes.
Having recently played through the first episode of Telltale Games' Game of Thrones, I'm pretty thankful for XBLA Fans' new approach to reviewing episodic games. No doubt you're wondering why, and the answer is simple – because whilst this episode shows a lot of promise for the rest of the season, it is generally uneventful in isolation and scoring it as a standalone game would be quite a challenge.
The season begins during the Red Wedding and introduces us to a new family in the form of House Forrester. These loyal followers of House Stark are immediately thrown into a difficult position both at home and away because of their allegiance. This first episode does a decent job as the introduction that it aims to be by placing us in the shoes of Lord Ethan, his sister Mira and the house squire Gared. Thankfully, Telltale has created a generally likable cast of heroes in this trio. Lord Ethan is suitably believable as our main character, stepping into his father's shoes following the outcome of the Red Wedding. His sister Mira occupies an interesting and entirely different position as the handmaid of Queen-in-waiting Margaery Tyrell, whilst the final character is the house squire, Gerad.
On Monday, December 1, 2014, services on Xbox Live for the Xbox 360 were temporarily unavailable for several hours as users were unable to connect online. Xbox One users were unaffected by the disruption of the service. The hacker group Lizard Squad claimed responsibility for the distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack and had this to say:
Xbox.com's Support page did not issue any service alerts on the first outage.
On December 5, 2014, services on Xbox Live were once again halted for the Xbox 360 as users were unable to connect online. This time around users have been sporadically able to connect but have not been able to keep up a connection for a significant time. Lizard Squad has once again taken credit for causing problems to the Xbox Live services, saying this recent attack came at the behest of a follower.