Reviews Archive

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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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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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Terraria review (Xbox One)

Terraria was originally developed by Re-Logic; 505 Games published the Xbox One port. It is scheduled for release on November 14, 2014 and will cost $19.99. A copy was provided for review purposes.

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I’m not sure when or why I began to think more sceptically about re-released and high definition remasters of past-generation games. Perhaps it was only recently, when the Xbox One became awash with them. First there was Minecraft, then all three current Telltale Games productions and now, less than two weeks later, we have Terraria (and in the retail space, Halo: The Master Chief Collection.)

I’ve always enjoyed Terraria, as I described at length in my review of the original Xbox 360 release. Because this is essentially still the same game — albeit with the addition of a number of key updates — it should come as no surprise that the original critique still stands. There are, however, some important new bits that make the Xbox One release different. Let’s unearth them.

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Costume Quest 2 review (Xbox One)

Costume Quest 2 was developed by Double Fine Productions and published by Midnight City Games. It was released on October 31, 2014 for $14.99 on Xbox 360 and Xbox One. A copy was provided for review purposes.

Costume Quest 2 for Xbox

Appropriately released just before Halloween, Costume Quest 2 has more tricks, treats and timed-button pushes. The sequel to Double Fine’s 2010 Costume Quest, this release picks up shortly after the first game. The two main protagonists, Reynold and Wren, return as playable characters with new companions to battle alongside with, and, not to be forgotten, the supporting cast from the first game, which play an important role in the time-traveling tale.

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The Walking Dead: Season Two review (Xbox One)

The Walking Dead: Season Two was developed and published by Telltale Games. It was released on Friday, October 31 2014 for $25. A copy was provided for review purposes.

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In the end, nobody is safe from the shambling, moaning hordes of undead which populate The Walking Dead’s dystopian alternate reality. Not the characters, the fans or the general public. Robert Kirman has created a rich and culturally pervasive lore. It was inevitable that Telltale Games extremely popular The Walking Dead series of episodic interactive stories would appear on Microsoft’s Xbox One console sooner or later.

TWD:S2 picks up directly where Season One ended. Players assume the role of Clementine as she continues her journey towards adolescence in an increasingly dangerous and challenging world. The Xbox One version of TWD:S2 has been released as a complete package, which is great news for anyone as impatient as me. Let’s jump in and see if this version is worth your hard earned cash.

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Defense Grid 2 review (Xbox One)

Defense Grid 2 was developed by Hidden Path Entertainment and published by 505 Games. It was released on September 23, 2014 for $24.99. A copy was provided for review purposes.

DFG2 for Xbox One

Defense Grid 2 (DG2) is the long-awaited sequel to Hidden Path Entertainment’s popular tower defense game, Defense Grid: Awakening. The familiar alien-blasting action takes place on the Xbox One and looks great at first glance. A shining addition to the title is co-op and online play: the first game was a single-player experience with leader boards being your only interaction with friends. DG2 is not trying to break any molds or re-define the genre; it’s simply fulfilling the need for a solid tower defense game, and doing it relatively well.

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Minecraft: Xbox One Edition review (Xbox One)

Minecraft: Xbox One Edition was developed by Mojang and 4J Studios and published by Microsoft Studios. It was released on Friday, September 5 2014 for $20 and is also available to owners of the Xbox 360 Edition for $4.99. A copy was provided for review purposes.

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Well, someone had to do it. And that someone is me. Drawing the review for Minecraft: Xbox One Edition may have been the most challenging assignment of my XBLA Fans writing career, simply because there isn’t much left to write which hasn’t been written a million times before. When he reviewed the Xbox 360 version of this seminal mining/crafting/adventure game over two years ago, our reviewer opened with the throwaway line that even the most casual of weekend gamers must already have heard of Minecraft – and he was absolutely right.

So where does that leave us? Well, my review of the recently released Xbox One version will reinforce Minecraft‘s core elements for those already familiar with giving newcomers an introduction to those same elements. At the same time, I’m going to lay out some of the changes, no matter how subtle they may be, that differentiate this version from that of the last generation of consoles. Let’s dig in.

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Slender: The Arrival review (XBLA)

Slender: The Arrival was developed by Blue Isle Studios and published by Midnight City. It was released on September 24, 2014 for $9.99. A copy was provided for review purposes.

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Slender: The Arrival is inspired by the popular PC game, Slender: The Eight Pages and even features a scene similar to the original. There have been few survival horror games on XBLA and even fewer that have gotten the feeling of horror right. This has led to gamers waiting for some time to see a new survival-horror game appear on XBLA, one that could scare the pants off of them. I’m happy to report that Slender does exactly that, even on the easiest difficulty.

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Stick it to The Man review (Xbox One)

Stick It to The Man! was developed and published by Zoink Games. It was released August 28, 2014 on Xbox One and Xbox 360 for $9.99. An Xbox One copy was provided for review purposes.

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It has been an awfully long time since the likes of Braid, Limbo and Super Meat Boy first began to demonstrate just how innovative and enjoyable smaller, digitally delivered titles could be. Unbelievably, though, there are still independent studios out there that continue to push the envelope. With Stick it to the Man!, Zoink games have done exactly that, delivering an entertaining, polished and highly amusing puzzle/platform game that oozes originality from every pore.

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Minecraft update including save transfers rolling out

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4J Studios’ Twitter account recently announced a small Minecraft update allowing for the transfer of save files from the Xbox 360 to the Xbox One. The process involved is fairly specific — players may upload a single save file to a designated transfer location on their 360 edition, and then retrieve that file from the Xbox One. This is a repeatable process, meaning that players aren’t limited to transferring only a single save file, but the whole process will have to be repeated for each save file that players want transferred.

As already announced, players who own a copy of the Xbox 360 edition of Minecraft can upgrade to the Xbox One edition for just $4.99 — players just jumping into Minecraft on Xbox One will pay $19.99 instead. Downloadable content packages will transfer free of charge (players who paid for content on the Xbox 360 edition won’t get charged again on the Xbox One edition — that content, however, is not without cost), and trials of DLC content are now built right into the Xbox One edition of Minecraft, so players won’t have to download trials anymore.

One caveat to all of this: You must have connected to Xbox Live while playing Minecraft to qualify for the upgrade pricing and get DLC packs to transfer — and if you just connected or just bought the Xbox 360 edition of Minecraft, it will take up to 72 hours for that to register. Don’t buy at the higher price while you wait, because refunds aren’t being given out.

Source: PlayXBLA

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