Rock of Ages was developed by ACE Team and published by Atlus. It retails for 800 MSP. A copy of the game was provided for review purposes.
Rock of Ages is quite possibly the oddest game we've played on XBLA. It is an eclectic mixture of tower defense and Marble Blast Ultra. You travel through different eras of time challenging historical figures to a strange game of protect the castle. You'll meet daunting characters like Vlad the Impaler that want nothing more than to push your face-of-a-rock off the cliff to weaken its ability to damage his castle gate, all while being treated to a Renaissance style of music that is one of the game's best features.
Players who are familiar with tower defense games will feel right at home. You place defensive units up and down the narrow path to your castle wall in an attempt to thwart your challenger's rock from reaching top speed to crash into your castle's gate. In almost all instances, three consecutive dashes on you or your challenger's gate will bring it down revealing a paper-like historical figure ready to be run over–so speed as well as proper defense are equally important.
If this setup sounds quirky that's because it is. Not only is your rock anthropomorphic but it occasionally yells in terror when it falls of a cliff, which will happen often because a finite number of elephants, cows, catapults, towers, explosives and other obstacles will obstruct your path to the castle gate.
The Baconing was developed by Hothead Games and published by Valcon Games. It retails for 1200 MSP. A copy of the game was provided for review purposes.
The Baconing is the third installment in the DeathSpank series. Why it isn’t simply called DeathSpank 3 is a mystery but with a game this over the top it only seems appropriate. This game has the hero DeathSpank seeking to destroy the Thongs of Virtue by burning them in bacon fire. This mission will branch of into countless other directions as the citizens of the world give DeathSpank other quests to do as well. Those familiar with the series know about the over the top humor of the game and frantic combat of the game. But is this installment enough to win over the uninitiated?
Street Fighter 3: Third Strike Online Edition was co-developed by Capcom and Iron Galaxy Studios and published by Capcom. It was released August 24, 2011 and retails for 1200 MSP.
The 1999 arcade release of Street Fighter 3: Third Strike couldn't have come at a worse time. Fighting games had begun their decline in popularity along with the disappearance of local arcades in which to play them in. As a result, many gamers had to get their SF3 fix on the less than perfect iterations of Third Strike for Dreamcast and PlayStation 2, but now that the fighting genre is experiencing it's biggest boom in over a decade, Capcom saw the chance to reintroduce Street Fighter 3 to the masses. Is it still as relevant as they had hoped, or better yet, does it stand the test of time as one of the great brawlers?
Crazy Machines Elements was developed by Fakt Software and published by DTP Entertainment. It was released August 24, 2011 and retails for 800 MSP.
There are a handful of genres that are largely untapped on Xbox Live Arcade: MMOs, real-time strategy games, even some sports sub-genres such skateboarding. But one that's never been touched is that of a Rube Goldberg-esque puzzler. Crazy Machines Elements is an attempt to dive in and take the monopoly. Players must complete partially finished machines in order to complete a given objective. Now something like this could easily sink or swim based on the quality, but this is from Fakt Software, a team that is no stranger to machine games, having made them since 2005.
The Ms. Splosion Man table for Pinball FX 2 was developed by Zen Studios and retails for 240 MSP. It will release on August 31, 2011. A copy of the table was provided for review purposes.
Ms. Splosion Man is the latest table for Pinball FX 2 and the first non-Marvel table in some time. This time the theme is none other than the Twisted Pixel heroine, Ms. Splosion Man. But instead of platform action this battle will be won with a silver ball and a pair of flippers. Ms. Splosion Man must battle the agents of Big Science and Mr. Destructoid himself if there is to be any hope of rescuing Splosion Man. This table is rather short in length but doesn’t play particularly fast. It's in the middle of the line as far as difficulty goes compared to other tables in the series.
About two years ago, Signal Studios released the original Toy Soldiers on Xbox Love Arcade and it has since been one of the top selling XBLA games to date. With that success, a sequel was inevitable. Now, two years later, Toy Soldiers: Cold War sets out to improve on a formula that was pretty damn good to begin with.
Toy Soldiers: Cold War is an action tower defense game where you play as an American army of toy soldiers who are trying to keep the Soviet forces from invading their toy box. Aside from basic tower defense elements, Toy Soldiers: Cold War also contains many user-controlled vehicles, special abilities and the option to manually use each tower/emplacement. These additions make Toy Soldiers: Cold War a hectic, action-packed game that allows gamers to play it however they please. For players of the original Toy Soldiers, this is no surprise. But if you're a classic tower defense gamer, you better prepare for an incredible change of pace that adds up to countless hours of fun.
Fruit Ninja Kinect was developed by Halfbrick and was published by Xbox Live Arcade. It was released August 10, 2011 for 800 MSP. A code was provided by the developer for review.
If you have an Xbox 360, you may have a Kinect. If you have one you know the games library is still a bit small. Up until now all Kinect games were retail. Fruit Ninja Kinect is the port of the popular smart phone game Fruit Ninja, and it has the distinction of being the first Arcade Kinect game. Now you can truly be a ninja and take out your anger on a healthy army of fruit.
The game's premise is simple: fruit flies up onto the screen and you move your hand in a slicing motion to cut it in half. Cutting three or more fruit in one swipe yields a combo multiplier. Some modes feature fruit that have special properties such as slowing time, others feature bombs which the player must avoid. It also supports simultaneous two player competition.
Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet was developed by FuelCell & Gagné International and published by Microsoft. It will be released on August 3, 2011 as part of Summer of Arcade for 1200 MSP. A copy was provided for review purposes.
There’s always that one game during the Summer of Arcade that, at least initially, feels out of place among the others. It's usually the game with quirky mechanics, a very unique art style, or any other combination of things that set it apart from your average, mainstream game. Last year, Limbo seemed to be the game that built up that attention and this year it looks like Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet will be following that same trend. We can't say we're surprised, it received E3 2011 Best of Show award.
You play as a little alien confined to a mini UFO that must save the planet. You must maneuver into the depths of the core to save it from evil. The game features animation by Michel Gagné, a transplant from the movie industry who’s worked on Iron Giant and other animated films. It’s a gorgeous world filled with fear, not to mention it plays like a cross between Metroid and a shoot em' up. Was it worth the wait or was it undeserving of our accolade?
From Dust was developed by Ubisoft Montpellier and will be released for XBLA on July 26, 2011 for 1200 Microsoft Points. The game is part of Microsoft's Summer of Arcade promotion. A copy was provided for review purposes.
From Dust is the geo-centric strategy/god game brainchild of storied game designer Éric Chahi. It marks Chahi's long-awaited return to the industry and—perhaps more importantly—helps fill the gaping void in quality strategy games for downloadable platforms.
Bastion was developed by Supergiant Games and published by WB Games. It will be released on July 20, 2011 for 1200 MSP. A copy was provided for review purposes.
Bastion is kicking off the Microsoft's Summer of Arcade on July 20, 2011. This game, the first developed by Supergiant Games, puts you in control of the kid as you make your way through the demolished landscape of the once flourishing city of Caelondia. The Calamity ripped the world apart, and the Bastion is all that's left. The narrator tells the story of the kid as he works to gather the cores, place them into the monument, and bring more power back to the Bastion. So, is the Bastion worth re-building? Is the tale of the kid worth seeing? Is this the story worth be told?