Hurray, it’s that time of year again, when lesser mortals go to beach resorts and have sand kicked in their faces, while heroic Xbox gamers stay in to be entertained by a stream of fabulous downloadable titles. The 2012 edition of Microsoft’s popular Summer of Arcade features five new titles handpicked by Xbox experts and fed to us in weekly game gulps.
Here’s a quick rundown of the treats on offer.
July 18: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD
Converted to Xbox by Robomodo, the creators of Tony Hawk Ride, this is a combination of the first two Tony Hawk titles, featuring the same physics and geometry but with shiny new HD visuals and some extra touches. We played it at Microsoft’s spring showcase earlier this year and it feels really authentic, and perfectly tuned to the 360 controller. The fresh batch of multiplayer modes should add extra appeal too. You can read our preview here.
July 25: Wreckateer
This Kinect-controlled 3D take on Angry Birds has you demolishing a series of castles by firing various missiles at them. The fun part is, you control the cannon balls in mid-air using gestures, ensuring that you hit the most lucrative titles. The best bits are when you use the special guided missiles which you effectively fly yourself by spreading your arms out and pretending to be a plane. It’s an obvious idea, but it’s well implemented and should provide much family fun when it’s raining outside or the barbecue has blown up or something. We have a preview here and another one here.
August 1: Deadlight
Ooh, this is the biggies as far as we’re concerned – a post-apocalyptic zombie adventure, set in a devastated Seattle. The structure is pure cinematic 2D platformer – think Flashback – with some absolutely stunning environments, lots of fiendish puzzles and plenty of ravenous zombies to eat you ravenously when you fail at the fiendish puzzles. Deadlight just oozes style and atmosphere, like a zombie oozes necrotic juices. We have a preview here.
August 8: Hybrid
A third-person cover-based shooter from 5th Cell, the makers of Scribblenauts, you say? Oh go on then. But this is no ordinary third-person cover-based shooter – the control system has been radically re-mapped to use buttons for instant movements rather than relying on the analogue stick. Oh and you can fly on to walls and ceilings thanks to your jetpack. Thanks, jetpack!
August 15: Dust – An Elysian Tail
The winner of the 2009 Microsoft Dream.Build.Play Challenge has been delayed a couple of times – hardly surprising as this visually astounding title is largely the work of just one coder, Dean Dodrill. However, it is now on track to close this summer’s Arcade extravaganza, presenting us with a richly detailed scrolling RPG adventure following eponymous hero Dust as he attempts to save his remote village. Somehow, a traditionally animated movie is also in the works! Find out more at the official website.
So which of these summer treats are you most looking forward to?