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Summer of Arcade 2010 Recap

Now that the Summer of Arcade has come and gone, click through to see what PixlBit thought of each of the five games.

Microsoft's Summer of Arcade is now in its third year, and following in the tradition, the biggest XBLA games of the year have been made available for player consumption.

Similar to years past, the mix this year is eclectic, featuring single-player, multiplayer, artistic, and traditional titles. Limbo, Hydro Thunder Hurricane, Castlevania: Harmony of Despair, Monday Night Combat, and Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light comprise this year's releases, and fortunately PixlBit has had the opportunity to review all of them.

Below is a compilation of all five of our reviews in order of release with a link to the full-text of the article.

July 21

1200 MS Points

Though Limbo may be a great choice for gamers who enjoy puzzle games that require perfection, the three hour experience is pricey at $15.

"Considering all of these elements, Limbo is clearly a game that will appeal to some, but not appeal to many others. Those who do not enjoy redoing tasks several times will easily become frustrated, and should avoid the game altogether, whereas those who seek a challenge that focuses on perfection will undoubtedly be entertained. However, the poor execution of the story and the short length of the game may even dissuade those who wouldn’t mind the puzzle experience provided here." - Chessa DiMola

July 28

1200 MS Points

For arcade racer fans who loved the original version and love to perfect their run times and scores.

"Hydro Thunder Hurricane has provided a great step back in time to the arcade glory days. Thankfully the whole world has the opportunity to play, so the leaderboards that were once localized to a single machine are now spread out to all who play the game. Players who enjoy racing games with a simple purpose and a high level of replayability will find themselves enjoying the fast-paced, addictive qualities of Hydro Thunder Hurricane. If you don't see yourself pushing through tracks multiple times to achieve the highest score possible, Hurricane might have some seriously limited appeal, but your first run through should still be a blast." - Nick DiMola

August 4

1200 MS Points

For those who like grinding games and being confused.

"In the end I am left thinking of Harmony of Despair as it could have been. The ingredients were in place for a great product but lack of usability and call for excessive grinding has crippled the experience." - Stanton Daries

August 11

1200 MS Points

For fans of tower defense and/or Team Fortress 2.

"Those looking for a solid team game can't go wrong with Monday Night Combat, but for most, a week with the title will be enough to convince players to move on to the next game. For others who can obsess over a single game, there's no question that across all of the in-game classes there's a significant amount of content to explore, particulary for those looking to increase their gamer score." - Nick DiMola

August 18

1200 MS Points

For puzzle fans and those looking for a deeper co-operative experience.

"All-in-all, Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light is a solid experiece that only wears thin in its later hours. Players looking for a unique and engaging co-operative title needn't look farther, though for the time being, players who don't have a local friend to play the game with may want to wait until the title's online multiplayer mode is unlocked as the single player experience doesn't prove to be nearly as interesting as the multi-faceted co-operative mode." - Nick DiMola



Jason Ross Senior Editor

09/18/2010 at 06:29 PM

From my impressions, I'd say Limbo isn't worth it, but the rest deserve consideration. Personally, if I had a 360, I'd probably have Monday Night Combat and I'd be considering Lara Croft.

Nick DiMola Director

09/18/2010 at 08:07 PM

Out of the five, I probably enjoyed Hydro Thunder the most, with Lara Croft as a close second. Really, Lara Croft totally threw me off guard. I had no real expectations going in, but I wasn't too keen on the idea of the top-down approach. As it turned out, it's probably one of, if not the, best co-op titles of the year.

Castlevania was a big letdown, though I had my doubts about that one as well. Regardless of the weird design of the whole game, I thought it would pan out to be just as much fun as the other Metroidvania-style games have been, but it turned out to be frustrating, annoying, and cryptic to say the least.

Monday Night Combat was a decent enough idea, but I found myself growing bored of it pretty quickly, especially with the seemingly unbalanced Spy class.

Limbo was a slightly better-than-average game, but nothing special at all. I don't quite understand the media love for it, and I can't say that I'd recommend it after going through the whole game in a mere 2 hours, especially at $15.

Jason Ross Senior Editor

09/21/2010 at 09:35 PM

I've read the online co-op for the PSN version of Lara Croft would also be missing initially, just like in the 360 version. I suppose anyone reading can consider this a heads-up if he or she is interested.

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