The Xbox Live Arcade has been a run away success so far with a host of superb games released so far and more to come. Unfortunately if you have no access to Xbox live due to a lack of broadband you had no choice but to miss out. Now though Microsoft have released Xbox Live Arcade Unplugged. Now you don't have to miss out!
The idea of Xbox Live Arcade unplugged is simple. It is a disc containing six full live arcade titles which are Bejeweled 2, Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved, Hardwood Backgammon, Outpost Kaloki X, Texas Hold'em Poker and Wik: Fable Of Souls. Also included on the disc are demo's of Feeding Frenzy, Marble Blast Ultra and UNO.
Also included in the package is a one month free subscription to Xbox Live. Not bad for the measly sum of £29.99. All of these games have been available on the arcade to download for a while but are well worth picking up if you haven't done so already.
Bejeweled 2 is aimed at anyone even if you are not a gamer it is one of those games that you can pick up and play easily. The premise of the game is simple. You move jewels to line up three or more to make them disappear.
There are plenty of modes to choose from such as puzzle, classic and endless. After completing some modes though you will unlock even more modes such as Cognito. All the game types that you unlock are similar to previous modes but are a lot harder and add a lot of lasting appeal to the game.
With so many different modes to play and a whole host of difficult achievements to get Bejeweled 2 is going to last anyone for a long time.. For the full low-down on Bejeweled 2 please click Here.
Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved
Originally Geo Wars started of as test code and eventually was put into PGR 2 as a secret mini game. Now it has been revamped and given a huge make over for Xbox Live Arcade.
If there is one game that will infuriate you it is this game. Geo Wars is a simplistic shooter that looks fantastic, but can be brutally punishing and addictive to play at the same time.
You control a ship in a small box area and legions upon legions of enemies' spawn that you must wipe out. The controls are simplistic with the left analogue stick controlling your ship and the right controlling which direction you are shooting.
It is possibly one of the best pick up and play games available and in short burst is instantly gratifying. Though if you are trying for the big scores, it can get extremely frustrating at times. The full review can be found Here
Backgammon is like many board games; you love it, hate it or have never even tried it. It is a simple game played between two players on a fold out board. The main goal for each player is to get their checkers off the board before there opponent does.
To do this each player rolls two dice and moves their checkers around the board the amount times shown on the dice. Each player must get all of their checkers to their 'Home board' before they can move them of the board.
Once all of a players checkers are in their 'Home Board' they can then proceed to 'Bear Off'. 'Bearing Off' means to move all of your pieces of the board. Who ever accomplishes this first wins. The full review for this title can be found Here
Cards, Aliens And A Tongue Swinging Hero!
Outpost Kaloki X
In this game it is your job to successfully run a space station. At the beginning of each level you have set objectives and you must complete them before the time runs out. You achieve this by building new structures this in turn unlocks new building available for construction.
All buildings will make you money apart form the buildings that supply you with power. This is where your management skills are really tested as you have to get the right balance of power, repair garages and business to be successful.
There is one small catch you to this though. Your space station can only have a limited number of buildings at once. This means you have to get the right balance of what buildings you want. You can always sell any that you decide you don't want anymore though.
It's a very unique title that may never have seen the light of day if it wasn't for the Xbox Live Arcade and our review can be found Here
Texas Hold'em Poker
Poker is huge nowadays, from live poker tournaments on TV to local pub games it is every where. One of the most popular variants of poker is Texas Hold'em. A simple game where each player is dealt 2 cards.
Players then bet on them cards and as the game progresses five more cards will be placed in the centre of the table for all to see. It is then up to the player to decide if they should bet or not. The player with the best hand comprised of their two cards and the cards in the middle of the table win the money in the pot.
Poker is an engrossing game and with single player tournaments and online play available. Texas Hold'em Poker will last anyone a long time to come. It does have its downsides however and you can find out all about it from our full Review
Wik: The Fable Of Souls
Strange games have never been all that rare, but you will be hard pressed to find one stranger than Wik: The Fable Of Souls. You play Wik a strange looking character who you must control through out 120 single player levels of puzzle and action fun.
Your goal is to grab as many bugs and give them to you friend Slotham as quickly as you can. All the time fighting against other insects who want to carry the bugs away. The controls are simple and the gameplay is fast paced and great fun.
At times the game will get extremely hectic and on some of the later levels it can be extremely hard. Our full review goes into more detail on all the gameplay elements of the game so check it out Now
As mentioned earlier on there also some demos included in the pack. First up is Feeding Frenzy. Set underwater you take control of a fish and have to dodge to survive and eat to grow big and strong.
Marble Blast Ultra's premise is very simple get your marble from one place to another as quick as you can. Though with all manner of puzzles and obstacles in your way it is not as easy as it sounds.
Last but not least is UNO a card game where the only way to win is to get rid of all your cards. You do this by putting cards down on the same number or colour as you go. To spice things up there is also cards that make people pick up cards, miss turns, change the current colour or reverse the order.
All the demos are fairly limited but do give you a bit more insight into what the xbox live arcade is all about. Unfortunately though if you are buying this disc the likely hood is that you do not have Xbox Live. So you do not have any way to get hold of the full versions of these games. So while it does add extra depth to the disc it doesn't really make sense to include them.
Microsoft has put together a great package with a good range of quality Live Arcade titles at a reasonable price. The games that really stand out are Outpost Kaloki X, Bejeweled 2 and Wik: The Fable Of Souls.
On the whole Xbox Live Arcade Unplugged is a great idea to bring games to people who would otherwise miss out. If however you do have Xbox Live there really is little point in buying this.