Spotlight: Xbox Live Arcade

Being low on game-playing time lately I have turned to some of my favourite Xbox Live Arcade games. What I enjoy most about them is that I can load them up and have a good 10-20 minutes worth of fun, save and switch it off without much of a thought yet still satisfy my game playing ‘thirst’.

The Xbox Live Arcade has a deep and lengthy list of casual to hardcore games available for puchase and download on your console. There is of course a lot of trash, but amongst them there are some top choice excellent titles that rival even some of the Triple A titles that have been released recently.

What I present are a few of my favourite games that are currently available or download on the Marketplace:

1) Rez HD – Fascinating and simple concept. What you essentially have is a hacking avatar traversing the tricky networks to reach their goal. It comes in the form of a shoot ’em up-meets-3D that expands upon Space Invaders. That is probably the worst description, but if you give it a go yourself or even watch the video below you will quickly get a feel for it.

What I most enjoy about it is the multitude of play modes and ease of immersion. You can quickly fire it up and go a round in the modes available to you and feel challenged without the needy investment of other games out there. To boot there is a rocking soundtrack that is presented in the form of a multi-layered beat that is slowly formed into a full hitting dance track by the time you have reached the last area.

Excellent value for money and not to be missed (or at least tried).

2) Bionic Commando Re-Armed – Essentially what you have here is an old school NES game revamped, redesigned and re-armed for Xbox 360 go-go goodness.

If you were ever a fan of the original (or are old enough to remember) then you should like a second round at this classic game. With several modes of play and enhanced challenge rooms and of course the multiple achievements and items to acquire, Re-Armed is hard to pass up.While I haven’t heard great things on the later released, 3D version of Bionic Commando the 2D version still tickles my fancy. With a neat soundtrack and graphical overhaul to boot it should definitely be on the cards for a casual gaming rotation.

3) Shadow Complex – After first getting re-familiar with the world of Bionic Commando: Re-Armed Viperfish made me aware of this pretty little thing. While it may share a lot of similarities with Bionic Commando at first as well as games like Metroid (and probably more so) it takes the concept and injects more crazy-kungfu-shoot ’em-up goodness and busts into overdrive. That my friends is not a bad thing, it’s a good thing, oh my goodness it is indeed a good thing. Having managed to grapple me and keep me playing for hours on end the game was such a delight at a time when I really had nothing more to play.

It employs a leveling and upgrade system with plenty of save points to keep you from tearing your hair out, but don’t let that fool you there still are parts which can do this to you in the form of a challenge (not a bad thing at all!).

The storyline in this game isn’t anything to get excited about – typical save the girl and save the world rave – but I believe the game developers know this and didn’t let it get in the way of providing us with a game and style we can relate to and be unique enough for us to want to play it. Although it’s gimmicky, I love nothing more then putting a boot to those little robotics and watchin’ them soar.

Load it up, just for that.

In the coming weeks I will be providing more preview and peaks into other games available via Marketplace. There is such a treasure chest of games available here at the moment and it keeps increasing beyond just a dumping ground for old 8 bit games.


About the Author

Dan co-hosts the Gameolio Podcast and handles the administration of the website. Occasional poster and frequent deleter with a strange love of the colour green.