Microsoft has announced the release dates and prices for their five Summer of Arcade games. Each summer, Microsoft picks a handful of top-quality arcade games to release in their popular Summer of Arcade event.
The picks for 2011 are Bastion (July 20th), From Dust (July 27th), Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet (August 3rd), Fruit Ninja Kinect (August 10th), and Toy Soldiers: Cold War (August 17th.)
Fruit Ninja Kinect is the only game being sold for $10 (800 points) and is a knock-off of the popular mobile game, also entitled Fruit Ninja. The game features types of fruits being tossed through the air and it is up to you, the appointed Fruit Ninja, to slice and dice them apart.
This one has absolutely no appeal to me. Slicing fruit on my EVO screen didn’t really evolve my Jigglypuff, but I know some people think that Fruit Ninja is the best mini-game ever and I imagine those are the same people who think the Kinect is worth buying at this point in time. So perhaps this combination is pure gold.
Visit the Official Fruit Ninja Kinect Site for more information.
From Dust, priced at $15, has the player protecting their tribe against the forces of nature, with the elements of nature. From Dust allows players to solve puzzles using the elements in order to prevent their assigned tribe from being wiped out of existence.
From Dust has me much more interested than Fruit Ninja does. I don’t know if I can justify throwing down $12 straightaway, but I could easily see myself picking this one up whenever it goes on sale at some point in the future.
Bastion, ($15) is an action-rpg where your actions are narrated as you make them. I suppose relations can be drawn from games like Mass Effect to Bastion, but as far as how deep the impact of your decisions go, that has yet to be seen.
Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet ($15) is a side-scroller who has artists that have worked on such animated classics as The Land Before Time and The Iron Giant. Players control a scientist as he explores an alien planet in his UFO. Armed with a laser and a mechanical claw, the driving force behind ITSP is the element of discovery. Use the claw to pick up interesting objects, use the laser to keep the aliens at bay, and upgrade your ship to fully discover all the elements the game has to offer.
Check out some of Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet’s concept art on their official website.
Toy Soldiers: Cold War ($15) is a follow-up to 2010’s Toy Soldiers. This action-RTS has players controlling a battle of toy soldiers as they fight across landscapes modeled to fit on a coffee table. The most notable feature of the Toy Soldier games is the ability to control armies in the traditional “god mode” RTS style, and alternatively you can select individual units to control in the more traditional 3rd person shooter style. So if your units are taking a particular heavy beating on one front, let the AI relieve you of command duty for the time being, and hop in a machine gun turret to ensure that the front holds…no how much plastic is broken.
So 2011’s Summer of Arcade has games for everyone. A quirky family-friendly Kinect game, a puzzler, an RPG, an artsy platformer, and an all around solid action game.