Every month, Official XBox Magazine (OXM) provides its customers with a demo disc. Here are some games from last month and this month’s games.
Dev: EA Bright Light
released for PSN and XBLA
single player and co-operative play
ESRB rating E10+ for fantasy blood and animated violence
The game is a platformer, so hand-eye coordination is used extensively. There is an element of progression, in that certain moves are unlocked and must be used as tools to get to deeper gameplay. There is a co-op mode, which is a benefit for those looking for a social aspect, and apparently some sort of monetary system that can be used to upgrade your character. This leads to learning more about financial responsibility since you have to “save up” for what you really want or make the decision to buy something cheaper that you can get now. The demo was VERY short, so I can’t really say much about it. Your character punches, kicks, and does flying attacks at other robots. Other than that, the game seems very tame. If you let your kids play Mario, this should be fine as well. However, the game has not been received well, with some saying the combat is too simple (which is not an issue for the 10 year olds who may play) and that the camera is not helpful.
Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime
Dev: Behaviour Interactive
Platforms: XBLA, PSN, Windows
Single player, up to four player co-op
ESRB: E10+, fantasy violence
A new pack of Ghostbusters arrives, and even has one of the characters played by a girl. When you have all boys, have fun fighting over who has to play the “pink” one… and when you have more than one girl… well, we all know we don’t care. I’ll take the girl when there is one, but I won’t fight over it. The game is presented in comic book style, with a top down view. Use the left stick to move, the right to aim and shoot. Each gun has a color associated with it that is used to defeat certain color enemies. There is a revive feature that allows your buddies (or the AI) to bring you back up should you fall, but if all four fall, it’s game over. Since the violence is really just laser beams shot at ghosts, not people, I’d say the violence is fairly negligible. Again, if you let your kids play Mario, you probably won’t have a problem with this… unless you have a problem with the undead.
Bejeweled Blitz Live
PopCap, Torpex, ESRB: E
No violence, no swearing, just a good, old-fashioned puzzle game. Switch gems to line up three in a row in classic mode, or rotate four at a time to do the same in Bejeweled Twist. This is a popular game on Facebook, and assuming your child doesn’t get bored easily, this may be a good choice. It’s also good for the casual gamer who just wants to play a round of Solitaire, but is bored with cards.
WWE All Stars
DEV: THQ San Diego
Platforms: PS2, PS3, PSP, Wii, XBox 360
ESRB: Teen, Alcohol, Language, Violence
A cartoonish fighting game, the demo only featured The Ultimate Warrior and Rey Mysterio for playable characters. The full list includes classic legends as well as contemporary wrestlers, like Triple H, The Undertaker, John Cena, Hulk Hogan, & “Macho Man” Randy Savage (RIP). The wrestlers have signature moves, and combos and reversals have a big part in the gameplay. There is a single player campaign type mode, where one legend or superstar is taken up to become WWE Champion, the World Heavyweight Champion, or the WWE Tag Team Champions. I enjoyed the slow motion camera when big moves were being performed, not only to get a better appreciation for what the characters were doing, but also to get my reversals in on time. As for your kids, I’d say if they are allowed to watch “real” wrestling, this game won’t likely give them anything worse.
Fancy Pants Adventure
DEV: Brad Borne, Over the Top Games
Publisher: Armor Games (Flash), EA 2D (Console)
Platforms: Browser, XBLA, PSN
Single player, multiplayer on consoles
ESRB: Everyone, Mild Cartoon Violence
Again, the violence is akin to Mario, stomping on spider heads. Like Mario, it is a platforming game, with squiggles to collect instead of coins. Use momentum and wall-jumping to reach new heights and find secret areas. There is a collection aspect to the game, which increases the potential replay value, since you have to find all 120 (or so) outfit choices. The graphics are cute, mostly just stick drawings. This demo looked promising. Another title fit for Mario kids.
Dev: Baboom Games
A classic “reimagined” for the XBox, the original game was the best selling original title for the Atari 2600. The game is a fixed shooter, where the screen scrolls along with your flying character, and you move around the screen to shoot your enemies. This style of play seems dated to me, and not as cool or interesting as it was back in the 80s. The game itself is set as an anime style comic book, and the part I saw in the demo made little to no sense, as if it were a bad translation. I’d say skip this one, and the other fixed shooter on the disc- Strania. Strania, on the plus side, however, introduces a new element, by picking up particular weapons in each hand. See a laser you like? Put it in your left hand. Want that gun? Put it in your right. An interesting mechanic, but not enough to save it from the so-retro-it-should-still-be-in-storage list.