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Friday Five: Five XBLA Titles to Watch Out For

Posted by Ken Barnes

XBLA is still going strong.

The next generation of Xbox gaming is just around the corner, and while we don’t know what that means for Xbox Live Arcade – it’s something that hasn’t been discussed at all really, as yet – there’s still plenty of downloadable fun to look forward to in 2013.
So in this week’s Friday Five, we’re running through five XBLA titles that you should definitely keep an eye on.

Developed by Starbreeze Studios, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons gives players control of two brothers – one controlled with the left stick, the other with the right – as they solve puzzles and traverse obstacles in an attempt to find a cure for their sick father. The footage we’ve seen implies that the game won’t be difficult persay, rather it’ll be a more casual, rewarding experience. This one is due in the spring.

What more can be said about the Mega Drive/Genesis title Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse? Sega seem to think that quite a bit can still be said, as they’re taking the story from that platforming classic, and applying it to a “re-imagined” version of the game which seems to have more in common with the likes of Crash Bandicoot et al, than the old-school side-scrolling platforming action of the original. The IP and the story are two major ingredients here, but we’re hoping that Sega Studios Australia get that 3D action matching up, quality-wise.

In the same vein as Castle of Illusion, comes DuckTales Remastered. This reboot of an absolute stone-cold classic from the NES software library is in development with WayForward Technologies – who have done fantastic jobs of updating some superb franchises (Double Dragon NEON, A Boy and His Blob) of late. With updated graphics and a few new features, this won’t be as big a reinvention as Mickey’s game looks to be, but we’re relatively sure that this will be one that you can’t afford to miss out on all the same.

The original Full House Poker is still drawing the crowds on Xbox Live Arcade after being released back in March 2011, thanks to seasonal tournament schedules and the thrill of competing against other real players. The “TV Show” format used in the Texas Heat events in that game are something of a revolution, and with the licensing deals in place World Series of Poker: Full House Pro looks to be a sure-fire winner.

This follows on from last week’s Friday Five somewhat, given our pining for a bit of Gitaroo Man. Way of The Dogg is a game based on Snoop Dogg/Snoop Lion/Snoop Doggy Dogg/Huggy Bear from the Starsky and Hutch film remake, that looks to fuse music with combat. From what we have seen, it looks like the closest thing to Gitaroo Man that we’re going to get for a while – so we’re hoping that this is a bit of a surprise hit, and not just a terrible cash-in based on a name.

So how about you? Are there any XBLA titles that you’re really looking forward to in 2013? There are plenty to choose from – Far Cry: Blood Dragon, Ride to Hell, Thunder Wolves, Cloudberry Kingdom…the list goes on. Hopefully, it goes on into the next generation, too…

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