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Xbox Live Arcade Showcase

Microsoft put its brightest and best on display at its Xbox Live Arcade stand last week.

And true to the platform's wide range of genres, there was something for everyone. Here's our impressions so you know to plan out your future purchases.

Xbox Live Arcade Showcase

Bloodforge
Premiere: Summer

A Skit Cursed Warrior gets even angrier when a god kills his wife. The warrior decides to murder everything that stands between him and his revenge. Sound familiar? Blood Forge feels like God of War inspired by Celtic mythology. For an Arcade game, it's very ambitious. Expect high production values, three different weapons, a lot of magic and a lot of upgrading. And not forgetting the brutally sculpted design, with blood spraying in all directions. Blood Forge promises to be really good, basically.

Xbox Live Arcade Showcase

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
Premiere: Spring

It was many years ago we saw a new Counter-Strike. Although much has happened since then that classic feeling is completely intact in the upcoming Global Offensive. Valve ignore perks, quick knife attacks and short distance running and focusing instead on the genre's foundations: Calculating the recoil and accuracy to get well-placed shots. If you like the series already then this will be a must, and for those unfamiliar with it, there's not many other similar experiences on XBLA.

Xbox Live Arcade Showcase

Deadlight
Premiere: Summer

In Tequila Works upcoming Arcade games meet The Walking Dead with Limbo's deadly puzzle-platform thinking. Here we follow survivor Randall who decides to escape from a zombie-infested Seattle in the 1980s. Just as in any zombie game, there are a number of weapons to use, but that's not always the solution. Deadlight is instead about survival, and usually it's smartest to just run. Take a look at the stunning design and you'll understand why the game had so many visitors at its booth. While not confirmed, it's a possible contender for one of Summer of Arcade titles.

Xbox Live Arcade Showcase

Diabolical Pitch
Premiere: 2012

When the world's best ball pitcher hurt his arm, he wakes up in hell carnival and forced to throw balls of bloodthirsty mascots. It may sound a bit absurd, but such is common place with Grasshopper Manufacture. It's upcoming Arcade game is controlled exclusively by Kinect. It remains to be seen how long it's fun to throw a ball, kick, jump and crouch in front of the TV screen, but we're at least intrigued at the concept.

Xbox Live Arcade Showcase

Fable: Heroes
Premiere: Summer

Lionhead is working not only on Fable: The Journey, but also a brand new adventure for Xbox Live Arcade called Fable: Heroes. Here it's no longer about role playing and quests, but instead of clearing up Albion with three friends. All characters have unique abilities that can be upgraded throughout the game, and the environments are based on cities and landscapes from earlier parts of the series.

Xbox Live Arcade Showcase

Joe Danger: The Movie
Premiere: 2012

Gaming's most loved Daredevil is back, and this time he tries to become Hollywood's best stuntman. In Joe Danger: The Movie you race through movie scenes, so expect the need to escape from boulders, fighting dinosaurs and disarm nuclear weapons. New multiplayer modes offer many opportunities to try out crazy vehicles jetpacks and personal watercraft.

Xbox Live Arcade Showcase

Minecraft
Premiere: Spring

Minecraft's endless possibilities come to Xbox Live Arcade and includes everything from the PC version - and then some. A new training mode teaches newcomers basics of the game, and the new crafting system makes it easier than ever to create materials and objects. Best of all, however, is support for co-op split-screen, which will probably take the beloved concept to new heights.

Xbox Live Arcade Showcase

Quantum Conundrum
Premiere: Summer

A new game by Kim Swift, who previously designed Portal? Yes please! In Quantum Conundrum, we explore the test chamber where we leap between different dimensions to solve puzzles. Is a safe too heavy to lift? Head to the light-grav fluffy dimension where everything is easier to lift...and pink. Time passes too quickly? Then change to the dimension where everything goes in slow motion. We have only played a few stages but we can imagine Conundrum Quantum will match even Valve's puzzle classic when you've mastered the game mechanics.

Xbox Live Arcade Showcase

South Park: Tenorman's Revenge
Premiere: Spring

Microsoft and Other Ocean Interactive work together with the creators of South Park for an epic rendition of the time Cartman's stepbrother stole the gang's Xbox 360 Hard Drive. It's a journey through space and time where everything from monkeys to robots with red hair await the kids. Four people can enjoy the two-dimensional platform making, and there is also plenty of action with wacky weapons and boss battles.

Xbox Live Arcade Showcase

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD
Premiere: Summer

With a brand new graphics engine and material from the first two games of the series, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD seems to make up for franchise's diminishing latter years. Minutes turn to hours as we sit down with the game and the original point-chasing addiction scratched against our brain. Whether you're an old fan or just hungry for adrenaline-pumping arcade fun, you should check out this when it launches this summer.

Xbox Live Arcade Showcase

Trials Evolution
Premiere: April
Most played during Showcase? Definitely Trials Evolution. Journalists, PR professionals and game developers roar good-naturedly at each other for hours when the game's multiplayer component was tested. The list of innovations do not end at the multiplayer. Evolution offers a range of new game modes and a powerful map editor that the developers themselves used to build many of the game's tracks. We get a brief demo showing the engine running a mock flight simulator, Angry Birds-style min-game, first person shooter, even a table football game. Evolution feels like Little Big Planet , but with motorcycles and lots of explosions, and was one of the best titles we saw at the show.

Xbox Live Arcade Showcase

Wreckateer
Premiere: Summer

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Wreckateer has you controlling a massive siege weapon while trying to knock down increasingly-complex towers and castles for points. It's a medieval Angry Birds, with bricks and mortar rather than pigs. Basically it's about aiming, shoot and then controlling your fired stones during their arc to do as much damage as possible, giving the player more points. A number of different stones with unique abilities can be used on 60 different stage.



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