Xbox Live Arcade: Vol. 1

Xbox Live Arcade Unplugged Volume 1 is, as the title suggests, the first volume in a series of Xbox Live Arcade packs for people who can’t - for whatever reason - access Xbox Live. Even people with Xbox Live may find this a nice alternative to downloading, as it bypasses the need for Microsoft points and, at the same time, acts as a backup copy.

The games themselves range from easy to extremely hard; Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved is especially hard, as it requires fast arcade reflexes - certainly a bit different to the comparatively easy board/card games.

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Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved – This plays like a mix of Robotron and Asteroids, except it’s a lot prettier than both, even in classic mode. It also happens to be the hardest games in the pack and will hand a newbie’s arse to them on a silver platter. Fortunately, all the other games are easier.

Texas hold’em – In this poker game each player has their gamer pictures and names displayed, so it makes for an ideal party game. The single player game features modes, with tournaments, dozens of scenarios, and a standard game.

Outpost Kaloki X – In this space station management sim you build on a number of expansion slots to reach level goals. The further you get, the more slots the stations have to build on and more goals you have to achieve.

Bejeweled 2 – It’s a classic puzzle title; match three of the same jewel to eliminate them, match more to score bonuses such as jewels that will destroy the ones surrounding, or even all the jewels of the same colour currently on screen.

Wik: Fable of Souls – In this 2D platform game players move around by aiming Wik and jumping. There are number of platforms Wik can bounce off and trees it can swing from in an effort to catch grubs and feed them at his mule named Slotham at the bottom of the level. However, Slotham slowly walks across the screen, making it important to catch the grubs as soon as possible.

Hardwood Backgammon – A suggestive name for a classic board game, Hardwood backgammon. That says it all for this title: fans of the board game will get a kick out of playing against friends on Xbox live – and probably wiping the floor with anyone who doesn’t know how to play.

These games - with the exception of Hardwood Backgammon - are all pick up and play friendly, albeit difficult to master. Unplugged is perfect for anyone looking for an arcade fix or party compilation, and with a low price point of $50 gives you what you want in a budget title, and more.

"Delivers all the fun of XLA in one cheap package."
- Xbox Live Arcade Unplugged: Volume 1
Follow Own it? Rating: PG   Difficulty: Insane   Learning Curve: 5 Min


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