You Should Try This! - Xbox Marketplace Mini-Reviews
When the winter holiday season rolls around, while some people may be waiting for Cyber-Monday or stalking out the mall for sales, video gamers are awaiting the numerous sales that hit on Steam, PSN, and the Xbox Marketplace. 2012 was no exception and, for me, the sales opened up the opportunities to try out several new games I was excited to try and a few classics that I was excited to play again.
Jet Set Radio (800 MS Points, also available on PS3, PS Vita, iOS, Android)
While I have discussed my love of Jet Set Radio before, this year's sale gave me the chance to indulge in the Xbox Arcade version of this classic. Combining awesome 90s electronic/hip-hop with graffiti and rollerblading, Jet Set Radio is both nostalgia-inducing and extremely timely for a game focused around aggressive inline skating. Players skate around a fictional Tokyo, tagging buildings and escaping from the cops to save their turf from a rival rollerblading game. Originally launched for the Dreamcast, it has lost none of its vibrancy and kitschy fun.
Trials HD (800 MS Points, soon to be available on PC)
Trials HD was the example of game that I purchased without knowing anything besides that people enjoyed it. I was doubtful on the sales screen when I saw the BMX bike rider, I was dubious when I read the description, but I was overjoyed to be completely wrong when I actually started playing. Trials HD is part demolition derby, part physics lesson, taking you through difficult motorcycle courses while explosions go off around you and you struggle to stay on your bike. Using your controls to keep yourself balanced, you ride through precarious settings while trying not to crash and (literally) burn. Plus the addictive quality of the game can not be overlooked as I watched two hours disappear as I set forth to conquer all of the easy difficulty levels. It is challenging, fun, and appeals to everyone's inner perfectionist.
The Walking Dead: The Video Game - Episode 1 (400 MS Points, also available on PS3, iOS, and PC)
The Walking Dead was offered free over the Christmas holiday on Xbox, allowing me the chance to test it out. A fan of the comic book, I had never connected with the television show and was a little nervous to give the video game a shot. However, within minutes of starting the game, my palms were sweating, my heart was racing, and I was genuinely scared to see what was going to happen. The game only grew more anxious and scary as it continued and I met Clementine, my little girl traveling companion and I was suddenly in charge of making sure we both survived. While I didn't love every puzzle and the controls can be difficult to adjust to at first, the story outshines any of these minor complaints. This is a horror game done right and I definitely suggest trying it out.
Crazy Taxi (800 MS Points, also available on PS3, iOS, and PC)
Another game that originated in the era of Dreamcast and Playstation, Crazy Taxi is a classic title ported over to Xbox to be enjoyed on a new platform. Set in a California city that looks very much like San Francisco, the game makes you a taxi driver and has you break every traffic law to ensure your customers get to their destination on time. While the game's imagery has not aged as well and the original soundtrack (featuring Bad Religion and the Offspring) has not been ported over, it is still immense fun and a great way to spend some time gaming if you only have a little while to devote.
Fez (800 MS Points)
After watching Indie Game: The Movie, I had been very excited to try out one of the featured games. Fez lived up to all of my expectations and then some, crafting a beautiful landscape with unique game play and a story that engages you from the beginning. Your character starts the game in a 2D world, seeing life in limited scope. But within the beginning of the story, you suddenly gain the ability to see dimensions and what is hidden where the world can not see. Out of all of the games I've reviewed today, this is the one I would mostly highly recommend and suggest that you seek out.