What better way to spend the summer than with this month-long line-up of Xbox Live Arcade games that's sure to keep you locked up in your room while everyone else is out at the beach?
Ah, summer. That time of year when a gamer truly proves his or her mettle by saying no to outdoor barbeques, attractive people in swimwear and sunshine by settling deep into the couch and playing some freakin' videogames. And while summer has typically had a reputation for being "backlog clearing season" for its dearth of releases, Microsoft has plenty of offerings of the XBLA variety for their annual Summer of Arcade, which will run from July 22 to August 19.
Kicking off the season on July 22 is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time Re-shelled, the HD remix of the classic Konami side-scroller. Re-shelled will feature new 3D graphics and some tweaks to level and enemy design, and cost 1200 Microsoft Points.
A week later on July 29 is what we (and by "we" I mean myself) have been waiting what seems like forever for: Marvel vs. Capcom 2 (1200 MS Points). You guys probably already know the skinny on this one: HD-friendly graphics filters, widescreen support, online multiplayer and the chance to scream out "SCOOPS HAAGEN DASZ" over Xbox Live.
Microsoft must know me really well, because they seem to be aware of the fact that the only way to get me away from hyperactive 2D fighters is with one thing: explosions. Thus, The Maw developer Twisted Pixel Games' Splosion Man hits on August 5. It boasts 50 single-player levels and 50 multiplayer stages, and promises lots of platforming and 'sploding of things, if you didn't get your fill for that after seeing Transformers 2. It'll also be the only Summer of Arcade title that costs less than 1200 Points, with an 800 Point asking price.
The next week finds Redlynx's Trials franchise hitting on August 12 with Trials HD. If you played the Trials games on PC, you'll be familiar with the series' physics-based motorcycle platforming, where you try to guide a motocross bike through seriously challenging levels. Trials HD comes with 50 tracks and a level editor, and costs 1200 Microsoft Points.
Finally, the Summer of Arcade wraps up on August 19 with Shadow Complex (pictured), Epic Games' take on the Metroid-Castlevania formula of exploration-based action-platforming. Built in Unreal Engine 3, Shadow Complex promises the "quality and depth of a full retail game" with more than 10 hours of side-scrolling, item collection and power-up discoverin'.
Quite the summer. Who needs the beach? Socializing is totally overrated - you have the rest of the year for that.