I hope everyone turned a page on their calendars, as today brings us our first Xbox LIVE Wrap-Up for the month of February 2010. This week we’re looking ahead to many more updates in order to see what is in store for Xbox LIVE gamers. The week of February 4 is actually pulling in the return of the game demo, one of 2009’s sleeper hits goes on the price chopping block for seven days and, of course, we have our normal lineups of Games on Demand, Xbox LIVE Arcade, Music Marketplace updates and more, so let’s just cut to the chase and dive right into what you’ll be seeing this week.
Xbox LIVE Arcade – Chime
The Xbox LIVE service lands yet another music-based puzzler, but the combination of Zoe Mode and OneBigGame is really making this entry unique. OneBigGame was formed in 2007 as a nonprofit publisher and it has pledged, at least for a limited time, a minimum of 60 percent of the sales pulled in from Chime will be donated to children’s charities. When you consider the good cause and the fact Chime weighs in at only 400 Microsoft Points, the game sounds like quite a beneficial proposition, doesn’t it?
Chime looks to pull some inspiration from titles such as Lumines and Tetris, featuring pieces that must be arranged in a square or rectangular fashion in order to have them locked into place on the game board. A sweeping line keeps pace along with the song’s tempo and locks the pieces as the line passes over, revealing more layers of the songs included in the game. The title includes Phillip Glass, Markus Schulz, Moby, Orbital, and Lemon Jelly among its acts and is available now on Xbox LIVE Arcade.
As promised, we do now have a review of Death by Cube up courtesy of Sean Madson, while I took the time to give a thorough review of KrissX, last week’s Arcade edition. If you’re still holding out on those titles, you can see what our staff thought about them and you can expect a full review of Vandal Hearts in just a couple of days’ time.
Xbox Deal of the Week – Splosion Man is now 400 Microsoft Points
The crazy sleeper hit from 2009 is now back in the spotlight, being featured at half price in Xbox LIVE’s Deal of the Week. I, personally, have not been able to check this title, but given the word of mouth I’ve heard about the title, the price might finally be ripe enough for me to snatch it up. I was able to dabble with demo for a very brief time and what I saw was a very interesting platforming/puzzle hybrid and many gamers like to note it was one of the very first titles to offer up avatar awards. We unfortunately have no reviews on Diehard GameFAN for the title, however, if you would like to see what the game is all about, you can check out our Splosion Man screenshot gallery.
Game Add-Ons – 0D Beat Drop
I was just notified today one of my favorite recently-added Xbox LIVE Arcade titles is receiving an add-on pack, as Arc System Works’ music-based puzzle title 0D Beat Drop now has an additional BlazBlue-themed DLC pack available for it. This week is going to be good for music-puzzle gamers, I suppose. At 320 Microsoft Points, the pack contains new stage skins and music based on the themes of Noel, Nu, and Tsubaki from BlazBlue. The addition also adds a new Planet Quest + option to use the skins in the single player game and a DLC-only leaderboard is added for those with the extra content.
Games on Demand – DanceDanceRevolution Universe 3
This week, Konami’s last (and perhaps final) entry in the Universe line of DDR titles falls onto the Games on Demand service for the price of $29.99, officially marking the first time the game could be purchased “new”Â without having to adopt yet another dance pad into your home. Although the game had some disc access and framerate kinks, Universe 3 is easily one of the best recent entries in the series you can buy, unless you’re a diehard for mainstream songs. There is a good amount of song content original to the title, a wide variety of song genres, and the game can be as easy or difficult as you want it to be. Not since DDR Extreme 2 for the Playstation 2 have I put so much time into a home DDR title, so this one definitely gets the D.J. Tatsujin stamp of approval if you’re willing to give something new and original a shot. Mark B. reviewed Universe 3 upon its release in 2008, noting the same technical issues, but given how much of a nose dive the series has taken in the past few years, Universe 3 is probably the only great DDR game to come out in a while aside from some of the Hottest Party content. Obviously, it would be wise to own a dance pad before picking this one up, but, hey, I like playing the title using nothing but a 360 controller just fine.
If you do not live in North America or Asia, however, you will find Medal of Honor Airborne has been added to the On Demand lineup.
This week sees the return of the game demo and it appears we have some pretty significant additions coming to us. As we speak, a Battlefield: Bad Company 2 multiplayer demo is up for grabs and Xbox advertisements have been indicating that starting today, an Aliens Vs. Predator demo will be surfacing on the service. With two such first-person additions to the demos, fans of the genre or series will definitely find something to enjoy this week. If shooting isn’t your thing, however, racing fans will be covered with the addition of Superstars V8 Next Challenge. After a drought of demos, it’s good to see a few pop back up and deliver some high-profile titles.
Xbox Avatars Marketplace – Valentine’s Day, Carnival
If you’re looking to snaz up your avatar even more, this week will see two sets of new items being launched in the Avatar Marketplace. Both Valentine’s Day and carnival-themed items will be made available on the service starting today.
Music Game Marketplace
With many music game titles receiving expansion content on a weekly basis, it may start to become hard to follow, especially with these updates usually covering up the entire line of recent updates on the Xbox dashboard. This week, new updates unfold for our usual lineup of titles:
Kenny Chesney – “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy”Â
Montgomery Gentry – “Gone”Â
Rascal Flatts – “Me and My Gang”Â
Sara Evans – “Suds in the Bucket”Â
Trace Adkins – “Swing”Â
Willie Nelson – “On the Road Again”Â
The Cardigans Song Pack
“Gypsy Woman (She’s Homeless)”Â
“My Favourite Game”Â
30 Seconds to Mars Track Pack
“Kings and Queens”
There you have it, your additions for this week on Xbox LIVE. Now, if you don’t mind, I’m going to stop talking and start downloading some of these items. We’ll see you back here at our normal time and date to keep you updated on the world of Xbox LIVE.