The Summer of Arcade has been a fantastic little oasis amidst the summer games drought for quite a few years now and during this time some great titles have appeared, such as Limbo, Castle Crashers, Geometry Wars 2 and many other downloadable gems. Many have exclaimed that the quality of the games being released has declined somewhat over the years, which I have to agree with, however, when you consider the quality of years past it’s hard to really get irritated or even give it a serious thought and, especially in 2012, we have some really interesting, experimental looking games that could prove to be great surprises. Summer of Arcade is clearly attempting to appeal to just about everyone in its 2012 instalment, with a HD remake of the fantastic Tony Hawks games which will appeal to just about every person between the ages 18-25 who ever has touched a gaming console and, for the second year running, a Kinetic game to help Microsoft’s baby to reach new audiences. Anyway, time to check out the five games that will be featured this year:
Tony Hawk Pro skater HD – 18th July
Not a terrible amount I can say about this without turning into a gushing torrent of excitable nonsense, so I’ll keep it simple. Essentially, we’re getting a HD repacking of some of the classic Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 and 2 levels with 5 online modes and online leaderboards thrown in. This is pretty damn exciting. The series fell away from me after the 4th game arrived, as I just felt the series was over-exerting itself with various needless additions so this throw back to the “throw you into an area for 2 minutes so you can jump around like crazy” style is great news and a chance to collect all the SKATE letters all over again. I say that, but I was terrible at these games so I have a chance to finally stop mashing buttons and start learning how to play. Only a decade or so later.
Wreckateer – 25th July
This year’s Kinect title looks nothing more than a slightly less luck based Angry Birds, in all honesty. Stand in front of your TV, grab an on screen catapult and hurl a huge ball at some Goblin infested castles. It’s not exactly the greatest use for the accessory, though not much as really given a real reason to pick it up as yet, so I guess it’s a fine little arcade game for those already with it. However, I see no real reason to pick it up unless you just want some easy, casual and quick to pick up or you have some kids who just want to flail and destroy some things on screen. By far the worst looking game of the bunch, but that’s hardly a surprise.
Deadlight – 1st August
Deadlight is an interesting proposition describing itself as a “sidescrolling survival horror cinematic platformer”, which is…a curious mix that could blend together to make something completely engrossing and looks surprisingly fresh for something based around a zombie apocalypse. Scraping around in a 2D perspective throughout a sparse, desolate setting really begins to make my mind wander to Metroid. Now, this may be hopeful wishing on my part but it would be a perfect if Deadlight if it combines the brisk space of Shadow Complex and the thick atmosphere of Metroid, allowing the game to appear as bleak as possible then we would have a fantastic game. Obviously, this is me allowing my mind to wander slightly but Deadlight is definitely a game to keep an eye on.
Hybrid – 8th august
This is a confusing one. Hybrid could either completely fail or come out as a fantastic, decently innovative third person shooter, as it seems like it’s on the cusp of either. It seems to have some interesting ideas such as Jetpacks being prevalent, assuming that the trailers are indicative of the final game, and the addition of a parkour system, both of which seem to be pushing for a game where movement and positioning are as important as having a good aim. Having 5th Cell at the helm further confuses my opinion on the game due to their reputation for great interesting games that never quite feel as good as they should be, so it’ll be interesting to see how Hybrid turns out when it releases on the 8th of august.
Dust: An elysian tale – 15th August
Initially supposed to be released on the Indie game service, Dust was awarded a contract to an XBLA release due to winning the 2009 Microsoft Dream.Build.Play challenge and has been held back til 2012 to allow its inclusion in this year’s Summer of Arcade. This is my pick for “most promising game”. A 2D side-scrolling action RPG, Dust boasts some impressive looking combat along with some seriously beautiful visuals that quite simply burst out of the screen. Obviously, we have to wait and see if the story holds up as anything worthwhile, if the combat is as satisfying to play as it to watch and, most importantly, if the controls are tight enough to make the 2D space a clever choice. Either way, I’m looking forward to trying it out for myself.
So there we are five interesting games over five weeks. The fact that I can speculate as much as possible but not really reach a firm conclusion on most of the games involved is quite exciting. Even if they don’t quite have the quality that we hope for at the very least we have a selection of unique games that other can observe.
Here at Parable we will striving to review most, if not all, of the games involved in the Summer of Arcade so stay tuned over the next five weeks.