Nothing says summer like staying indoors with the blinds closed and playing video games! Starting in July, Microsoft will begin releasing one game a week, for five weeks; and while it’d be pretty hard to beat last year’s releases for the Summer of Arcade event (Mavel Vs Capcom 2, ‘Splosion Man, Trials HD), the line-up is looking surprisingly good.

 

While prices and dating will be officially announced in the coming weeks, at least three of the developers have let it be known, either via interviews at E3 or Twitter, that their game will retail for 1200 MSP.

Castlevania: Harmony of Despair


Last year’s Shadow Complex left people craving more ‘Metroidvania’ style games. Well, those people will be tickled pink that legendary Konami producer Koji Igarashi has done one better and announced a full-on new 2D Catlevania.

The game will not only feature all the exploration goodness you’d expect from a Castlevania game, along with that amazing zoom-out function (I mean, just look at it!), but will feature online play, both cooperative and competitive, for up to 6 players.

Hydro Thunder Hurricane

Apparently “More than a mere “HD upgrade”, Hydro Thunder Hurricane heralds the return of the popular speedboat-racing franchise from the bygone N64 era, adding multiplayer support for up to 8 players total online, with up to 4 players locally mixed in for good measure.

Mix in dynamic water and interactive tracks, and the game’s developer, Vector Unit, looks set to ride the wave of nostalgia it has generated with Hurricane to the full.

Lara Croft and the Guardian of the Light

Eidos and Crystal Dynamics have done a spot of renovating for the XBLA release of their next game from the beloved Tomb Raider series: the game will still see players navigating precariously balanced ruins riddled with traps, but Guardian of the Light shifts the players view from the hallmark third person to an RPG style, isometric perspective.

A second player can take the role of the titular Guardian of the Light, Totec, for a co-operative mode in which the duo must use their unique skills to help each other reclaim the Mirror of Smoke from the prerequisite treasure-stealing bad guys.

Limbo

Danish developer Playdead have already won various awards at the Independent Games Festival  with their minimalist platformer IP, Limbo,and if Braid has taught us anything it’s not to underestimate gameplay refined into its purest form. Limbo distills the puzzle platformer genre further, using no colors or music throughout the entire game, relying instead on subtle tones and shadows to tell the unnerving story.

Monday Night Combat

The art-style alone draws parallels to Valve’s Team Fortress 2, but Uber Entertainment hopes to win us to its class-based, third-person shooter by pairing it with a Smash TV-esque televised-sports theme. Players face-off in 6 on 6 matches, aided by a horde of robots that follow a Defense of the Ancient’s style path to their objective, all in order to win money and fame.

Plus it’s filled with corny fake advertising. I love corny fake advertising.