Microsoft's XBLA House Party 2012 just wrapped up a couple of weeks ago with the release of I Am Alive, but time waits for no one, and the next Xbox Live Arcade event has already been announced. Hurry up and finish Alan Wake's American Nightmare, Warp and Nexuiz, and make room for Trials Evolution, Bloodforge, Fable Heroes and Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition, the four games that collectively comprise Arcade Next.
Arcade Next kicks off April 18th with the release of Trials Evolution (1200 Ms Points). Bloodforge (1200 MS Points) follows on April 25th. Week three of Arcade Next belongs to Fable Heroes (800 MS Points), which releases May 2nd, and Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition (1600 MS Points) brings the event to a close on May 9th. It's a strong lineup -- arguably much more appealing than what was on offer for House Party 2012.
Take a look at the Arcade Next trailer below, followed by descriptions from Microsoft's press release and screenshots of each game.
"Trials Evolution is on every front, the next dimension of the smash-hit, award-winning Trials HD. Bust out of the warehouse into an outdoor world of night and day, curved driving lines, and spectacular scenery. Multiplayer comes alive in your living room or on Xbox LIVE. Build your own tracks with the in-game editor or download those of any other player from the new Track Central. Customize your bike and rider with awesome gear and unique parts, enjoy innovative skill games, try ghost racing, beat your friends' scores and more! Don't miss the madness!"
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"With a brutal combat system, stunning art style, and a deeply compelling story, Bloodforge empowers you to slaughter hordes of demonic soldiers, deformed worshippers, and the gods themselves, using ferocious Rage Kills, devastating Rune attacks, and furious Weapon Combos. Help seal Crom's fate - and the fate of the rest of the world - in this dark, visceral story of revenge, betrayal, and destiny."
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"Fable Heroes is an action-packed, hack-and-slash adventure built for Xbox LIVE Arcade. It delivers a fresh spin on the Fable franchise with a unique art style and gameplay that takes playful competition to the next level. Whether on the couch or using Xbox LIVE, up to four players work together to defeat enemies while also competing with one another to collect gold coins and level up. Precious gold collected in Fable Heroes can be imported into the forthcoming Kinect title, Fable: The Journey, providing players with a valuable head start from day one."
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Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition
"The infinite possibilities in Minecraft just got bigger. Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition brings the global phenomenon to console gamers for the first time. The Xbox LIVE Arcade version of the game features an innovative new crafting interface, natural controller movements, a full Tutorial mode to teach the basics and for the first time in Minecraft, split-screen multiplayer as well as over Xbox LIVE."
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Sharp-eyed readers may have noticed something missing from Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition -- Kinect support. Responding to an inquiry from Kotaku, a Microsoft representative issued the following statement.
"We're still excited about the potential to deliver Kinect-enabled features for this title in the future."
Anyone want to hazard a guess about how soon that those potential "Kinect-enabled features" are going to arrive? Me neither, though in a pinch, I'd put my money on "not very." Seriously, the lack of Kinect support comes as a real surprise, since it was one of the first features touted for the 360 port of Minecraft back at E3 2011. Plus, the modding community's been having all kinds of fun with Minecraft and Kinect.
As for the other games, Trials Evolution is something of a known quantity, both because the Trials formula is well established, and because an an incomplete version of the game leaked earlier in the year. Four-player hack and slash is almost always fun, so Fable Heroes could turn out to be a blast, though I'll admit to having trouble getting over the game's art style. Bloodforge is the real question mark of the bunch. Developer Climax is responsible for both Silent Hill: Shattered Memories and last year's Rocket Knight reboot. Whether that means they're up to the challenge of delivering a brutal, combat-focused game remains to be seen, though there is no denying how good Bloodforge's graphics look in the trailer above.
What do you think about Microsoft's lineup of Arcade Next games? Which titles are you planning to buy? Is $20 too expensive for Minecraft on Xbox 360? Let us know in the comments below.
Once more, with feeling:
Trials Evolution releases April 18, 2012, for 1200 Ms Points.
Bloodforge releases April 25, 2012, for 1200 MS Points.
Fable Heroes releases May 2, 2012, for 800 MS Points.
Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition releases May 9, 2012, for 1600 MS Points.
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