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Gaming Review

Downloadable games round-up: Bientôt l'été, Arcadecraft, Alien Breed

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Released on Tuesday, Feb 12 2013

Each week, Digital Spy rounds up the biggest downloadable gaming releases with reviews and trailers. This week's games include an art 'game' from Tale of Tales, a management sim which allows you to run your own arcade and a modern update on an Amiga classic.

> This week's biggest mobile games reviewed

Bientôt l'été

Developer: Tale of Tales
Platforms: PC (Steam)
Price: £6.99 / $9.99

Having developed 2009's The Path, Tale of Tales isn't known for crafting traditional, conventional games. That said, everything they do is undeniably backed up by passion, and the arty Bientôt l'été is no different.

In Bientôt l'été, you assume control of an avatar in a surreal alternate reality depicting a seashore. It's a deliberately sparse setting, evoking a sense of loneliness, and the only way to communicate with another person is by sitting down in front of a chessboard in a café.

Bientot l'ete


You and another random online player exchange turns, and while you can smoke, drink wine and play music, the most notable aspect is using chess pieces to utter preset French sentences. Conversations are, as a result, awkward and nonsensical, but every time you leave the café, you pick up another chess piece and thus gain access to more phrases.

We admire the fact that Tale of Tales is trying something different and unusual with this title, so it's a shame that we didn't feel we got anything worthwhile from the experience.

The disjointed conversations over the chessboard failed to retain our interest, the repetitive cycle of collecting chess pieces bored us, and there was little incentive to explore the empty beach. All of this can be put down to the fact that we struggled to appreciate the world, and ultimately, Bientôt l'été left us feeling cold.

(No score given)



Arcadecraft

Developer: Firebase Industries
Platforms: Xbox Live Indie Games
Price: 240 Microsoft Points (£2.05 / $3)

Arcadecraft, from indie developer Firebase Industries, sees you set up your own arcade from scratch. Starting from the year 1980, the game is a Tycoon-like simulation as your aim is to expand your cabinet collection and make a tidy profit.

Naturally, there are various setbacks and events that spice up the campaign, from jammed coin slots and angry gamers to hot import machines and world record setters. In addition, releases of home versions can have a negative impact on a machine's popularity.

Arcadecraft


The game is perhaps best appreciated by those who have a reverence for or knowledge of arcades, as there are plenty of winks to that gaming era such as the infamous 1983 video game crash, which is replicated mid-way through the game.

Arcade machines also reference real-life classics - for instance, 'Phantom' aka Pac-Man later gets a sequel called 'Lady Phantom', while 'Gorilla' and 'Future Ace' are inspired by Donkey Kong and Time Pilot respectively.

Arcadecraft is plain fun and a great way to spend a few hours of your time. It's not the deepest of games, but it never tries to be. All that matters is that running an arcade is as addictive as you would like and expect from a well-put together management game.




Alien Breed

Developer: Team17
Platforms: PS3, Vita
Price: £6.49 / €7.99 / $9.99

Alien Breed is a modern update on the 1991 Amiga top-down shooter, and it's a pretty faithful one at that from a mechanical point of view.

Most of it remains the same - your objective in each labyrinthine level is to find and access the lift down while holding your own against an abundance of aliens. Health and ammo pickups litter the floor, while keys unlock doors. Self-destruct sequences also pop up, forcing you to rush to the exit before you're blown up along with everything else still alive.

Alien Breed (PS3, Vita)


The controls are easy to grasp. You can either use a right-trigger button to shoot in the direction you're facing, or you can treat it like a dual-stick shooter.

While fans of the original Alien Breed will likely lap up the nostalgia generated by this 2013 version - as well as the 12 brand new levels that come alongside the original and Alien Breed Special Edition '92 - it's arguable how much enjoyment everyone else will get from it.

The enhanced visuals and local and online co-operative multiplayer are welcome additions, but everything else feels a little bit outdated, with a distinct lack of variety in enemies and objectives in particular making the levels bland and monotonous by today's standards.




What downloadable releases have you been playing recently? Add a comment in the space below!

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