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Holiday Shopping: Arcade Style Part 1

All of the major releases have come and gone this year and many of us are making plans for what we will be getting for the holidays or picking up for others. There is a branch of the gaming market that is easy to overlook when it comes to holiday shopping, but it should no longer be ignored.  The Xbox Live Arcade titles that have been released this year are some of the best thus far. Followed here is a list of some of the best that were released over the year and why a Points Card might just be one of the best stocking stuffers you could hope to get as a gamer:


Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet
is first on the list and at 1200 MS Points is a steal for anyone who enjoys side scrolling action that has an exploration feel, like older Metroid or Castlevania games. It feels as if it takes the best elements of other notable Arcade releases and blends them perfectly into a stylish, albeit easy going, experience that is worth taking for anyone.


is offered for a mere 800 MS Points and is one of the best 2D platforming games to hit the 360. It combines some very stylish visuals, expansive areas to cover, surprisingly deep combat, and some very unique and often times challenging gameplay. If you even have a remote interest in 2D side-scrolling games, Outland is certainly one you have to at least give a try. The six hour or so campaign and all of the extras are well worth the asking price.

Cold War

Toy Soldiers: Cold War
is everything that a sequel should be and then a whole lot more. The sequel jumps the game forward to a new era, but the fundamentals remain the same. This is a Tower Defense game with the added twist of letting you control any of the turrets or emplacements personally. Cold War offers more game modes as well as a relatively soft-hearted approach and the game actually has a lot of nostalgia built into it. At 1200 MS Points, this is certainly a game that many can find to their liking.


may very well be the cutest Arcade game to ever be released, but do not let that deter you from the gaming experience you can have with it. This is a puzzle game with each level's goal being to bring Ilo and Milo back together again. Unique visuals rule over Ilomilo and the entire game feels like happiness bottled up and sold to you at a cheap 800 MS Points. The game offers hours upon hours of puzzle solving and many of these puzzles require more than your average amount of thought to see them through to the end and help the two siblings get back together once and for all.


is a wonderful game that combines very unique and crisp visuals to a combat and collection system that is simply addictive. Bastion may be the best downloadable title of the year and possibly one of the very best games released this year and at 1200 MS Points it is well worth the price. With a lengthy campaign and the option for New Game Plus that offers more life to this visually stunning and all around fun game, anyone can pick up Bastion and be impressed by the experience.

Over the next weeks I will cover other releases that have hit the marketplace over the year that would be great buys for anyone, so stay tuned.


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