Picture of Mike Bowden

Mike Bowden

Contributor

Undertow

Keeps the Deep Blues away.

Undertow is a side-scrolling shooter in which you must capture five checkpoints littered around the murky underworld in order to stave off attack by numerous types of bad guys. You take on the guise of Iron Marines, Nemodians (followers of Nemo of course!) and Atlantians. Your motivation for all this shooting is to survive a new water world that has been created after we all threw our fridges into the sea and the world warmed up thus melting the polar caps and drowning the planet. Ok, the 'we' is an alien race and the 'threw our fridges into the sea' is 'devastating attack' but you get the picture. It all sounds rather silly, and in fact it is rather, but sometimes I like a bit of silliness and this is one of those occasions.

Screwjumper!

Screw this.

Sometimes it seems like Microsoft's XBLA service just loves shooting itself in the foot. I mean, we have this great addition to the 360, one that has borne fruit to some excellent re-issues such as Sonic the Hedgehog and Castlevania: SotN. We have also witnessed some innovative titles such as Cloning Clyde and Carcassone. However, these games are sadly few and far between. The dirge of uninspiring and frankly boring titles that appear week in, week out is growing in size at an alarming rate. Microsoft has upheld its pledge of two new Live Arcade titles per week, solemnly swearing that this will be the service with the most downloadable content compared to its rivals. Games like Screwjumper! make me wish it had never made that promise.

Switchball

It's got balls, innit.

Nothing divides Xbox 360 owners as much as Microsoft's Xbox Live Arcade service. Constantly derided for its lack of original output and for lazy ports of old arcade games that no-one liked that much when they were released five hundred years ago. And last, but not least, the fact that many of these titles are available for free on the PC.