As we teeter on the edge of January ready to tumble headfirst into a new month, Microsoft has revealed the latest selection of games coming to Xbox Live subscribers by way of February's Games With Gold, which this time include Never Yield and Broken Sword 5.
Never Yield - or rather, Aerial_Knight's Never - is a 3D side-scroller in the vain of endless runner that sees players stampeding across a strikingly designed future Tokyo, all to a winning soundtrack created by Detroit Artist. Eurogamer never got around to reviewing this one, but Christian Donlan seemed quite taken with its rhythms a while back.
"It's gently colour-coded," he wrote, "which affords an idiot like me an extra bit of help, but what really makes the game special is the things you're leaping and rolling and sliding to avoid... Drones buzz overhead, vans chase you and then collide, or flip through the air almost taking your head off. There's a fantastic colourful aesthetic to it, and with its speed and sense of thwarting injustices, I suspect the final game is going to give me Jet Set Radio flashbacks."
Broken Sword 5, meanwhile, is the most recent instalment in developer Revolution Software's long-running adventure series (although, in this case, 'most recent' means 'over eight years old'). It sees protagonists George Stobbart and Nicole "Nico" Collard embarking on yet more Templar-bothering, conspiracy laden escapades, all in the classic point-and-click adventure mould. Eurogamer liked this one well enough back in the day, awarding it an old school 7/10.
As for Games with Gold's final two offerings in February, we once again dive into the Xbox 360 pool. Hydrophobia, from 2010, is a survival-adventure set aboard a city-sized luxury ocean liner somewhere in the mid-21st century. It was perhaps best-known for its dynamic water system at the time of its release, and wasn't particularly well-received (Eurogamer gave it a 4/10), so this is more of an ageing curio than anything else.
"While Hydrophobia breaks new water, it treads old ground," wrote Simon Parkin in his review. "The systems beneath the ebb and flow of its technical accomplishment are archaic and, without exception, lack finesse... By the moment you break the surface of the game's ending, much like its lead character, the abiding feeling is one of relief not enjoyment."
And finally, there's Band of Bugs, a Live Arcade title from 2007. It's a turn-based strategy affair that broadly follows the template laid out by the likes of Advance Wars and Fire Emblem as players engage in tactical skirmishes against armies of insects. "Definitely one to check out for fans of Advance Wars," Kristen Reed wrote in his 7/10 review, "and a great introduction for those who've so far avoided the turn-based scene."
Xbox Live subscribers can download Broken Sword 5 from 1st-28th February, Hydrophobia is available from 1st-15th February, Band of Bugs is up for grabs 16th-28th February, and Never Yield hits Games with Gold between 16th February and 15th March.