TA's Holiday Gift Guide 2012: Arcade Games

By Rebecca Smith, 6 years ago
Two years ago we started a holiday gift guide. Rather than family and friends trying to work out the best gifts for that keen gamer that we all know, we did the legwork for you. Fast forward to 2012 and the gift guide returns for its third instalment. The Newshounds have compiled their list of games, hardware and related gifts that we feel that gamers must own. Due to the number of recommendations this year, the list will be broken down into Arcade Games, Hardware & Miscellaneous and Retail Games, with the guide being split across three days. Today we begin with the Arcade Games:

Alan Wake's American Nightmare - 1200 MSP

Fans of Alan Wake had to wait a long time after the cliffhanging "season one" left us wanting more. Alan finally got his much-deserved follow-up on XBLA. While the atmosphere has changed and the story is more pulp action than dark thriller, the core gameplay returns and plenty of new plot details are revealed — crucial info to anyone looking to remain in the know in Wake's weird world - N0T PENNYS B0AT

Awesomenauts Assemble! - 800 MSP

A game which nearly never was. After a publishing issue we were left wondering if Awesomenauts would miss its scheduled XBLA release date. Thankfully, the matter was resolved swiftly and we were able to get our 1980's flavoured awesome on with gusto. A simple side-scrolling premise it may be, but lacking in action and combat it isn't. Best played with a group of mates, you'll go toe-to-toe as you fight to overrun and destroy the opposition's base. There's no room for heroes here and it's a wonderful example of a team based title, which is why we love it so much.

The visual style is like something out of your favourite cartoon of yesteryear and the music is just insanely catchy. It'll feel like a Saturday morning with your childhood pals around all over again. No complex combos or steep learning curve make this a great pick-up-and-play title that I'd have hated to miss this year - DavieMarshall

Deadlight - 1200 MSP

Atmospheric and dark, Deadlight gives gamers a puzzle-platformer zombie adventure that (while a bit short in length and with some seriously tin-eared voice acting) scratches a gameplay itch with suspense and excitement. Tequila Works has crafted a tight, masterful story of loss and solitude that will keep gamers engaged through the entirety of the experience. The 1200 MSP price point is well worth the price of admission - osubluejacket

Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit - 1200 MSP

Ash loves ducks and taking baths with said ducks. He is also the next in line to take up the throne in the depths of hell. After a few unscrupulous pictures surface on HellNet, Ash is in trouble as all of the workers in hell see him as a duck-loving, lily-livered weenie. Combining great 2D side-scrolling and a ton of fun mini-games to conquer bosses, Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit is worth nabbing some points and sharing this hell of a good time - SgtDigglesworth

Joe Danger 2: The Movie - 1200 MSP

Joe Danger is back, and this time he's taking his daredevil antics to the big screen. In Joe Danger 2, Joe moves beyond the bike and now navigates courses on skis, jet packs, and other devices. While not as tear-your-hair-out-of-your-head difficult as its predecessor, Joe Danger 2 is a platformer that isn't for the easily frustrated. Still, the wonderful level designs, tight controls, and (often) amusing crashes will make this worth your time, and will likely yield some of the more well-earned achievements on your tag, should you get them - Matrarch

Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition - 1600 MSP

Minecraft is quite possibly the ultimate sandbox game where, if you're willing to put in the time, you can do whatever you want. Want to create a railway that spans the whole map? You can do that. Want to dig until you hit the bottom of the world or create a tower to reach the top? You can do that. Want to ride a pig off a cliff? You can do that and you'll even get an achievement for it. Prepare to sit down, relax and enter a Zen state as you do whatever you want to do in this world. Hell, maybe even invite some friends over to join in the fun. Just make sure you keep an eye on the clock and don't spend all night digging, OK? - Ergo Me Smart

Puddle - 800 MSP

In Puddle you control various fluids, such as plain old water and nitroglycerin, through various environments, including a jungle and the human body, while attempting to lose as little fluid along the way as you reach your goal as quickly as possible. You never have any direct control over the fluids but rather tilt the world around them, thus affecting the fluid's gravity. The game, while challenging, manages to remain compelling throughout and the variety between each level certainly helps keep the game interesting. It is well worth a purchase for anyone looking for a decent puzzle game this holiday season - Ergo Me Smart

Quantum Conundrum - 1200 MSP

I was assigned to do the TA Review for Quantum Conundrum, an assignment that made me groan. Within the first hour, I was hooked and that frown was turned upside down. Developed by Kim Swift, one of the original creators of Portal, Quantum Conundrum has you shifting dimensions to solve physics-based puzzles. The entire atmosphere of the game is light, cartoony and, with the narration of John de Lancie (Star Trek's Q), it takes the sting away from the brain-breaking puzzles. Quantum Conundrum is one of the best XBLA games of the year; if you liked Portal, you should give it a try - Dog of Thunder

Rock Band Blitz - 1200 MSP

Throughout the entire course of XBLA history, it may be hard to argue that you can get better value than that offered by Rock Band Blitz. In addition to frenetic beat-match gameplay, you get 25 tracks that are fully exportable into Harmonix's Rock Band 3. 25 tracks would be pretty decent for an arcade title, but Blitz also gets the benefit of having the entirety of Rock Band's vast DLC catalog available as well. As for the game itself, the use of various power-ups means that you can really not play a song the same way twice if that's your thing. It's also much easier to pick up and play than a typical rhythm title, and the fact that you don't need a microphone doesn't mean you won't sing along anyways. Blitz is also the perfect game to pick up for a few minutes while you wait for a session to start or to wind down after a long night of gaming. As a bonus, you can challenge your friends via a Facebook app, or work with them to complete challenges. These challenges earn you coins, meaning you can really rack up those high scores and bragging rights - Matrarch

SEGA Vintage Collections - 800 MSP

As opposed to covering these individually, because there are quite a number out now, we felt it better to remind you that these Arcade titles, which cover SEGA classics from the Arcade, Genesis, and Master System, are available on the Marketplace for the teeny tiny price of 800 MSP. Maybe that doesn't look too great, but four of the five entries, http://www.trueachievements.com/Alex-Kidd--Co-Collectio....htm, SEGA Vintage Collection: Golden Axe, SEGA Vintage Collection: Monster World, and SEGA Vintage Collection: Streets of Rage, contain three games from that series and SEGA Vintage Collection: ToeJam & Earl contains two games. All include at least 200G. What's not to like about that? - Matrarch


Sine Mora - 1200 MSP

Bullet hell shooters may not be for everyone, and if they're not for you, very little is likely to change your mind. If you are one who is willing to give the genre a shot despite reservations, or if you're a fan of the genre, you simply have to play Sine Mora. The game features beautifully crafted environments, an awesome score and crafts designed by well-noted artist Mahiro Maeda. The unique time traveling element of the game means that this is a shooter with a deep and sometimes disturbing story as well. Sine Mora also offers a fairly lengthy gaming experience for a title of this genre, as well as an alternate ending should you earn it. The achievement list is not for those looking to have 200G handed to them, but they're well worth the effort if you can get them - Matrarch

Spelunky - 1200 MSP

The hardest, most soul-crushingly difficult game of the year is Spelunky. Sure, the graphics are cute in that "retro 2D" kind of way and, yes, the random worlds generated every time you play greatly add to the degree of difficulty, but it's those damn monsters. You can only take a few hits before dying and, with only the one life to try and clear the entire game... well, you're going to be reloading a lot. Thankfully, there's not only an achievement for that, but the satisfaction you get when you actually are able to progress is amazing. Spelunky is a tough journey, but in going back to the roots of gaming, it manages to capture a lot of what made gaming so satisfying back then in the form of a real sense of accomplishment - Dog of Thunder

Trials Evolution - 1200 MSP

Trials HD was one of 2009's most addictive XBLA games. Once again, RedLynx takes that formula and tasks players with traversing a variety of outdoor environments in the bone-breaking quest for those elusive platinum medals in Trials Evolution. Do you think your bike riding skills are the best? Compete against your friends in multiplayer mode and see who's laughing last. Once you've finished with all of the tracks in the game, check out the track editor to either create your own masterpiece or download some of the hundreds of tracks that already exist. You're looking at countless hours of fun and many instances of "just one more try", all for the sake of 1200 MSP - punkyliar

The Walking Dead - 2000 MSP for all five episodes

Told over the course of five emotional episodes, The Walking Dead combines difficult decision-making, expert storytelling, and point-and-click gameplay to offer up one of the most heart-wrenching games on the dashboard. If that doesn't get you in the holiday spirit, its 40 unmissable achievements for 500G might jingle your bells. You can also look for the complete story arc on retail disc beginning on December 4th - N0T PENNYS B0AT

World Gone Sour - 400 MSP

Lost after a man (suffering from vertigo) trips and spills his bag of Sour Patch Kids while in a movie theater, a lonely Sour Patch Kid teams up with some of his sticky buddies to travel the forbidden landscape of the movie theater to fulfil his destiny. The destiny? Endure a detailed 2D side-scrolling vista to make it to the hungry belly of the clumsy movie-goer, who is waiting with bated-breath to gobble up that little sweet and sour gummy candy. Furthermore it also has a tasty price tag on the marketplace for only 400 MSP - SgtDigglesworth

Check in tomorrow for our guide to the must have Hardware and Miscellaneous gifts!
Rebecca Smith
Written by Rebecca Smith
Rebecca is the Newshound Manager at TrueGaming Network. She has been contributing articles since 2010, especially those that involve intimidatingly long lists. When not writing news, she works in an independent game shop so that she can spend all day talking about games too. She'll occasionally go outside.