Getting Some Play: The downloadable summer

Welcome to Getting Some Play — the spiritual successor to Sarah Warn’s excellent Good Game column — where we’ll take a look at the latest releases, news and developments in the world of video games.

The downloadable summer

Just last week, Xbox Live Arcade’s Summer of Arcade promotion began with an absolute gem of a game — the beautiful, quirky action-RPG Bastion. Seriously, if you aren’t playing this, you’re missing out.

Bastion

But even better, it’s only the first of five games in the series, all of which look fantastic. This Wednesday, the Summer of Arcade continues with From Dust, an equally stellar-looking “god game” with a gorgeous look and feel.

From Dust

Subsequent weeks will offer Insanely Twisted Shadow PlanetFruit Ninja Kinect (the very first Kinect Arcade game), and Toy Soldiers: Cold War.

With Trenched, Bastion, the upcoming XBLA games, and Q Games’ quirky PSN music sim PixelJunk Lifelike in September, this will be the summer of the downloadable game. I haven’t even played a “boxed” game since Zelda in June, and summer is always my gaming boom time.

Rise of the Indies

As if that weren’t enough bite-sized gaming for you, a number of indie titles (from Xbox Live Indie Games channel) will be participating in the Indie Games Summer Uprising, a sort of community-run event promoting the best and brightest XBLIG titles around.

From Shacknews:

The eight announced titles so far are: T.E.C. 3001, Speedrunner HD, Raventhorne, Take Arms, Train Frontier Express, Cute Things Dying Violently, Doom & Destiny and Battle High: San Bruno. The last two spots can be filled by any remaining games on the Entries page, and voting will take place on the Summer Uprising Facebook page between August 1 and August 14. The games will release starting August 22 and through the month of September.

Coming Up

You already know a bit about Summer of Arcade’s Bastion, From Dust and Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet, so here are a few other new release highlights for the next two weeks.

El Shaddai: Ascencion of the Metatron is a game we mentioned briefly last time around, but it bears repeating. This Dead Sea Scrolls-inspired brawler/platformer is wonderfully, deliciously weird-looking, and set to finally launch on July 26.

On the same day, “bad romance” themed adventure/puzzle title Catherine comes to the PS3. Catherine has already been tested by 360 players and it’s getting rave reviews from those who are looking for something a little “different.”

Action-RPG Torchlight II is due out on the PC on July 31, much to the delight of anyone who played the wildly addictive original game.

Finally, anyone looking to get their stealth on can try out Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Classic Trilogy HD on the PS3, a prettied-up compilation of the excellent first three games in the series, on August 2.

That’s about all, unless the prospect of playing The Smurfs Dance Party strikes your fancy. Until next time, keep cool and keep downloading the fruits of the best downloadable summer we’ve ever had.

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