Doritos Crash Course [Xbox 360, 2010]

Doritos Crash Course [Xbox 360]

Doritos Crash Course
System: Xbox 360
Developer: Wanako Studios
Release Date: December 8, 2010

Doritos Crash Course is the second free XBLA game (the other being Harms Way) that was released last month as part of the Doritos “Unlock Xbox” challenge. The game plays out like the summertime game show Wipeout. You control your character (which is actually your Xbox Avatar) and play through a relatively short side-scrolling obstacle course, with the goal being to complete the stage as quick as possible. This is fairly easy to do at first, but some of the later levels can get rather tricky. Swinging hammers can knock you into the water, paintballs can slow your progress and push you off, and conveyor belts can send you moving the wrong way, just to name a few examples. There are a fair amount of levels to work through, and this experience is enhanced by playing with a friend. I ran through the game with a buddy online and we had a good time racing each other to the finish line. I did find it kind of funny that you are essentially racing a cardboard cutout of your friend instead of the actual avatar though.

In comparison to Harms Way, I have to give Crash Course the slight advantage since it appeals more to a wider audience. Who doesn’t like the idea of an easy to pick up and play type game where you are basically playing a wacky game show? As mentioned earlier, some of the later levels get frustrating but as long as you play with a friend it helps keep the game enjoyable. Crash Course ended up winning the Doritos challenge, and I believe the game’s immediate appeal is what pushed it to the winner’s circle. For a quick, fun party fix, Crash Course is a good option.

7/10
Doritos Crash Course screenshot

Harms Way [Xbox 360, 2010]

Harms Way [Xbox 360, 2010]

Harms Way
System: Xbox 360
Developer: Bongfish
Release Date: December 8, 2010

Harms Way is a free Xbox Live Arcade game that was released last month as part of the Doritos “Unlock Xbox” challenge. As one of the two finalists of this contest (the other being Crash Course), Harms Way tackles the genre of action racing. The core racing is basically a budget version of Motorstorm, but there is also the added dynamic of being able to control a turret, and that sets it apart from similar titles.

Basically, you have the option to either drive or shoot. If you elect to drive, you choose one of four off-road vehicles and participate in a simple race with the options to obtain basic power-ups (nitro boosts, shields, etc). If you decide to shoot, you control the handful of turrets scattered around the course, and your job is to blow up the racers. Both concepts are simple enough, and it’s an easy pick-up-and-play type game. Single player mode gets old quick, but thankfully there is the ability to play with others (both splitscreen and online). The online community is pretty dead, so it is best to go to the local multiplayer route.

In a bit of a pleasant surprise, Harms Way is a good-looking game. The graphics could easily pass for a PS2/Xbox title, which is more than what can be said about other like-minded XBLA titles. Developer Bongfish really put a lot of effort into making this look better than it really should.

As a free game, Harms Way is more than adequate. Although light on content, its multiplayer options provide enough depth to bring gamers back for the casual game now and then. That’s all you can really ask for out of a free game. Hopefully Bongfish continues to create new games; it would be nice to see them develop a more fleshed-out title in the future.

6.5/10

– It should be noted that this game offers a ridiculously easy 200 gamerscore if you’re into that sort of thing.
Harms Way [Xbox 360, 2010]