bei.jpg[Over at our sister console digital download site GamerBytes, Ryan Langley is taking an early look at the Xbox Live Community Games scheduled for launch in a couple of days time, and I'm really intrigued already - here's his roundup of the first ten or so.]

In just two days, the "New Xbox Experience" will be downloaded by millions of Xbox 360 users, and with that comes the XNA Community Games section, showcasing indie and hobbyist titles which will cost 200-800 points ($2.50-$10) to download.

Those who have been lucky enough to get into the NXE preview have been able to check out the current crop of XNA titles, with new games popping up everyday. For the few days left before it's released we'll be looking at each title that pops up, and and give you a little overview of each from the trial.

Today we look at ten titles to show up on the service - each of which has a timed, free demo. Some are good, some are bad, but it's all a part of seeing what can be done with just a couple of guys (or gals) in a short amount of time.

In some case, it seems like the creators got quickly bored with the project and released it anyway, but most of the initial XNA Community Games titles are interesting, and show what kinds of games can be made with XNA and the Xbox 360.

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Culture

Creator: XNA Prod 001
Genre: Action & Adventure
Price: 200 Points

Trial Play: During the trial mode, you are only able to play the "paint by Numbers" mode, which allows you to fill out a painting with flowers. The actual game is more like this - surrounding weeds with flowers. Why they didn't add that as the trial mode makes no sense to me. Is there a fun game here? Difficult to determine.


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Cubage

Creator: Louis Ingenthron
Genre: Puzzle & Trivia
Price: 200 Points

Trial Play: This is exactly what it looks like. You want a Rubik's Cube program? You've got yourself a Rubik's Cube program.


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Fruit Attack

Creator: ScrumThorax
Genre: Puzzle & Trivia
Price: 400 Points

Trial Play: Essentially, Fruit Attack is a clone of Sega's classic Columns game, except with Fruit. It certainly does that job, and has a two player mode. It keeps your highest score but has no sort of scoreboard system, which is a little disappointing. I'd say its main drawback is just how bland the setting is. Brown wood backgrounds, plain fruit graphics... You need to have a bit more fun with your game creation!


<a href="http://video.msn.com/?mkt=en-US&playlist=videoByUuids:uuids:fde5aab1-4fb5-4861-bde3-113e59d7c37d&showPlaylist=true&from=msnvideo" target="_new" title="SpaceCombat - Xbox Live Community Game">Video: SpaceCombat - Xbox Live Community Game</a>

SpaceCombat

Creator: cilcoder
Genre: Shooter
Price: 200 Points

Trial Play: SpaceCombat is a very simple, cel-shaded space shooter. Its hook is that it has online multiplayer for up to 8 players for only 200 Points. Unfortunately I found the control scheme to be a little confusing and the choice of cel-shading makes it difficult to understand just how far away you are. If it can build up a community it might be fun.


<a href="http://video.msn.com/?mkt=en-US&playlist=videoByUuids:uuids:a9e179e9-ed6f-473e-b63d-456c6a77c3b9&showPlaylist=true&from=msnvideo" target="_new" title="Being Trailer">Video: Being Trailer</a>

Being

Creator: Chounard
Genre: Platformer
Price: 200 Points

Trial Play: Being is a very simple platforming game. The entire point is just to get through its 4 or so levels. You can't attack - you're simply avoiding everything, grabbing keys and coins, and completing the level. It's the only 2D platformer of the bunch, and despite its rather mundane graphics, it reminds me of a few 1990 shareware titles I used to play. I did end up buying Being, and for the half an hour to an hour it took to finish it I had fun.


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Fuel Depot 360

Creator: Interstellar
Genre: Action & Adventure
Price: 200 Points

Trial Play: Fly your space craft around, and shoot the bad guys before they take all of your fuel barrels away. Did you ever have Wario Ware Touched and unlocked Pyoro-T? It's vaguely like that, I guess. Simple premise, but I feel it doesn't control all that well and figuring out what's going on is a little difficult.


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Word Soup

Creator: Fuzzy Bug
Genre: Puzzle & Trivia
Price: 400 Points

Trial Play: Word Soup is actually based off of a popular parlor game in Great Britain called Word Up - a simple "skill with prizes" game which you can win back a small amount of money if you play well. You simply find words within the grid and are graded based off of how well you did in 3 or so minutes. No winning money here, but if you're looking for a way to bone up on your knowledge of words this would be the place to do it.


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Drift

Creator: Polychrome
Genre: Other
Price: 400 Points

Trial Play: Specifically tells you that "this is not a game". A collection of ambient screen savers. I don't think it's worth the 400 Points to be honest.


<a href="http://video.msn.com/?mkt=en-US&playlist=videoByUuids:uuids:473f2fc5-4312-4524-ad28-68c3a754ed96&showPlaylist=true&from=msnvideo" target="_new" title="Bloc">Video: Bloc</a>

Bloc

Creator: Metacreature Games
Genre: Action & Adventure
Price: 200 Points

Trial Play: A shooter that is more complex than it looks. You move around the screen as a ball of color. You rotate the ball around to change the direction the colors are facing, and then shoot said colors using the buttons of the controller. It's an interesting concept which might be worth your money. It does have cooperative play where each player controls two colors, so it might be good to get you and your girlfriend playing.


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Lines

Creator: EdAndersenUK
Genre: Puzzle & Trivia
Price: 200 Points

Trial Play: This may look like a Lumines knockoff at first, but let me assure you it isn't. It's really a mix between it and Q? Entertainment's other title Gunpey - you have to set up several blocks together, but also put the line within each block next to another, like Pipe Dream. Connecting 5 together will cause them to disappear, and you can set up combos and the like.

My main concern is that you can royally screw yourself very easily - just set up two facing L blocks on the bottom and you'll never be able to get rid of them. I'm guessing that's why this game hasn't really been attempted before.

The game has online leaderboards as well - but instead of it being automatically updated, you have to go to edngames.com and put in your password. Unfortunately, it's the only way you can do it within the infrastructure.