Rounding out the final week is an old school beat-em-up: Castle Crashers.

To be honest, I loved beat-em-ups as a kid: Double Dragon, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Streets of Rage, Golden Axe, The Simpsons Arcade…. The genre’s kind of died out these days. One of the last good old-fashioned style beat-em-ups I played a few years back that was of any notable praise were the Lord of the Rings games from EA and the TMNT game from Ubisoft(!) on the GBA(!!).

Castle Crashers is not only a neat homage to a semi-dying genre, but a funny and colorful game in its own right. The levels are well done, there are plenty of things to find, plenty of new gameplay elements introduced to keep things new and exciting, lots of homages to other games, plenty of stuff to find, and it’s a blast to play with friends. I’ve been systematically converting my friends to get the game so we can play online together. I’ve still got a ways to go before I complete the game, but I’ve been finding the overall experience funny, clever, and just enjoyable to rip through multiple hordes of enemies.

So here resides the fifth game of Microsoft’s “Summer of Arcade”. In my opinion, each title as a standalone, and the package as a whole, have been a maddeningly wonderful experience, which has been a blast to play through each of the five games (I’m nowhere near being done), and it really does harken back to that time when arcades were THE primary choice of gaming experiences. I’m glad to see what was so popular and fun to play back then still have relevance today, and as far as I’m concerned, Microsoft delivered for five solid weeks in a row. It’s moments like this where it’s just fun to be a gamer.

One can only wonder if it’s just going to be a quiet week next week….

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