Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons
£9.99 approx (1200 MS points)
Xbox 360 (via XBLA)
Owing much to Limbo and Journey, Starbreeze's Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons depicts the brave struggle of a pair of siblings as they travel a fairy-tale world in search of a cure for their ailing father. With each brother controlled simultaneously – one mapped to each analogue stick – the possibility for synchronised puzzles is obvious, and is explored to its furthest extent as the duo progress across a series of beautiful environments.
At times, handling each brother is akin to patting your head while rubbing your stomach; but it all works well in general, helped by the fact that the puzzles are rarely set out so that failure can be wholly attributed to the control scheme. Elsewhere, vibrant visuals, an understated but well-conceived story and a stirring soundtrack complete a strong first entry into this year's Summer of Arcade – though the omission of a two-player mode feels like a missed opportunity.
PS3, Xbox 360, Wii U
Using procedural generation to provide infinite, randomly created levels, Cloudberry Kingdom is Pwnee Studios' debut – and it certainly doesn't skimp on the difficulty. Character customisation and adjustable physics take a step away from traditional platform fun, while a cute set of cut scenes provides welcome respite from the game's trials. Multiplayer allows for four players at once – if you know that many masochists – completing a package that's ideal for old-school platforming fans.
Tales of Xillia
Something's troubling the spirits in the latest in Namco Bandai's Tales series. So springs the story of a witch and an apprentice spiritual surgeon as they embark on an epic quest across the magical world of Rieze Maxia. Genre fans will recognise the hallmarks of the Japanese role-player, with Tales of Xillia even introducing streamlined real-time combat and a flexible levelling system. It's no Skyrim, but anyone looking for a throwback to the good old days of the J-RPG should find themselves well served.