Digital distribution has opened up an entirely new market in interactive entertainment, so of course Rich Uncle Pennybags wants to move in and squash the competition. Last year's retail Xbox 360 version of Monopoly is the only new addition to the system's Games on Demand downloadable catalog ($29.99), but the classic board game will find plenty of competition from a trio of new Xbox Live Arcade titles.
First up on the Live Arcade front of Wednesday releases is Tecmo's arcade-style NBA Unrivaled. The publisher describes the game as having a "contemporary retro" design and an "old-school look and feel," which is more than a bit reminiscent of NBA Jam. The game features a full NBA license with rosters from the just-started NBA season, online or offline multiplayer, and will sell for 1,200 Microsoft points ($15).
Although Tecmo hasn't hit the hardcourt in some time, Unrivaled isn't the publisher's first basketball game. Tecmo used to have a sister series to its Tecmo Bowl franchise in Tecmo NBA Basketball, which debuted on the NES and produced sequels on the Genesis and Super Nintendo. Unrivaled developer A.C.R.O.N.Y.M. also has some basketball chops, having developed NBA 08: The Life vol. 3 for the PlayStation 2.
Rounding out the Xbox Live lineup for the week will be a pair of puzzlers, each selling for MSP800 ($10). ArcSystem Works' OD Beat Drop introduces rhythm elements into the puzzle game genre, allowing players to incorporate their own songs into its 100 stages and competitive or cooperative multiplayer modes. Encleverment Experiment, from Droplitz developer Blitz Arcade, puts a wacky spin on the quiz-show format, offering a variety of timed challenges testing players' memory, reflexes, and dexterity. The game will also incorporate Xbox Live avatars in the onscreen action.