Microsoft cooking up Game Feast

Super Meat Boy, Comic Jumper, Pinball FX 2, and Hydrophobia compose first autumnal counterpart to popular Summer of Arcade program; Plants vs. Zombies, Sonic Adventure to be pre-promotion appetizers.

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Microsoft's Summer of Arcade downloadable game promotion ended barely two weeks ago, and the company is already working on its next seasonal celebration of digitally distributed titles. The company today revealed its Game Feast promotion, a four-week run of high-profile Xbox Live Arcade titles that will kick off later this month and culminate with the October 20 launch of Independent Games Festival grand prize nominee Super Meat Boy.

Super Meat Boy is a block of solid meat, raising questions as to why he has teeth. Or gender.
Super Meat Boy is a block of solid meat, raising questions as to why he has teeth. Or gender.

The first course of Microsoft's Game Feast arrives September 29 with the debut of Hydrophobia. Developed by Dark Energy Digital (Inferno Pool), Hydrophobia shows off the company's HydroEngine, billed as "the world's first true fluid dynamics engine for games." The game puts players in the role of Kate Wilson, a security officer on board a giant floating city at sea where the world's powerful have secluded themselves from the crumbling land-bound society around them.

October 6 will see Twisted Pixel Games' Comic Jumper land on Live Arcade. Having established itself with The Maw and last year's Summer of Arcade standout Splosion Man, Twisted Pixel's next game will follow the adventures of appropriately named protagonist Captain Smiley as he leaps into different comic books in an attempt to set right plotlines gone wrong. The journey will see Smiley traverse a quartet of comic styles through 11 2D and 3D levels, with an assortment of eight additional challenge missions and unlockables to keep gamers playing.

The Game Feast isn't big on reheated offerings, with Zen Studios' Pinball FX 2 being the only sequel of the group. The free download will hit Xbox Live Arcade October 13 and allow players to download and sample four new tables. Those who already own the original Pinball FX will also be able to import that game's tables into the sequel, where they will receive new achievements and visual updates.

The fourth and final Game Feast title will be Team Meat's 2D platformer Super Meat Boy. Also announced for the Wii, Super Meat Boy sees the protein-rich protagonist attempt to save his girlfriend from the clutches of a nefarious tuxedo-clad fetus in a jar. What the game lacks in vegan-friendly options, it might make up for in portion size. Super Meat Boy will feature more than 300 levels in the game's story mode, as well as cameos from the stars of indie games like Alien Hominid, Braid, the bit.trip games, and more.

Microsoft also detailed a number of Xbox Live Arcade releases to tide gamers over until the fall Feast promotion. September 8 will see the arrival of PopCap Games' multiplatform tower defense hit Plants vs. Zombies and Dance! It's Your Stage, followed on September 15 by Sega's HD rerelease of the Dreamcast launch title Sonic Adventure.

This isn't the first time Microsoft has attempted to extend its Summer of Arcade formula to another season. In March, the company ran a Block Party promotion that saw the release of offerings like Perfect Dark and the Game Room downloadable retro game depository.

A full list of the games, release dates, and prices announced follows below.

September 8
Plants vs. Zombies--1,200 Microsoft points ($15)
Dance! It's Your Stage--800 Microsoft points ($10)

September 15
Sonic Adventure--800 Microsoft points ($10)

September 29
Hydrophobia--1,200 Microsoft points ($15)

October 6
Comic Jumper--1,200 Microsoft points ($15)

October 13
Pinball FX 2--Free (tables purchased individually)

October 20
Super Meat Boy--Pricing to be determined

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