Xbox Live Arcade Unplugged Volume 1 Review

If you can't get on Xbox Live, this package is a good way to get your hands on some solid games.

One of the surprisingly addictive and great features of the Xbox 360 has been Xbox Live Arcade, Microsoft's download service that lets you purchase smaller, digitally distributed games direct from your console. A handful of these games have been updated versions of arcade classics, but there are plenty of interesting original games, as well. Unfortunately for those of you without any sort of broadband Internet connection, there hasn't been any other way to get these games. But to address this, Microsoft has released six Xbox Live Arcade games on a disc under the name Xbox Live Arcade Unplugged Volume 1. It's a good collection for two types of people. If you don't have an Internet connection (and if you don't, how are you reading this review?), this is the only way to get these games. Or, if you have your Xbox hooked up but haven't purchased any of these six games, you can now get all six in one shot at a slight discount.

Geometry Wars is one of the six games you'll get as part of this package.
Geometry Wars is one of the six games you'll get as part of this package.

Of the six games included, the best of the bunch is Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved. This dual-joystick shooter was the game that made the download service make sense, and it's still fantastic. But the package is well-rounded, so if the nerve-wracking action of Geometry Wars isn't your thing, the puzzle game genre is covered by Bejeweled 2. You've also got a puzzle-action hybrid in the form of Wik: Fable of Souls, a few parlor games with Hardwood Backgammon and Texas Hold 'em, and the charming strategy game Outpost Kaloki X. Most of these games work fine in a single-player environment, but without an Xbox Live Gold account, Texas Hold 'em's weak poker artificial intelligence isn't much fun for long, and Hardwood Backgammon is better against another player, as well.

The way the disc works is quite simple. Rather than install the games to your hard drive or memory unit, they run right off of the disc, but the games show up in your list of available Xbox Live Arcade games, just like the downloaded ones do. It's unfortunate that you can't install the games to the hard drive and toss the disc aside, but then that would probably just lead to people passing the disc around.

If you don't own any of these games and you'd like to, this collection is a good way to get them at a bit of a price break. But if you already own one or two of these games, you'd probably be better off cherry-picking games you like off of Xbox Live Marketplace instead of rebuying games you already own.

The Good
Six solid Xbox Live Arcade games in one package
comes with a free month of Xbox Live Gold
disc is cheaper than buying each game individually
The Bad
Odds are you won't fall in love with every single game on the disc
Texas Hold 'em is pretty lame if you can't play with other players
About GameSpot's Reviews

About the Author

Jeff Gerstmann has been professionally covering the video game industry since 1994.

Xbox Live Arcade Unplugged Volume 1 More Info

  • First Released Sep 5, 2006
    • Xbox 360
    Xbox Live Arcade Unplugged Volume 1 includes a variety of Xbox Live Arcade games (such as Geometry Wars) in one package that you can purchase offline.
    Average Rating493 Rating(s)
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    Published by:
    Microsoft Game Studios
    Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.