XBox Live “House Party” to begin next week

XBox Live’s “House Party” promotion is scheduled to begin Feb. 16 with the online release of “Hard Corps: Uprising.” Four additional games are scheduled to be released on successive Wednesdays.

In this writer’s opinion, the re-release of “Beyond Good & Evil” is the most interesting of the five House Party games, if only because I never had time to finish the game when it first came out in 2003. It’s a shame too, because the title seems to have the reputation as being one of the best games of its generation that very few people played.

That said, the action RPG “Torchlight” has gathered some rave reviews and may also benefit from a chance to find a wider audience.

Here’s the full House Party release schedule:

  • Hard Corps: Uprising (Konami). The action 2D side-scroller in the “Contra” tradition is set for a Feb. 16 release. Price: 1,200 Microsoft Points.
  • Bejeweled Blitz Live (PopCap Games). Why are casual games popular? Because the addictive ones are easy to figure out, quick to play and tempt players to keep coming back and beat their last score. American productivity may very well come to a halt when the XBox live version of this game, featuring a 16-player “Party” mode is released Feb 23. Price: 800 Microsoft Points.
  • Beyond Good & Evil (Ubisoft). Originally released during the GameCube/PlayStation2/XBox generation, this is a futuristic action-adventure that puts playersin the role of a female photojournalist on a mission to expose a government conspiracy. There are also aliens. Somehow ,this game was not a hit, but it gets a second chance March 2. Price: 800 Microsoft Points.
  • Torchlight (Runic/Microsoft Game Studios) An action RPG with more than 800,000 units sold, according to the people at Xbox. Game Informer reviewed the game as the “best Diablo clone in years” and praised its difficulty, character progression and “clever enemy design.” The XBox Live release is scheduled for March 9. Price: 1,200 Microsoft Points.
  • Full House Poker (Microsoft Game Studios, XBox/Krome Studios, Windows Phone 7) This is a Texas Hold ‘Em game with multiple play modes for the console and Windows Phone. Release is set for March 16. Price: 800 Microsoft Points.