Week in Arcade: Phantom Breaker, Runner 2


Two games this week, combining together for $25 of fun. Also, Pinball FX 2 gains some Star Wars tables.

Phantom Breaker: Battle Grounds

Funny enough, fighting game fans are still waiting for an official US release for the franchise, but instead, this spin-off arrived first. Taking the best elements of Scott Pilgrim vs the World on XBLA and spicing it up with a surprisingly robust fighting engine (for a brawler) that is an absolute blast to play. Great retro music and large pixels are backed by simple polygons in the background. Players slip through different planes of the background instead of traditional movement (more Guardian Heroes than anything), making for crowded – and fun – spaces with up to four players. A must for the retro inclined.

Runner 2

Bit.Trip brings their series of always running titles to XBLA in a quite advanced sequel. No, the gameplay has not changed, but instead of a more retro exterior, the game features fully polygonal backgrounds and characters. It is quite a shift. Tons of levels probably justify the $15 price (barely) and the general pacing of each level is quite fantastic. Later levels are exquisite with their challenge, and the perky music that syncs with the flow of the stages is great. Good to see the series make an appearance here.