Cave and SNK Games Sneak onto XBLA

While Ubisoft’s Outland is this week’s premiere XBLA release, two more games have appeared on the service today. The frequency of quiet releases has increased lately, often because the games are terrible. Let’s give the following Japanese releases the benefit of the doubt, though, shall we?

Of particular note is NIN2-JUMP, an action-platformer that carries an aesthetic best described as “old Japanese art meets N+.” Siliconera reports that all proceeds for the Cave-developed title will go to the Japanese Red Cross for earthquake/tsunami relief efforts. It’s also worth noting that the game only costs five bucks, so hey, why not?

The second title may be less charitable, but bullet-hell shooter fans will want to take note. Trouble Witches Neo is a horizontal scrolling shooter situated firmly in the “young girls inexplicably shooting lasers out of broomsticks” genre. It looks Japanese as hell, with alarmingly cute graphics and JRPG-style dialogue sections. It’s also Part One in a series and subtitled “Episode One: Daughters of Amalgam.” But based on the description on Xbox Live, Microsoft would rather this be a one-time occurrence.

Releases on the 360 Marketplace are growing more plentiful each week. They’re also getting more obscure and bizarre, adding some welcome variety. While some people at Microsoft seem to want these releases kept on the down-low, the Japanese games in particular are a cost-effective way to check out something different. If you play either game, let us know what you think in the comments below.

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Video games became an amazing, artful, interactive story-driven medium for me right around when I played Panzer Dragoon Saga on Sega Saturn. Ever since then, I’ve wanted to be a part of this industry. Somewhere along the line I, possibly foolishly, decided I’d rather write about them than actually make them. So here I am.