Limbo, Lara Croft & Castlevania Heat Up Xbox Live's 'Summer of Arcade'

Microsoft is kicking off its summertime Xbox Live Arcade push with the dark and lovely Limbo, wrapping it up with the Tomb Raider spin-off Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light, dating even more downloadable hits through August.

The Summer of Arcade download-fest stars on July 21 when Playdead's puzzle platformer Limbo arrives. It's great. Buy it. That's followed by high-speed boat racer Hydro Thunder Hurricane, the multiplayer focused Castlevania: Harmony of Despair and the class-based, third-person shooter/multiplayer tower defense gem Monday Night Combat. It's five weeks worth of XBLA's best, helping to fill the summertime retail release void.

These five downloadable titles represent Microsoft's choices for Xbox Live Summer of Arcade and all are priced at 1200 Microsoft Points, the platform's new standard.

Buy three of those Summer of Arcade games and you'll get 400 Microsoft Points back, making the higher prices a teensy bit easier to swallow.

Based on my hands-on and eyes-on time with each of these games, they should be purchased in the following order: Limbo, Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light, Monday Night Combat, Castlevania: Harmony of Despair and, last and perhaps least, Hydro Thunder Hurricane.