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Home > Games > Non Violent > The Top Non-Violent Xbox Live Games – Big Fun with a Small Price Tag

The Top Non-Violent Xbox Live Games – Big Fun with a Small Price Tag

Zoey HughesMy recommendations for non-violent XBLA games include Fruit Ninja Kinect, Peggle and Monkey Island.
~ Zoey Hughes
I am an arcade addict. Having played 120 XBLA titles to date, spanning all genres, there are few people better gemmed up on downloadable offerings than me. You name it, I’ve played it. Here are some of the non violent Xbox Live games that really made me smile.

Don’t forget to check out the complete list of non-violent Xbox 360 games here!

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Fruit Ninja Kinect

I have mentioned Fruit Ninja before but when it comes to non-violent fun it deserves another mention. I was amazed at how much I enjoyed this ridiculous little game. I just couldn’t put it down.

The premise is simple. You are a ninja. You hate fruit. Various fruits appear on the screen and you must chop them up, whilst avoiding specific fruits. Whilst the pedantic amongst you could argue that the chopping is a violent gesture, let’s be honest – this is no more violent than making a fruit salad!

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Peggle

Suitable for all ages and a wondrous experience from start to finish, I would recommend it to anyone

Popcap are well renowned for their cutesy looking hideously addictive puzzle titles but it was Peggle that really put them on the map on consoles.

Playing various masters with different skills you launch a ball through a screen full of pegs, trying to land in a moving bucket below. Sounds simple, right? And it kind of is, but if you want to get those top scores, and to clear all the pegs in tricky configurations you’re going to need a lot of luck and/or skill.

Suitable for all ages and a wondrous experience from start to finish, I would recommend it to anyone.

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Monkey Island

Insult: You fight like a dairy farmer. Comeback: How appropriate. You fight like a cow

You can’t go wrong with a classic, and The Secret of Monkey Island certainly deserves that title. I know point and clicks aren’t everyone’s cup of tea but this is a perfect example of humour instead of violence.

Outsmarting enemies to avoid confrontation is the name of the game (lead character Guybrush Threepwood is a bona fide wuss). One of the game highlights involves learning to fight like a pirate. This involves parrying with a sword whilst coming up with witty one-liners.

If you choose the right insult comeback then congratulations, you are victorious e.g. Insult: You fight like a dairy farmer. Comeback: How appropriate. You fight like a cow.

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Pac-man and Friends

Pac-man may have debuted in an arcade in 1980, but the brand is still going strong on consoles today. There are many retro video games for Xbox 360 Live that developers have tried to resurrect but few have led to as many new titles in the franchise as this.

You can always play original Pac-man, or Ms. Pac-man if you’re so inclined, but Pac-man Championship Edition and Championship DX are definitely the cream of the crop. Each one is a collection of well thought-out variants on the original game.

Changing mazes and new ghost behaviours are just some of the challenges you’ll come across. Personally I think Pac-man and time trials were made for each other.

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Peggle 2

Peggle is so good but there are some gameplay mechanics that can frustrate gamers and those who have tried to max it will have found the job next to impossible. Luckily, you can now enjoy Peggle 2.

With a combination of familiar faces (of course Bjorn the unicorn is back) and new Peggle masters, there’s a heap of new special moves to get your head around whilst you explore the large amount of well thought out levels and trials. The mechanics are far smoother, and whilst there’s still a lot of luck involved you’ll find yourself coming up trumps more times than not. The gameplay tweaks are small but the difference is huge, resulting in a much more relaxed feel and minimal frustration.

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Mad Tracks

…There’s not much to take seriously, but then that’s kind of the point…

As I child I loved the Micro Machines game, and with a lack of a modern day sequel, Mad Tracks is the closest I can find to the retro gem. The game is a combination of traditional racing (albeit as a toy car around a house) and events such as bowling, candy hunt and darts, all paired with a variety of power-ups and weaponry and event specific stipulations such as darkness.

It may not be a well-known title, but this little game packs a surprising amount of fun into its levels, and the fun can easily be extended by grabbing some friends and experimenting with multiplayer mode. If you enjoy light fun that you can dip in and out of then give Mad Tracks a go. There’s not much to take seriously, but then that’s kind of the point!

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Boom Boom Rocket

I love a good rhythm game. It’s such a simple concept for a game, just hit the buttons at the right time and watch the point pour in. Boom Boom Rocket couples simple gameplay with simple graphics in a surprisingly enjoyable way. The levels consist of various classical music tracks, techno-ed up, and you must launch fireworks at the right time to create a pretty display in the night sky.

The learning curve is manageable but you’ll have to have pretty fast reflexes and perfect timing to conquer this game (sadly my level of these skills was apparently not enough!). There’s also an endurance mode, where you can replay any track of your choosing on an endless loop with a gradually increasing speed. There’s also a downloadable track pack if you fancy a break from the pre-sets. Overall this is a pleasant and fun game that should make you smile as much as it frustrates you.

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Zuma’s Revenge

As I’ve said many times, you can’t go wrong with PopCap titles. Whether you’re ten or forty their collection of colourful addictive titles as a must have staple for any gamer. Peggle and its sequel might be the most popular PopCap titles at the moment but I’ve always been a massive lover of the Zuma franchise. A lot more accessible than previous Zuma games, Zuma’s Revenge is the top title in this series and adds a heap of new features.

The basic gameplay involves matching three or more of the same colour balls to eliminate chains. A stone frog spits the stones for you to line up, and you must make chains on the ever encroaching line of balls to earn enough points to stop the flow, and eliminate every last ball. Like all these things, it’s very simple to pick up, but an understanding of tactics and fast accurate work is needed to master this great little game. Having mastered this one I’m now hoping for another sequel in the near future because frankly, I just can’t get enough of it.

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Boogie Bunnies

Now Boogie Bunnies kind of flew under the radar, and was shunned by many because of the insane difficulty of later levels. If you go into it with the goal of having fun, not of getting to the end, this title is awesome so reframe any completionist instincts for one minute and fall in love with this adorable title.

The gameplay is again a twist on the old match 3 concept. You are presented with a grid of different coloured bunnies that will march forward one step every so many moves you make (or every so many seconds depending on the mode). You need to clear enough bunnies to reach a points target, but collapsing the lines backwards is a key tactic to avoid a particular line reaching the edge of the screen and causing a game over. Line up three aqua bunnies and your bunnies will start to “boogie”. The music will start up, they will all begin to dance (so cute!) and they will move forward at a considerably increased speed. Of course the opportunities to remove them also increase so it’s up to you to decide if you can handle another screen full of dancing bunnies at that point or not. There are also various special bunnies that will explode a set group of bunnies, clearing you some much needed space.

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Feeding Frenzy 1 & 2

… It’s nice and easy to squeeze in a level or two in an ad break, although you may find it harder to put down than you first thought…

Yet another PopCap franchise, Feeding Frenzy works on the simple premise of eat stuff small than you till you grow, rinse and repeat. You start as a tiny fish in the ocean and must consume enough smaller fish (the minority to say the least) whilst avoiding those big enough to eat you till you grow to the next size, at which point your lunch options expand.

Cartoony and humorously ridiculous, it may sound a bit gruesome but it’s actually far from it. The games aren’t too long (it’s a good job there’s two of them!) but they are wonderful pick up and play titles, filled with fun for all ages. The levels are all bite-sized (pun totally intended) so it’s nice and easy to squeeze in a level or two in an ad break, although you may find it harder to put down than you first thought!

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Chime

Every loves feeling like they’ve done a good deed, and simply by buying Chime you’ve accomplished that. Yes, up to 96% of the sales money from Chime sales went straight to charity (specifically split between Starlight and Save the Children) leaving you with a warm glowing feeling and a brand new game for a mere £3.39 (price correct at time of posting).

The game is a block-dropping music puzzle game in which you place tetrominoes into a grid to build up a tune and earn points. The pieces can be rotated and placed freely to make various combination shapes (or quads) whilst a beat line constantly moves across the screen to “play” your shapes.

The bottom line is that for the price of this game you can’t fail to have hours of good clean fun. Not a gun or body in sight yet this game will still captivate you.

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Every Extend Extra Extreme (E4)

I have a love-hate relationship with E4 unfortunately. I love the game itself, but unfortunately the rhythmic throbbing and flashing screen actually make me feel physically ill. I’ve never experienced anything like it with another game, and I’m not epileptic so I have to start this with a health warning. If you’re at all sensitive to vibrations or flashes then this isn’t the game for you. If you’re not, then enjoy.

Another simple premise, you control a ship that you can detonate at will. When you do so enemies within a certain radius will explode, causing chains of explosions to earn points. The busier the screen and the more tightly packed the enemies the larger the scoring opportunity. Power-ups of various types appear around the screen and you can cancel out of an explosion at any time if you see something you simply must have. The whole time a basic beat is playing in the background. Explosions add layers to this beat and the speed will increase the longer you play. Detonate your ship on the beat and earn a bonus that will multiple your explosion score, but get hit by an enemy and you will lose a life, and any speed gained with it.

Graphically this is a stripped back game, similar to Geometry Wars in style, but the combination of rhythm gameplay and action is surprisingly addictive.

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Quarrel

… Combining tactical elements with anagram solving skills, this was right up my street…

They say the pen is mightier than the sword and that might be true, but in this case it’s also far less violent! Quarrel comes off the back of the world’s obsession with internet word games such as Words With Friends. Combining tactical elements with anagram solving skills, this was right up my street.

The gameplay area is a board made up of various territories allocated between the AI and human teams. Each territory holds a certain number of people and they represent letters. You pick a neighbouring territory, invade with your little guys and settle it the only way they know how – a timed Countdown-esque letter round. The more people you have the longer you can make your word. The letters are scored a la Scrabble and if you beat your opponent you take their territory and their men. Clear the whole board to win, and try to get as many 8 letter words as possible as you progress.

Word lovers will adore this game; others will fail to see how anyone can enjoy it. If you’re the former get stuck in!

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Puzzle Bobble Live!

Ah, Puzzle Bobble, an old classic that’s been replicated many times. This is one of the original match 3 experiences. Coloured balls are placed is various patterns and it’s up to you to shoot balls up at them to eliminate them. You can bounce them off the walls of the play area, and gravity also plays its part; if you remove a group of balls above the bottom line then any attached ones that relied on them for support will also fall and disappear.

To be honest, there’s not really much more to say. The Live version doesn’t really add anything new or tampered with the existing format, but if you like casual gaming on Facebook and the like then this is the perfect non-violent action-puzzler for you.

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Zoey’s Verdict

To be honest I could come up with dozens of great Xbox Live non violent games, but when it comes to the titles that will appeal to the greatest amount of people I choose those that made me smile the most, whilst avoiding the greatest head-scratchers (ilomilo is a non-violent masterpiece, but will frustrate those who aren’t puzzle fiends).

If you’re only looking to pick up one title from this list, make it Peggle and it will make your day.

 

My name is Zoey Hughes and I′m a video games contributor for itcher. I also write and review for various gaming websites. My first console was the ZX Spectrum and I’ve been utterly hooked ever since. I love all things game related and can usually be found with a controller in my hand, but I’m also passionate about reading, fashion and music. I live a quiet life with my husband/co-op partner whilst I try to keep my competitive side hidden.
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