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Here's something mighty nice to start your week off with. A.R.E.S. : Extinction Agenda, the first prize winner of XNA Dream Build Play 2010, is released tomorrow - but there's a demo available today, so you can give it a shot before considering a purchase.

A nasty race called the Zytron have taken over all the machines in the world, and are wreaking havoc. Oddly, robot hero A.R.E.S. hasn't been affected, and sets out to save stranded survivors and destroy the Zytron. The game is a side-scrolling platformer with plenty of blasting and Metroidvania level design. You've got big boss battles, secrets to find, weapons to upgrade... and if you haven't already noticed from the above video, A.R.E.S. looks really gorgeous in motion.

I've just spent a good portion of my morning playing the final version, and it's brilliant stuff. Dead robots drop their parts all over the floor, and you can pick them up and recycle them, turning junk into health kits and weapon upgrades. The visuals were definitely a highlight - in full HD, it all looks so crisp and wonderful.

I found that the game was best played with an Xbox 360 controller as the double-stick shooting is glorious, although the mouse + keyboard combo is perfectly fine too. There's another video just below the cut, which shows even more gameplay footage. Make sure you check the demo out, and if it takes your fancy, the game is available to pre-order for $15 (£13).


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