hsa_editedHalo: Spartan Assault, a twin-stick shooter set between Halos 3 and 4, has appeared on the Xbox One games store. It was expected to appear tomorrow, so it’s a little surprising to see it pop up a day early. Maybe the Xbox Live people are knocking off for Christmas?

The game costs £11.99 (or £3.99 if, like me, you’ve previously bought it on Windows/Windows Phone 8) and the download weighs in at 2.53GB. I can’t seem to find a listing on Xbox.com, but the game is certainly available as I’ve currently got it downloading; just navigate to the store on your console and you’ll see it under ‘new releases’. The game will also hit Xbox 360 next month.

I’ll update this post with some impressions (and maybe a Game DVR clip or two) a bit later. For now, if you’re new to Halo: Spartan Assault, give my brief impressions of the Windows 8 version a read.

I’ve managed to play a couple of hours of Spartan Assault, and it seems to be exactly the same game that I played on my tablet months ago – from its front-end to its cutscenes to its missions. This is no bad thing really as it was a fun game, and the pad controls work well, transposing Halo‘s FPS control layout onto a top down shooter: you move with the left stick, aim with the right, switch weapons with ‘Y’, melee with ‘RB’, use armour abilities with ‘LB’ and throw grenades with the left trigger. One thing that initially confused me is that you fire with the right trigger rather than just pushing the right stick in the direction you wish to fire. Obviously it makes sense in the context of Halo‘s console controls being moved across, but it threw me to begin with. Once you’re used to it though, it does grant you a finer degree of control in your firing.

Graphically, the game isn’t going to wow anyone expecting a next-gen powerhouse, but it does look very nice running at full 1080p, and it runs very fluidly. Apparently there is a new co-op mode in which you can take on waves of Flood with a friend. As I don’t know anyone else that owns the game on Xbox One, I haven’t been able to try this out. Hopefully in the coming weeks I’ll be able to give the new mode a bash.

For now, have a look at a video I made in Upload Studio. It’s five minutes of gameplay taken from the tenth mission, B5. In it, I take to a Scorpion tank in a large open map and proceed to blow the living crap out of Covenant infantry, turrets and Ghosts as I hunt down a number of Wraiths. Enjoy.