Archives for :

Mazeoto Review

Mazeoto is an FPS Maze game by new developer 10K31. I liked this game despite some of its flaws. Do you miss those days of dungeon crawling for 20 minutes only to find out you went the wrong way somewhere along the line and now have to go back to a different turn off? I know I do. These days games have gotten so easy that you never get lost or turned around. With graphics getting so good in games you have plenty of ways to identify your way, it’s lost that feel of where did I go wrong?

Mazeoto has awesome preset mazes. In story mode there are 4 levels of 3 mazes each, for a total of 12 mazes to wind your way through. You can also play these mazes by levels by just picking the levels you want to play from the main menu. If you are wanting more mazes there is also a random maze option on the main menu. Giving you endless maze wandering fun. To aid you along, you can bring up a map of the level to work your way through. I chose not to use this as much as possible. You also have a radar that shows you a very small grid on your hud of the walls around you and whats on the other side as well. Like any good maze once you put your pencil down and start making your way through it leaves a trail behind you showing every mistaken path you’ve taken. On the map it shades the path you have taken so you can see how many wrong turns you have made.

Mazeoto’s FPS elements aren’t the greatest, but they aren’t all bad. There are sentry style enemies that just lie in wait for you to come then start shooting at you. There are also enemies that wait till they see you then begin chase. Lastly there are a couple that will hunt you down through the maze. These can be the most annoying of them all, but are a definite need in the game.

There is only one weapon in the game, but if you play the story it makes sense why. If you were an experiment by aliens would you as the aliens give the experiment more than one weapon? I wouldn’t and the gun you get is good enough for anything you’ll come across. Also for a little more help in the game there are health circles that will give you back some health, as well as blue teleporters that will take you to other parts of the maze. When looking at the maze you can see where all these things are, as well as the enemies, just not what type of enemy. Which is good for people who aren’t good at fps’s or mazes.

Now as a reviewer, I wouldn’t feel right if I didn’t tell you the downsides of the game. So here they are but note I talked with the developer and told him my concerns and he seemed receptive to a probable update to the game to fix some of these issues. Here they are so that if you get this game which I would, especially if you love mazes. The downsides are only in the FPS element, but I can see it upsetting some. Anyways on with it right. There are too many heals on a level which makes it feel like the enemies are not nearly as threatening even if you do get lost. The enemies damage is not great enough or varied enough. They all seem to do very little damage even when you are just letting them chase you. I told him my concerns about this and I hope we do see an update to the enemies damage and less heal spots to add to the challenge. I think that would make FPS fans happy and make the game as a whole sit well in both genres.

I look forward to his next venture into game development. I will be giving 3 ratings in this indie review because of its dual genre mix and a final overall rating.

As a maze/puzzle game I give this a 5 of 5, it is just great in my opinion.
As a FPS game I currently give it a 3 out of 5 if this is what your looking for play the trial first.

Overall I give the game a 4 out of 5 a really good game that with one update could be a great game in both genres.

Pellmell Review

Pellmell is an indie game by Sorcery Games that you probably didn’t even try. If you want to know what pellmell means it’s “in a confused haste”. So now that you have your new word of the day, lets get to how it relates to the game. This is a fast pased shmup where you play a guy running pellmell through the stages.

In Pellmell you can play arcade or co-op mode. The game supports up to 4 people locally and while I never got four people I did manage 3 and it was fun. Like any good shmup you have your power-ups, your various enemies, your goal to get the next stage and plenty of things to shoot at. You will also do some wall and floor trap jumping to add to your blasting away enemies.

Some really nice things you have to look forward to in this game is, your not in a ship. Your just a little guy running and shooting. Your looking at a floor instead of the blackness of space. Not too many shmups stray from the space route, but this one does it well. To boot this gem boasts 100 levels to play your way through. If you’re like me and you’re saying “There is no way I could complete that”. There is the wonderful feature of any level you’ve gotten to can be where you start the game.

Since power-ups are limited use in this game starting at a higher stage doesn’t effect what you at all. You won’t be starting out going oh man I’m so underpowered. You will have the same advantage you had the first time you played the stage. So think of it as a great little continue system that lets you replay any of the stages you beat or just get you back to where you left off.

I have to say I had the most fun playing this game with my girlfriend and son. As long as someone finishes the stage you all start up on the next one. Another nice thing is that there is bonus points awarded for reaching a certain score for that stage, you usually have to pass up the first stage exit to reach that point total, but don’t worry once you make it to a stage exit they start appearing pretty close to each other. You can also earn in game awards, an indie game may not have achievements but getting some of these awards are worth showing off.

If you like shmups you’ll like this, it’s fast paced. It has a good difficulty progression as well as the ability to up or lower the game difficulty as a whole. It also appeals a little to platformers in that you have the jumping obstacles that really hurt if you run into them. Okay so it’s not really a platformer but it has that little extra over your average shoot-em up. Local leaderboard to show your well.

For it’s little starter story, great gameplay, excellent varied enemies and the great time you’ll be sure to have playing it. My rating was an easy decision to make.

5 out of 5 in my book.

Xenocide Review

Mstar Games have taken what made Space Invaders great, and then went and made it even better. That is Xenocide. I say that emphatically, this game really captures the feel of its inspiration. If you want to know what they did to up the anti on the classic game read on. You know you want to.

Alright first up let us start with the first thing you’ll see when you start this up, the Menu. Unlike other games the menu is set up along the top and you must shoot the choices like you would the aliens in the game. It is a small and simple thing, but a nice unique touch.

Now lets get to the game modes. You have Arcade or Classic. Now Classic mode is pretty simple. It is the game we all know and love with multiplayer support. There isn’t anything crazy or power ups or anything like  that just good old fashioned alien shooting before they reach the bottom. Arcade mode is where things are changed up. You have large aliens that when you destroy them they break into the smaller more familiar sized aliens. You have power ups that give you triple fire for a limited number of shots. You have a gravity missile power up where a section beautifully warps in on itself destroying the aliens. There are other power ups, but I’m not going to run down everyone I came across. All weapon power ups are limited shots so you have to use them carefully to make the most out of them. This element prevents the game from straying to much from its roots. At least that is how I felt. It also manages to keep the difficulty in the game without things breaking down.

This game is not a bullet hell game or anything close. Yes the aliens fire upon you but their shots are clearly seen and keep the feel of the game like that of the original Space Invaders. Honestly if I didn’t know it, this game could easily be mistaken as a sequel gameplay wise and I mean that in the best possible way. Now the game is hard, its controls are sensitive you can move very quickly across the screen if you push the left stick too far. That was how I usually ended up getting myself killed or missing the intended shot.

The game fully supports 4 player local multiplayer and its a lot of fun sitting down and getting a multiplayer game of this going. For us old school gamers the older games are like guilty pleasures that the younger generation just missed out on. It is great to see new takes on these great games to bring it to our children. This game also has a local and global leaderboard if your playing while someone else is.

I give this game a 4 out of 5. So download the trial I bet you’ll be buying it.

Return All Robots! Review

Space Whale Studios brewed up an interesting game in their lab, Return All Robots. This game is a puzzle game with a plot, I always like those a little better than your standard puzzle after puzzle. Especially if the plot is good, whether it be serious or humorous. This game goes with humorous.

I will say the plot is funny and goofy and if I worked at the company the character you play does, I think I would just have to kill the intern trainee. Although pretty much everyone at the company your character starts to work for just seems to be horrible. So catastrophe strikes and of coarse they send the intern to clean up the mess. That is you.

Your job is to make sure all the friendly little blue robots are saved from each puzzle. You do this with a remote that cause all robots good or bad to head towards your direction. The stages are each puzzles that require you to maneuver the good robots through without them touching the bad robots or any destructive trap/terrain. The game play is very easy to figure out, but it gets very hard to figure out some of these puzzles. The story keeps you moving though. I know it made me want to see the end.

Games with stories are just a nice touch, gives you a sense of importance in the game. Well you get that here, although your co-workers make not always make you feel that way. Don’t you just love big business. Anyway you do get a few other items in the labs to assist you in the puzzles, or in some cases make them impossible to complete.

You can always restart the current puzzle and if you think you can best your previous time on a puzzle go back in and do it. Every puzzle you complete shows your time and calls it took to complete. So you can always just do it again, to beat your previous time or just to play a puzzle you liked again. Another nice  little feature is that even after you finish the games story there are some advanced difficulty puzzles that become available. So you still have more you can do.

All in all for a unique puzzle game with some descent music I had fun and can see myself playing a few of the puzzles again just to lower that time that can sometimes look really bad.

I give this game a 4 out of 5 so go download the trial now, you’ll probably be buying it 7 minutes later.

Starchon Review

Starchon is an amazing indie game from Freelance Games and was a joy to review. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started playing this game. I’m just glad I did start playing. On the first night I started this up, I had to stop playing because I needed to go to sleep. I sure as heck wasn’t done playing, and all the next day I kept thinking man I can’t wait to get back and finish that game.

So you’re probably wondering what was so good about it. The first thing to note is that it isn’t like other space shooters commonly found on XBLIGs. This isn’t some twin stick shooter and its not a scrolling shmup either. You battle in sectors that are big squares of space ships jump in and jump out of the sector, mostly they jump in if your there. You have your standard overhead view of the ships and fly around taking out the enemy Pigia ships. You lose if your ship, your battleship or whatever objective the particular mission has is destroyed. The controls take a little getting used to and may turn away a few people with the trial, and that is sad because once you get a handle on them its really quite comfortable. It sort of reminded me of playing a game on the SNES or Genesis.

Each mission is comprised of multiple sectors that you will be moving through. Some missions your battleship will jump you to the next sector on its own and you can’t stop it, other missions you have complete control of when and which sector you will jump into next. These are the missions that require a bit of strategy to beat. If you jump too far ahead enemy ships will be left behind and jump into battle with your starbase. That can be game over. So you have to clear the way and do it fast enough to take out the enemy starbase(s). Some missions have sectors that can be entered from multiple sectors this can be a little challenging since when you leave to go to one enemy starbase the other ones will keep sending enemies in behind you. Sometimes forcing you to go back to clean them up and prevent them from getting to your starbase.

There is more to it than that though. As you destroy the enemies you collect salvage points. These points can be used to research weapons, shields, engines, generators and even new ships for you to fly. These researched pieces can be equipped to your ships in numerous configurations to make your ship and your battleship the way you want it to be. I really liked this aspect. Now the danger is you will be doing your upgrading within missions not between them. You just have to dock on your battleship and upgrade away.

If your wondering what happens when you die, well you can just continue. You lose nothing except your high score. You have unlimited lives this way. You can also reply missions as well as stop playing and when you come back any mission you have started will remain unlocked and your ship upgrades will still be in place. I liked this since I couldn’t finish it in one sitting. It is a couple of hours worth of play I would say somewhere between 2 and 3 hours. Your replay value comes in going back into completed missions and getting a higher score for the scoreboard. Between the real time strategy aspects and the space shooter aspects the game offers a good mix of the two and is well worth playing for fans of either genre.

5 out of 5 without question.

Vertigo Review

Vertigo the game; not the wonderful Alfred Hitchcock movie, created by Run Jump Duck Entertainment is an evil speed game. It’s a lot like parkour or freerunning in game form and it is not easy.

Now I’m going to admit that when it comes to time based games I’m horrible. This game just made me look sad. I keep getting crushed on the 3rd stage. Let’s move on though Vertigo’s game play is simple, if you can time things properly. You use the left stick for movement and the A button for jumping and activating speed bursts and check points.

The object of the game is to get from the start of a stage to the end of it within a very short time. You’ll need to hit a lot of speed bursts, slide under signs and burst through building windows to make it. Missing the wrong speed boost can hurt so much.

Every stage you beat unlocks it for “Instant Action” mode and “Play” Mode which has a time trial and checkpoint mode as well as supports multiple players. So you need to beat campaign mode to unlock the stages as well as the different characters you can play as. That way you and your local friends can have some diversity in the stages playable.

Your time is kept on a leaderboard that allows you to type in any name or defaults to Player 1. I wasn’t impressed with the leaderboard, but visually the game is really nice and well designed from the stages I played. Even the story line for the campaign is a nice touch, but I do have some issues with the game.

First, It needs the option to just skip the whole conversation at the beginning of as stage. Every time you have to restart the stage because you failed to make the time you have to listen to it again. Yes you can press a button to speed it up by repeatedly tapping it, but a one button press would be so much nicer.

Second, I think the A button being both the jump button and the boost button is just really bad thinking. I can’t tell you how many times I was a second too soon or too late for the boost and ended up jumping because I missed it. If the boost was triggered by the RT button instead of the A button it would be a lot better. Especially since a jump at the wrong time can cause you to smack into a sign or wall slows you down a whole lot more than missing the boost.

If they split the one button into two and allowed a quick skip option for the text you have to see over and over again, I would be rating this game a 4 out of 5.

Sadly the way it is I give it a 3 out of 5.

The Indie Games Winter Uprising Gets the Spotlight

This is an event started by the designers of indie games on Xbox. The event has released a lot of really good games of different varieties. Two of the games are still to be released, but of the 14 game line-up that isn’t bad. They started the event to bring more attention to Xbox Indie Games in general as well as there own. To show it’s not just a bunch of apps, but some real quality games.

They succeeded in garnering enough attention that even Microsoft took note. So, for the 12 games already released they have a panel on the Xbox Spotlight. Way to go, hopefully this will show people who are afraid to buy the indie games that there are great games for decent prices that are well worth the risk of picking up a bad game, when you could get 3 more that you love.

So here is a list of the games released as part of the Uprising as well as links to my reviews on the ones I’ve reviewed. So take a look here and at your dashboard and pick up a couple if you haven’t yet.

Epic Dungeon
Hypership Out of Control
Break Limit
Decimation X3
Soul Caster 2
Crossfire 2
Aphelion: Episode Two: Wings of Omega
Asteroids Do Concern Me
Chu’s Dynasty
ZP2KX: Zombies & Pterodactyls
Alpha Squad

Cthulhu Saves the World

With these games to be released
Rickenbacker vs. the Aliens

Congratulations to them for succeeding in getting noticed and to all the dev’s for making such great games. I hope this impacts the indie marketplace in a great way, introducing non-indie game buyers into exploring the wide variety of indie games available on XBLIG.

The following link brings you to their official page;

A Shooter Review

Okay “A Shooter” is a game by Sorcery Games for the Xbox Indie Marketplace. Yes, it is a schmup and yes the title pretty much says it all. You fly in your ship horizontally blasting your way through each stage. To me this game felt like it fell right from my old SNES Collection.

Graphically this game looks and feels like an SNES game. It’s simple design and game play make it real easy for people of any age to get into. I love that your not shooting at a bunch of asteroids or geometric shapes. You’re shooting at enemy ships, what appears to be mines and later on something that reminds me of a bunch of borg ships. The game has Arcade mode which is your single player option or cooperative where you can have up to 4 people blasting away with you.

One thing I really like is that on cooperative play its a little harder to make up for the added help. Another thing that is great is everyone sort of has one life. If anyone dies they are dead until at least one player makes it to the next level. Then they come back with full health, which is great when playing with others and they die on the first stage. If all players die that is it though. poof. Makes sense to me.

There are leaderboards for the game both local and online, but be happy if it ever syncs with someone. This game looks to have been over looked by most. Now I’ll give you my greif on the game. About the first 5 stages seem really really slow to me. Which I know most people won’t play past that point, and that is a shame since it gets better once you get to the harder stages. The bosses are a nice touch at the end of each stage, each with a different movement pattern and firing pattern.

Overall though I found the game to be quite enjoyable even if it’s not the best schmup out there.

4 out of 5

ZP2KX: Zombies & Pterodactyls! Review – Winter Uprising

Ska Studios‘ indie game ZP2KX: Zombies & Pterodactyls! which from this point will just be referred to as ZP2KX is another title of the Winter Uprising. If you have ever played ZP2K9 then you have an idea of how this game plays, if not don’t worry I’ll tell you about it.

This game is a shooting frenzy. With many maps to play on your little man runs, jumps, walks on walls and ceilings and even has a jet pack to get around. You pick up weapons along the way to blow your enemies up, stab, or even shrink them.

This game has every major match type you could think of; Death Match, Team Death Match, Humans vs Zombies, Capture the Flag, King of the Hill. For a 2D scrolling game it pulls off the different shooter modes really well. The game has a level system that unlocks cloths, skills, and classes.  You can modify all the classes with any skills you already unlocked.

This game is the the best xblig online game I’ve played. Every time I’ve went to play there has always been others playing. Even if you manage to find a time that people aren’t playing you can play in practice mode against bots.

The game plays like a twin stick shooter for direction of fire and movement. Other buttons are used to throw grenades or proximity mines or whatever you may be carrying as well as other things but all of this is easy to get used to. All the match types are jump in jump out style which is great for the gamer who has only 15 minutes before dinner or some other activity.

I give this a very solid 5 out of 5. Don’t even bother with the trial just buy this game, you won’t feel cheated.

GGC X Review

The holiday season always brings indie games dedicated to the season. This year Ludosity Interactive‘s brought GGC X to the marketplace. GGC X stands for Garden Gnome Carnage X-mas. This game is simple yet strangely addictive. It isn’t like the game has good graphics or great music, but its so easy to pick up and play till you want to play something more serious.

So let’s get to what the game is all about. Your a garden gnome and you have a serious problem with the Christmas spirit. So your goal is simple keep the elves from climbing the building and the Santas from landing on the roof. So you have tied yourself to the chimney and put the building on wheels. You jump off the roof and swing around bungee style as you roll the building left and right. All the while you can rip bricks off the wall to throw like grenades. Don’t worry you can replenish the bricks on the house if you let the black cat get to the roof. If you get into big trouble you can call in an air strike 3 times.

There is a bonus mini mode that you can earn by crushing those nasty little cheer bringers. You get points based on how hard you hit the elves or Santas. There is an online leaderboard for the game as well as a local leaderboard.

Now you may say this doesn’t sound fun, but download the trial it’s a lot more entertaining than I can really put into words. Maybe I just get a kick out of throwing bricks at Santa and his elves, but I liked this game.

I give this a 3 out of 5 and my reason for the 3 instead of the 4 is that the game is very seasonal.