Archives for : Xbox Reviews

Cepinas Review

Looking for a Action Space Shooter/RTS game? Well, Pame Interactive released CEPINAS on the XBLIG marketplace to fill that desire. Before anyone asks or I get any further let me say it now, this is not a twin stick shooter. It seems wrong that I feel the need to say that, but it does happen to be the case for a lot of games with similar styles.

The games concept is a simple one. Conquer the planets on the map and hold them. Do this to progress through the 8 different maps in campaign mode. Obviously it can’t be too simple, what would be the fun in that, right? First off there are 5 rounds for each map, so to move to the next map you must control the majority of the territory on that map at the end of round 5. A nice feature to this game is that the method you assure dominance and control is up to you. So lets talk about that next.

Cepinas gameplay consists of you controlling a ship that can shoot enemy ships, satellites, and asteroids as well as conquer neutral or enemy planets. The controls are a little different than most overhead shooters. RT is your gas, LT is for leaving a trail used to conquer planets, A is used for firing and the stick is used for turning right and left. To conquer a planet you have to get between the planet and the orbit ring and circle the entire planet, do this and it’s yours. This is all the enemy has to do to take a planet from you as well.

So what makes this game anything more than a shooter? Well for one each round is on a timer, there is no limit to how many time you can smash into a planet or an enemy ship. You have to think ahead. Taking a small planet will give you a small amount of money at the end of the round as well as right away, but will only add a small amount of territory control. Taking a large planet will give you more money immediately as well as more money at the end of the rounds in which you control it, but it takes longer to circle the planet and that adds to the risk of accidentally crashing into the planet, an enemy or satellite shooting you. You may have to forgo taking a planet in order to defend one you’ve already taken. So it isn’t just go out there guns blazing and expect to win.

Now, what do you get for the money between rounds? There are a number of options to choose from. Each planet can have up to 3 satellites circling it, and you have 5 levels of satellites to chose from the cheapest just floats around the ring and is an annoyance, but 2 through 5 shoot at enemies near them as well as can take more hits the higher the level they are. Another option is to shrink the size of the orbit ring around the planet, this can really make it harder for the enemy to take it from you as they are more likely to crash than before. The other options are upgrades to your ship. You can upgrade its speed, or the power of its attack. You can change its fire from single fire to double or a wide spread three shot, not to mention shields. Between all these options the computer will be doing similar upgrades to their planets as well. So it’s best to take away their planets before end of round as well as get control of the largest planets.

The game plays out very nicely and is a bit frustrating at times, each map seems to favor different options and strategies. With graphics reminiscent of the SNES days you won’t be playing this game for its appearance. The music for the game fits well, which is nice. Sadly I was unable to find an opponent to play online so I couldn’t experience the online multiplayer, which I am sure would have been a highlight of this game.

There were some flaws to the game, in the sense of glitches/bugs. When you first start the game there is a small glitch when it loads, but it doesn’t appear to do anything but pause the title screen for a second. The second glitch I found was far more annoying. While playing campaign mode on the very first map, at the end of round 5 I lost and the glitch caused the game to lock up and I had to exit to the dashboard to restart the game. The third glitch is when you later lose on a stage in campaign mode it asks to continue or return to menu. If you say return to menu it actually continues while if you say continue it brings you back to the map selection menu. Most of these glitches are more irritating than anything else, but you should be warned they are there and I can’t say for sure that there aren’t others.

In the end I give this game a 2 out of 5, between the bugs, lack of local mutliplayer. I can’t see this game holding many peoples attention for long. I think you would need to buy this game with an online friend so you have a challenger to play against, to get the most out of it. I actually did like this game and would have rated it higher if I could have played split screen, or wasn’t worried that I would run into another bug that required me to exit to the dashboard. With a little bit of love (some bug fixes) this game could easily be a 3 out of 5.

Dark Seal Review

Andreil’s Game put out an XBLIG, Dark Seal back in March 2010 and I spent some enjoyable time with it this weekend. Let’s go over this simple to play turn based strategy game. As simple as this game is it, really made me remember what I missed of the board game era.

Dark Seal is played on a hexagonal board filled with hexagonal spaces. Six evil warlocks are vying for control of the Dark Seal, and the one who controls the most territory at the end will be the victor. To stop you from doing this you have 10 waves of good guy troops attempting to take all of the warlocks territory away as well as other warlocks looking to keep you out of the running.

The way the game works is the more territory you own the more spells you’ll have at the beginning of your turn. The spells and your minions are how you will beat back the hero’s and blast the other warlocks. There are a few interesting rules to the game. One is that you can’t use your minions to take a rival warlocks land or attack a rival’s minions. They can only be used against the heroes that move in from the outer ring. Your spells on the other hand can be used against anyone. That is how you strike at your rival warlocks.

There is an aspect of randomness to the game that, I feels adds a great deal to it. The spells you start off with in a round are more like if you had to draw so many cards from the top of a deck, what you get is what you get. They can be very unhelpful or incredibly helpful. This randomness gives any warlock a chance to come back from the brink. That is if they know what they need to do. The magic cards could be as simple as take an empty enemy territory or place two units in one of your territories. Some spell cards destroy a set number of units from a square, and some do that and take the square if it is unoccupied after the troops are destroyed. There is a set of random ones that will randomly switch one square you chose with a randomly picked one on the board. This could be good or terrible for you.

The key thing to remember is territory is what counts the more you own the more cards you get. So if you are wanting a lot of options on your turn you need to maintain control of the majority of spaces. The game may seem very random, in playing it a number of times it really isn’t that random even with the chance of drawing some spells that are weak. Once the final wave hits the turns will continue until the good troops are all gone. No new good troops will arrive so this is your chance to take back the lost territories and steal your rivals land.

Once that last good troop falls the game will finish out the turn and the winner will be the warlock that controls the seal. It’s easy to tell who controls the seal since the seal changes to there color. So you always know who is in the lead. While the computer AI acts a bit erratic at points with their moves, the game is definitely meant for multiplayer. In multiplayer up to 4 of the 6 warlocks can be players, sadly you can’t choose which warlock you want to be.

The music isn’t really worth noting and visually the game isn’t stunning or anything like that. What it does have is simple game play, that classic board game with card drawing feel and a great multiplayer strategy game that won’t take you multiple days to finish.

I give this a 3 out of 5. I think some people will be expecting more than what this game is, not to mention that its true shine is in its local multiplayer. So if you got some friends to play it with, it’s well worth the 80 msp otherwise play the trial first.

Little Kingdom Review

XBLIG developers Andreil’s Game creators of Pioneerz and Pioneer have created another great game. Little Kingdom is just that. A real-time strategy game of peaceful world conquest. Yep that is right, I said peaceful. The game is simple to play, very easy to learn and family friendly. Not to mention quite a bit of fun for it’s small packaging.

Little Kingdom is not really a war game, but is about conquering your enemies. In Little Kingdom it is all about your ability to influence other areas. You do this with forts, no they don’t fire at enemy soldiers or anything like that. Little Kingdom is a peaceful game with simple play to keep this game accessible to players of most ages. You have 4 building types to and two land types that you can construct. That is all that is needed. Once you learn how to do this best it’s pretty simple to build your strategies.

You can build a fort to spread your influence. Building a Lumberyard next to trees will gain you wood. Windmills gain you food. The last building is mines near a mine and that gets you bricks. You can build land on a water hex, or water on a land hex. That is all you ever build in this simple game. You upgrade your forts by turning the clay fort into a wood fort using the lumber you collect and then can upgrade it to a brick fort with the rocks you mine. Doing this to your fort increases its range and power of influence.

The game plays in real time so it isn’t turned based and everything happens on the fly. It supports 4 local players 6 teams can be on a map. You can choose the difficulty of the AI’s as well as whether the match is every man for themselves or team play where you set the teams anyway you want. offering quite a bit of flexibility. With a tutorial stage, a randomized stage and 8 prebuilt maps or scenarios the game offers quite a bit of replayability. Especially with the random map generator.  It would be cool if we could build our own maps for play, but you can’t have everything.

To boot this is not a long game matches last maybe 30 minutes usually a lot less. In my case this kept me from getting burned out and gives you a match where you don’t have to worry about saving the game. Since this isn’t a game with levels to go through it doesn’t have a save feature, which might bother some. To me it didn’t really feel like that was bad since the matches play out so quickly. The AI difficulties and the skills of the other players really determine how much of a challenge you will be facing.

All of this occurs on one screen, no split screen action. All the maps fit within the screen which I thought was a very nice feature. Other players cursors can get in your way at time, since when you click on a space it bring up a little menu on the map. An option to remove the popup menu and just associate certain buildings to specific buttons would be a welcome addition. The music isn’t really that great and the graphics are pretty simplistic as well. So if that is your thing, you will be disappointed, but if your looking for a good fast fun strategy game for cheap this game will fulfill that role.

Selling for 80msp this game is a steal. An easy 4 out of 5 if you ask me. I would have been more than willing to pay more for this gem.

Defy Gravity Review

Defy Gravity by Fish Factory Games for the XBLIG and PC is an interesting platformer. By means of manipulating gravity with your only weapon like device you must traverse the ancient alien ruins for something to save mankind. What this something is, you’ll have to play to find out. For the purpose of this review I used the Xbox Live indie game version.

When you start the game you are presented with 2 options, Continue or New Game. Not much going on as far as a menu system. The gameplay for Defy Gravity is pretty simple in concept, but has its challenges in doing what you really want to do. Thankfully there are many check points in the game. So when you screw up at least you’re not going back to the start of the level. You create Gravity wells and Anti-gravity wells to maneuver through the stage you may be moving a platform you are standing on or moving enemies into other directions. If your gravity shield is off, you will be pulled or pushed by your wells also.

You’ll face a few different obstacles along your way. Your most common obstacle is the electric lines. These act as futuristic spikes in this platformer. You have enemies, but they don’t really come after you, so they are more like moving spike balls. You can move them around by using gravity to pull or push them into different directions. There are 3 platform types as well; movable, falling and solid. The movable ones are moved by, yep you guessed it, your gravity gun. The object is to reach the door at the end of a stage.

Starting off this game is really quite fun, and you can get the hang of the gravity objects pretty quickly. It also feels like a good platformer. Sadly it quickly loses it’s platforming feel as you are forced to figure out how to play each level. It really becomes a puzzle game and much slower, as this element comes more to the fore front. Before you know it your struggling to make it through the next set of obstacles to reach another checkpoint.

Visually you won’t be stunned. Unless you are stunned by the monotony of the stages. Each one looking the same. Your Metroidish looking character gets no upgrades and all things retain about 3 colors, black, grey and more grey. Okay so there is the red electric lines and some gold enemies and platforms but it doesn’t do enough to make the game stand out in anyway. The music isn’t anything impressive either.

Playing wise I don’t think it would lure many into replaying this game. I liked this game a lot at first, but the more I played the more it bored me. I would without a doubt recommend getting the trial first. I also recommend playing it a few times before deciding whether you want to buy this game.

I rate this game a 2 out of 5, It’s just not very fun in the long run.

TriLinia ReAct Review

Tendi’s XBox Live’s indie game TriLinia ReAct is puzzle battle game. You’ll face off against a player or an AI on one game board where you will drop domino like pieces down to make 3 block matches. Now you may be thinking “This has been done so many times before”, but not like this. TriLinia ReAct throws a few twists into it’s gameplay and creates a interesting and more complex puzzle game than a simple columns clone.

TriLinia ReAct has 4 single player modes to keep you busy. You have Quick Match which is pretty much the same thing as playing a two player match just against the AI. I’ll get into the multiplayer matches later so we’ll move on to the 3 other modes of single player. You have challenge mode which consists of 6 worlds made up of 10 challenges each. Each challenge can give you 1, 2 or 3 stars depending on how well you beat them. The more stars you collect the more challenges and modes you can play. Each challenge is on a card that once you beaten it, the stars you’ve earned from it will be marked so you can see if you should try it again to get a better score. Another mode you have is Score attack, and  once again the stars you collect unlock more score attack challenges. The Final mode is Time Attach which is a time based challenges that earn you stars and also need stars to unlock them. All three modes earn you stars that are shared amongst the modes and you don’t pay to unlock the challenges within the modes you just need to have earned that many stars and the card with the challenge will flip and become available.

Now your probably wondering what sort of challenges would you face within these modes. A lot, the challenge could be to destroy a certain number of blocks in a certain amount of time. It could be to defeat an opponent by destroy his color blocks and preventing him from destroying yours. You might need to use a special or destroy blocks as a combo. What gives this game some added difficulty are 2 major things one you and your opponent share the same board, so you can be messing them up as much as you are helping yourself or vice versa. Another thing is specials or magic attacks during battle matches you may have special abilities you can use on your enemy by earning mp to cast them. With a few other special board based attacks that come into play things are very fast paced and a player or an AI can make things very challenging.

Score Attack and Time Attack are a lot like the other challenges you’ll face in Challenge mode, but are focused on your score or earning as many points as you can before the time runs out. These modes I found are a nice get away from the difficulty of some challenges. When you place a piece on the board it begins to fall and if it makes a match of 3 of the same color it blows those blocks up. Since you drop a block of two squares the pieces fall independently so, dropping a block sideways could have one block slide down a path while the other stops on top of a much higher block on the board. It can be very important at what height you drop the piece on the board.

TriLinia ReAct also sports a good Multiplayer mode to boot. You can play locally against anther player in one of three modes. The first is a standard battle mode without special magic attacks and board powers. The second is a battle mode that does using the magic attacks and board based attacks. The third mode is mission mode, this mode is the most complex. In mission mode you will play a number of matches, each match with a time limit but a different goal. The person to accomplish that goal before the time runs out will win that match and a new goal will be announced. If no one gets it a new goal will still be announced when the time for that match is up. You will keep doing this for a number of rounds. Once all the rounds have been played the winner will be the one who has earned the most points for winning the most rounds. Many different missions keep the matches interesting.

This game has excellent graphics and a challenging set of missions to earn the stars to see all the boards and missions. TriLinia also sports a stats section for those players who love to check out how good they are doing as well as awards for players to try for. It’s also quite a bit of fun taking on another person, locally or on live.

I did have a few issues/problems with the game. One with both players playing on the same grid it was hard to tell what was going on when the AI or other player moved their blocks onto the same place of the grid you were at. Another issue is the game is quite difficult and takes some time to really get the hang of it. My last issue is simply that this game needs more of an audience playing it. It is very hard to get a online match going, which is a bit of a disappointment.

Even with those downsides I give TriLinia ReAct a 4 out of 5. If you like puzzle games you’ll surely like this, otherwise try the demo. I’m betting you’ll like it even if you don’t like puzzle games.

I Accidentally… In Space! Ep1 Review

Did you ever what would you get if you compressed Space Invaders and a platformer? Well, wonder no more. It has been done, thanks to Lethal Martini GamesI Accidentally… In Space! Ep1 for XBLIG is exactly that. A vertical platformer facing off against waves of enemies. This game had my engine running before it was even released, so here is it’s review.

Why don’t we start off with the story. Basically you’ve been hired to collect a bunch of gems. A mine was blown up and the gems went every where and the Diemos aliens covet these gems. So they are protecting them. Strapped with a cannon to your waste you are sent to destroy the aliens and recover the gems they are hoarding. That is how Episode 1: Hostile Hustle begins.

How will you do this? Well, by shooting straight up at them while climbing the platforms and collecting the gems and power-ups. The game plays with some simple and easy to use mechanics, Jump, Shoot with RT or use your special ammo with LT and the directional to move about. It is a very straight forward game, making the game play easy to get used to and go. This does not mean the game is easy though.

There are 6 methods/difficulties to play. You have 3 rapid fire modes: Easy, Normal and Hard. You also have 3 precision modes, Insane being the hardest. The difference between the difficulties and modes are in some ways slight and others a bit more intense. For instance between the 3 difficulties in both modes the a yellow bar that rises as you climb rises far more slowly in the harder modes allowing you to fall much farther down than you would on easy. Another difference is platforms and traps. On easy there are no disappearing reappearing platforms, this is not the case on normal and hard. The main difference between precision mode and the normal mode is in precision mode your shots deal more damage but fire at a far slower rate, while in rapid fire mode you shoot a lot faster but it takes multiple hits to take out an alien. For me this made both modes feel about the same to me in time playing to beat any given stage.

Now the game is not as simple as climbing platforms and shooting down waves of aliens. There are traps and many annoying obstacles to really give it that platformer feel. You’ll run into spike platforms that raise and lower, paralyzing beams, fireballs being shot from the sides, and spike balls bouncing down the platforms to smack you down. There are also blowers that push you off platforms as well as platforms that keep vanishing and reappearing. Not to mention the gems power-ups and more platforms appearing as you take out more aliens in the wave. You can’t just make a dash for the top in any stage you need to shoot aliens to make more platforms appear.

This is important for many reasons, not only do the platforms allow you to climb to the end of the stage. They also increase your multiplier for the points you earn by taking out an alien. The higher up you are the more points they’re worth. Which is why the yellow line is nice since it prevents you from falling to the bottom of a stage. As I said though it doesn’t rise as quickly in normal and hard as it does in easy. The power-ups that appear can increase your normal fire to 3 shots at once or give you secondary weapons. The secondary weapons are, Lazer, Spread, and big bomb. You can also pick up a shield to help you out. On normal you will need this.

The game has 6 levels and then a final boss level. On easy the game is actually pretty easy, but normal feels like a drastic jump to me. So be ready to die a lot and although you have infinite continues and the ability to save the game and come back to it later, it always starts you off at the begining of the level. The boss fight is neat since it changes up the gameplay a bit, making for an interesting final level.

Some added benifits to this game is it’s ability to save multiple games. It also has a local leaderboard, I know. I wish it was global as well. Oh well maybe in Episode 2. There is also an accomplishments you can earn in the game.

I wasn’t really impressed by the graphics or music, but I didn’t feel it deterred from the games lure. The game is good and the concept felt like a fresh take to me. When you press 2 genre’s together you sometimes end up with trash, that was not the case here.

This quality game is easy to play, fun and has some addictive elements. If your into playing all the modes and difficulties and trying to get all the accomplishments you will really get your moneys worth, that’s for sure.

I give this a 4 out of 5. The game is great but I really think playing the demo first is the way to go with this one.

Bouncing Avatars Review

Bouncing Avatars another Xbox Live indie game by Running Pixel with the objective being to climb as high as you can. If you liked Avatar Ragdolls you’ll love this. In most ways they are very much the same, there are some differences worth note, so lets get to it.

Your no longer flinging your avatar around, it’s in a bubble and bouncing its way up the top. Much about the game feels like a rehash of Avatar Ragdolls, but the differences it has I feel make for a better game, although there is still room for improvement. You start to play by picking how many players there are, the more the merrier. Once the all the local players have joined it’s time to start bouncing.

You start with a rocket to get you some good height. You will continue to bounce your way up on the many platforms, attempting to reach and beat any previous height you’ve had not to mention beat the other players who are also bouncing on the same stage as you. Yes, you can be malicious and bump them off a platform to watch them fall. This tactic can even make it impossible for them to get back up. You see not all platforms are the same.

You have falling platforms which once someone has bounced on it they begin to fall. This is how you can trap someone below you. Knock out a falling platform and you can potentially remove their ability to reach the next platform. It works, it happened to me. You have spring platforms to send you soaring and bomb platforms that explosively do the same. That isn’t all though, there are instant death platforms you have to avoid bouncing on. You also have rocket pickups along the way. So if you use up your rocket don’t worry you’ll have chances to get some more.  These are really helpful if some one attempts to block your path by taking out the falling platforms. One last thing to worry about besides the other players bumping you is falling black balls that have pretty much the same effect as a falling player.

The game ends when all players have fallen into the rising water level. Once again this can be a horrible situation if you fall into it early and the other players go for a long climb. If only once you died you had a way to drop something on the people still playing to make it harder for them. It would sure prevent a player who isn’t very good or just to young to really keep up with their older siblings from getting bored.

Now in all honesty I enjoyed this game a little more than Avatar Ragdolls, but I was met with a terribly unexpected glitch. This glitch rendered the leaderboard useless because it counted my gained height as legitimate and that means others have probably done the same. Now your wondering how this glitch effected me, I’m sure. Well as I hit 500ft I noticed it had a checkered finish line look, but what happened as soon as I crossed it I was launched into the air as if gravity was reversed. I just kept rising, I knew it was a glitch because the ignorable music became a horrible screeching static sound. If that wasn’t enough, I ended my climb manually by ending the match and it kept my height of 3000ft and placed it on the leaderboard.

Knowing I could have kept going and potentially got the highest height ever if I really wanted to watch my avatar just fly upward with no help from me, is upsetting. Simply put I know there are cheap players who think they are all that when they can get on the top of a leaderboard even if it was by taking advantage of a game glitch.  Any ways I would have easily gave this game a 3 out of 5, but with it’s primary focus on climbing to great heights and a glitch this bad within the game that renders that point useless.

I have to give it a 2 out of 5 until this bug is fixed and the leaderboards cleaned out.

Pioneerz Review

Pioneerz by Andreil Game is the successor to their other XBLIG Pioneer. This real time strategy role-playing game has a lot to offer any gamer. I found myself losing track of time while playing the game and for the most part this was a good thing. With Jump in jump out local gameplay supported it makes for an interesting and ever changing experience.

So what is Pioneerz about well your you local towns hero and you have to help your colony survive and thrive. What you will have to face to do this is; herbivores tearing up your resources, carnivores attacking you and your towns people, underground creatures attacking you and anything in their way, Legendary monsters that can wipe your town out and with all that going on you also have to worry about rival towns. As the hero your stats will level up from fights an so will your level itself. Your towns people can also gain levels in their attempts to protect the town.

Now if your wondering how do you help them survive well first you have to get them going by harvesting berries and lumber. While keeping away any threats from your weak townsfolk. Once your town gets going they won’t need your help as much and you can go about attacking other towns, closing passages to the underground to prevent those monsters from attacking your city. You can start taking over a vacant city by bring it supplies or go out there and hunt the legendary monsters.

The game play is very simple, four buttons and your directional is all you really need. Gather/Plant, Swing sword, Shoot bow, and Heal a person in front of you is as much as you ever have to remember control wise. You can pause the game and up to 4 players locally can join your match or choose to leave it if they have to go. This flexibility I thought was great especially since the game can be time consuming depending on the settings you choose.

You can play this game with 3 map sizes, Tiny, Normal and Huge as well as three difficulties Easy, Normal, and Hard. The game plays great on both tiny and normal maps, but I found on the huge map towards the end since all the cities were taken and pretty leveled up the game started to skip and lag. This didn’t happen until most of the cities were at their max size though and by that point I had already met at least one victory condition. Once you do beat a match, you can choose to keep playing it to beat it via the other methods or quit to start a new match.

Now this game is fun, and the art is a nice 16 bit feel to it. I wished it had a save feature because a game can take some time and that would be nice to have the ability to play one game with a friend save it and start another by yourself. Sadly that isn’t an option. You do get medals for certain accomplishments in the game that you can look at between matches. There was one other glitch I experienced in the game and that was I had accidentally changed teams for a second and so I changed my team back to what I had been playing initially, after doing this the team I had switched to had one city left and nobody left to kill to make the city become vacant. This glitch prevented me from defeating every team on the map. Although it is a nice option to give you the ability to change your team as well as it lets your friends choose whether to be on your team or some other team of their choice.

Now had this game not suffered from the two glitches, both of which happened after a long play session attempting to get the badges I would have gave it a 4, but I just can’t at least not until those issues are addressed.

So my official stance on the game is 3 out of 5. If you like RTSs and RPGs you should love this, if you like one of those types of games you may dig this. So go get the trial and see if it’s worth your 400 msp.

Fear The Dronx Review

Fear The Dronx is a XBLIG made by Vultrix. In this unique puzzle game, your objective is to destroy the Dronx before they can leave the screen. It has a play style all its own for better or worse. This puzzle game plays fast and difficult.

The game is divided into three modes; Chapter 1 Easy which has 7 stages including the tutorial, Chapter 2 Hard which has 6 stages and Chapter 3 Insane which also has 6 stages. So in all you have 18 stages and one incredibly tedious tutorial stage. The tutorial stage was horrendous as it takes you slowly step by step through the stage to destroy one dronx. Even after the tutorial I still felt like I barely knew what I was doing and Although the first stages are listed as easy, they aren’t.

One thing about the stages being divided into an Easy, Hard, and Insane that bothered me was you couldn’t play the hard or insane stages until you beat the other stages before it. It should have just been lumped together as 18 stages and a tutorial versus being split up for no reason. If you lose you can play any stage you’ve beaten or unlocked again anyway so it isn’t a matter of being forced to start over.

As far as the gameplay goes it is actually a good concept. Two block types will stream out of emitters bombs and solid blocks, you will use this to trap and blow up the dronx that are on the stage. To direct the blocks you will place directional markers on the playfield that can change the block or bombs direction. You also have a stopper that can be placed to prevent losing blocks, which can easily happen since the moment the stage starts the emitters start spitting out the blocks and bombs. It gives you absolutely no time to plan how to beat the stage. This pretty much assures you’ll be playing the stage more than once.

The big challenge is that you receive a limited number of blocks and bombs, so if you run out you lose the stage. With the emitters releasing them so quickly it doesn’t give you much time to do anything at the start of the stage. The game does support 2 players and that is a nice bonus. This doesn’t really make it easier though. Your best time for completing each stage is also kept so you have goals for future gameplay if you wanted to play the stage again.

Now I’ll tell you my problems with the game, the tutorial teaches you how to beat the stage like your an invalid. It step by step tells you where to place each marker and pauses the game to give you the time to do it. It doesn’t explain why you are doing it this way or what would happen if you tried to do it another way. So after you complete the patronizing tutorial, you still don’t know exactly what you’re doing nor are you prepared for the speed at which the game actually plays. Now after you get passed that it’s on to the frustration. After having sat through the tutorial, I was still screwing up until what I needed to do finally hit me. By the point that I knew what to do I was already sick of playing this game. I continued on for a few more stages just trying to get into it and all it did was make me long for both my time back and another game to be staring back at me.

If you are a diehard puzzle player and really want a challenging game, give this a try. I wouldn’t recommend this game to any one else. The game isn’t broken, just really annoying.

1 out of 5

Colony Defense Review

Mana Bomb Game Studio’s Colony Defense is a tower defense RTS for both the Xbox and PC. Colony Defense is all about protecting colonies on different planets. Providing a nice system for the battlefields since each stage is an entire planet. For the purpose of this review I used the XBLIG version.

Much like any tower defense game the object it to prevent the enemy from getting through, in this case to your colony or colonies. The enemy has a landing base or multiple landing bases while you have 1 or more colonies to protect. The paths the enemy units travel are pretty varied amongst the 34 different stages. Often you will be defending multiple colonies from attack from multiple different paths at once.

To take on this threat you have Two major weapons at your disposal. 10 different towers that are also upgradable as well as an orbital cannon to fire on an enemy that makes it past your defenses. The cannon has a recharge rate so it’s not good to rely on it as a solution. If you fail and an enemy unit does make it to one of your colonies you will lose one person. If you lose all ten you lose the stage. If you manage to crush the enemy like a bug then you get a little something extra.

That leads us into the next topic. Besides the upgradable towers as you play, there is actually a overall stat upgrade section. Every stage you beat gives you 1 point and an extra point for not losing a single colonist. These points are used to upgrade stats like rate of fire, tower cost, tower damage while playing. So getting as many of the 2 points per stage as you can is worth your time. Don’t think that it will make the game incredibly easy because it will not. These upgrades are in minor percentages but that little extra might help to turn the tide on a stage. If you do beat a stage but lost a person during the stage upgrade your self with the one point and then go back to that planet and play it again. You can still get that extra point if you perfect the stage.

Now a little about the enemies you’ll be facing. Some are ground units, Some fly, some are fast while others are slow but take a ton of damage to take down. They will stream out of the different enemy bases and because they move at different speeds they can even start to over take the group that came before them. This can be really bad since your towers will be shooting at who knows which unit. So keeping towers spread out a bit to cover multiple paths can be good. One last thing is important to note the enemies will adapt to you. if you stick a ton of towers of one type out they will adapt and take less damage from that tower type. So keep your tower types fairly balanced and you should be good.

I have to say I’m not a big fan of the tower defense genre. I never really do very well in them and they rarely hold my interest for very long. Colony Defense does a really good job of holding my interest and brings a bit of a different feel to it as you rotate around the planet to stop the enemy from different points.

Got to say 4 out of 5.