Archives for : December2010

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.

Wool Review

This is such a cute Xbox Indie Game. Wool designed by Milkstone Studios is an excellent family game. The concept is simple, your a sheep dog and you must corral the sheep within a time limit. With cartoon style artwork that flips like paper when the sheep turn around and stages that are a little like what you might expect in a flash game your ready to go.

The game has 3 modes of play. There is a Solo mode where you attempt to corral a certain number of sheep within the time limit on 30 stages. The second mode is Co-Op where you can play with up to 4 players attempting to corral those sheep together. This is a lot of fun and allows you to get into the challenging stages and allow your children to play along with you. The final mode is Versus and in this mode you attempt to keep the sheep in your corrals and out of your opponents.

This game is a local modes so you won’t be playing against or with your xbox live friends. That is okay though this is much more of a family game if you ask me. While playing this game my 3 yr old little girl was definitely not ready to take a break from it when I was. She was saying “Again! Again!” whenever the topic of stopping playing came up. She’s usually not that caught up in any game.

With the playing as a dog chasing sheep around and barking at them to make them run from you, really got her interested. The game itself is a good game and has some challenging stages, one of which had me scaring sheep off into the water. This game will have me coming back again and again until I can beat all of the stages. Not to mention the fact that I will be drawn back in to play the game with my kids.

Now for adults wanting action and adventure this game will bore you, but for those of us able to appreciate a good quality game when we see it this game is worth a try. If you have little kids and want a game they can play and enjoy this is it.

So for Family gaming I have to give this a 4 out of 5.

Kozu Review

Running Pixel‘s Kozu is described as an graphical and musical experiment on a twin stick shooter. I found the experiment to be successful in my opinion. With so many twin stick shooters available on both Xbox Arcade and the indie game marketplaces they all start to blend together. So you need something to set them apart.

How many times can you be content with the little person shooting zombies or the little ship shooting neon geometric shapes? I find the genre fun, but a bit over-saturated. Kozu offers something different and shows that you can still make a twin stick shooter that doesn’t make you feel like your playing the same game as all the others.

If you are wondering what is different about Kozu, lets break it down the music changes and each track is very different. No techno blend here which is refreshing. The other difference is the graphics, this is something I really got into. The play field is designed to look like paper with Asian writing on it. Some of the symbols are moving, whether it is spinning or moving at an angle. As you play the backdrop changes regularly as does the music. The differences do not end there though. You play as a person shooting at the enemies with different types of weapons, but the person you are looks like it was drawn with a calligraphy brush and the enemies have that same look to them.

The enemies and player are larger in this game than they appear in other twin stick shooters. Making everything more visible. The enemies poof into existence all over the play field. Many times popping up right behind you as you are walking backwards. This offers a nice challenge to the game since it appears that where they appear is based on where you are.

The game supports; no, encourages online play as that Quick Game(Live) is the top option. Sadly I couldn’t find a match online and although I created a match, no one joined. So I had to play locally with my girlfriend and it was fun but a little difficult running two people on the same screen even though it zoomed out when we got farther apart. On this I can only hope more people will realize that this game is worth getting and an online game will be easier to start up in the future.

For its solid gameplay and unique look and feel I give this a 4 out of 5.

Ubergridder Review – Winter Uprising

Here’s another indie game from the Winter Uprising that you may have missed. Badger Punch GamesUbergridder is an interesting game that I find hard to classify. That isn’t a bad thing though a lot of games that make it to the marketplace are very similar to each other, but I can’t think of one like this.

Ubergridder has a bit of a flash game feel with more punch. So here is the deal, your ships damaged and repairs are needed. So you play the little robot that must fix the outer parts of the ship. This is no easy task for the little robot, aliens are going to try to attack the robot and stop it from completing its task. Your also fighting the clock, so don’t lollygag.

Now to fix the ship you have to completely walk around all the electrical lines. When any piece is completed it will show its repaired by filling in the center of that grid. All the while the aliens walk around the grid lines with you, but fear not your robot is armed with alien grub to distract the aliens away from you. Just drop it and run when they are behind you. As you play it shows what part of the ship your repairing on the left and what parts you’ve already completed.

So there you have it a simple concept, but a tough game. Those aliens are sometimes really smart and tail you like you wouldn’t believe it. It gives you a feeling of accomplishment when you manage to shake one without using alien bait. There is a local leaderboard so get your family to play it with you to see who’s the fastest. Ubergridder has some nice visuals and good music to go with it and it’s probably the game you didn’t bother to look at.

I highly recommend you play the trial, you may like it more than you thought you would.

For its solid straight forward gameplay and visual goodness I have to say this is an easy 4 out of 5.

Break Limit Review – Winter Uprising

Zombie Monkey GamesBreak Limit is definitely a blast that should not be missed. This indie game is another entry to the Winter Uprising. This shmup is a speedy game with some interesting features.

First off the game has 2 systems to choose from with a third on the way with a future update. The systems are titled Alpha Centauri, Delta Orion and the final one yet to be released is Triton Omega. Delta Orion is vastly more difficult than Alpha Centauri. Although the systems alone are not the only difficulty. Each system can be played in Novice, Adept, Expert, and finally Master difficulty levels. To play Master difficulty you must first unlock it by beating the system on Expert mode.

This task is not easy, but is a blast doing it. Some of the features that set this shmup apart from others is that you can fire forward or you can use the right stick and fire in any directions. You also have the break limit ability. When you activate break limit a shielding appears in the front of your ship allowing you to plow your way through anything in front of you at a much faster speed than before. This ability is limited though and you’ll need to pick up energy to keep it charged.

The game starts as a vertical shooter, but at points within the system you can turn on to a horizontal path changing it to a horizontal shooter for a time going either left or right depending upon the path chosen. All the while every time you play, your highscore is added to the online leaderboards. The points you make during a play through also add to a leveling system that allows you to start with weapons and shields.

So the more you play the easier the initial difficulties get. Don’t get me wrong even with the update to make the game easier, Delta Orion is still really tough. You’ll need that extra boost from previous plays more than you think or you’ll be metallic wasp food before you know it. Get out there and work on your highscore.

Take this game out for a test flight it’s a lot more fun than you may think.
I give this a 5 out of 5.

Asteroids Do Concern Me Review – Winter Uprising

Evil Robot Logic‘s Asteroids Do Concern Me is an interesting indie game. This game would have probably easily have fallen under the radar had it not been for the Winter Uprising and that would have been a shame. The game is easy to pick up play and put down to come back to it later. It has a lot of playtime to offer for such a simple game.

Asteroids DCM has four game modes, each with 5 difficulties. The higher the difficulty the faster the game is. It has Classic mode which is your standard ship flying horizontally with asteroids and other obstacles in the way. Retro mode pixilates everything and turns it all a green hew reminding you of games long since past. Double Rainbow mode is like your acid trip mode. Your ship flies around clouds and other weird things collecting hot air balloons. While the last mode is Notebook mode. In notebook mode the backdrop is like a notepad with everything looking like it was drawn by pencil.

Now all modes the object is to avoid the obstacles and grab the spheres/hot air balloons. Each mode the obstacles move differently changing your methods to avoiding them per mode. What is really neat about the game is it is all done with one button. You heard me right, one button.

This one button is your thrust or engine. You press it and you go up. The longer you hold it the faster you’ll rise. Release and you start to descend towards the rocky floor. Press for too long and you’ll splat on the ceiling. It takes some time to get used to how much time to hold it. When to tap it to stay steady all the while avoiding the asteroids and floor and ceiling. This side-scroller may seem boring, but it’s not. It really is quite challenging. It maintains a local scoreboard, sorry no comparison to other players. It’s all about beating your own score, which rises the farther you get.

One more thing is of note, the humorous messages after you hit the asteroids. Some of these are just hysterical. Sometimes you want to crash just to see the next message.

But in the end I give this game a 4 out of 5.

It is not for everyone but for 80 msp you won’t feel like you were short changed.

Chu’s Dynasty Review – Winter Uprising

The Indie Games Winter Uprising continues with Tribetoy‘s Chu’s Dynasty. Amazing doesn’t even begin to describe the beauty of this game. The artwork is just plain incredible and the gameplay doesn’t fall short either. The Asian theme of the game is so nicely done, you’ll forget this is an Indie game. With great backgrounds and beautiful stage layout that is perfect for the 4 player beat-em up.

This is a great 2D 4 player fighting game that has 4 very different playable characters. Although all the moves are activated the same way for each character the play style needed to properly take advantage of those moves differs greatly with each character. The added twist of the energy form that you can turn into to float up and away from an enemy is sweet. While it takes some time to figure out how to best use each characters time bending move. This game has what it takes to make you want to keep on fighting it out with your family.

Now on to the AI, I have to admit I’m not so great at fighters I love SFII and Super Smash Bros and this game has a little of the feel from both those games, but only a little as you realize that the moves are so different from either of those games. Back to topic, on Normal I made it to the second stage and got my head handed to me many times. I can’t stress it enough the AI is good. This may had a lot to do with the fact that I am far from mastering the combos and when to unleash the special move or use a time move. The computer doesn’t relent. So get some practice in with a friend.

You have a few modes to play the game in. Story mode which each of the 4 characters has their own story. As you wage combat against AI battles. First time through I suggest Easy mode. There is your standard vs mode which allows up to 4 players human or computers. In this mode it’s just a simple beat down until one player has 2 wins. Another mode is Vs Team mode which allows you to team up with your buddy against the cpu or other players. Could be nice if one player is really good and the other two aren’t.

Anyway you look at it, I suggest you check out the options menu to look up the controls. Otherwise you’ll just be button mashing without a clue as to how to use the time move or what the differences between the characters.

My only complaint is that there is no online mode so to play the multiplayer mode you have to all be on the same box. Now for me this isn’t an issue, between me and my family we can easily fill the spots up. Plus I think it’s just so much better when you are all in the same room. But if your only friends are online you won’t get to kick their teeth in with this game.

My rating is a 5 out of 5.

This game could have been sold for 400 msp and still have been well worth the purchase, but you can get it for 240 msp. So what are you waiting for download it now.