Archives for : Winter Uprising

Alpha Squad Review

The plot driven Alpha Squad by Dragon Divide is a gem of local and online play. Yes, Alpha Squad is a twin-stick shooter but it is so much more. Remember back when you entered a screen from a road and had to kill everything before you could choose which direction you leave the screen? That is how this is combined with a storyline.

Now Lets talk about the story. Don’t worry I won’t ruin any of the plot. I can’t stand when reviewers do that, so I am not about to follow with that. The interesting aspect of this game is that it starts with a story unlike just about every twin-stick shooters. You kill the enemies on screen and can talk to some characters to learn more about what is going on as well as advance the plot. Not to mention if you dislike the guy you just talked to the game doesn’t stop you from wasted them. Now that is just funny. Thanks for the info buddy, now die. Now that got me off track a bit. The story has multiple endings so depending on what you do can effect the game ending you will see.

Now gameplay wise it is a lot like most games in the genre control wise. You can call up a shop to buy a new weapon (that contains a limited amount of ammo) to use. Not to mention you can enter buildings, search objects and talk to people. The controls never get complicated. You have 4 different characters to play as and can play locally or online with others.

This game is fun in a lot of ways. Even the story has some humor in it. Not to mention lots of images of scantily clad, large breasted women. While your team is a rough group of military men in this strange earth. I never got bored playing this and I still have more endings to see. Some area’s are just downright hard to do alone and for the most part that is how I tended to play this game, though my girlfriend did assist me in a few spots and enjoyed the game as well.

The game also has an arena mode where you can just face waves of enemies on random maps. If you’ve played horde mode in games, then you pretty much know what to expect. The heart of the game really is in the story, but if you just want to blast away and see how long you can then arena mode is for you.

Honestly this is a great game, and you are just wasting time reading anymore of this review. You should be buying the game.

5 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;

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.

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.

Decimation X3 Review – Winter Uprising

Xona Games’ Decimation X3 is like Space Invaders on Speed or Crack. I’m not quite sure where I would place it amongst those two drugs. This indie game is very addictive, and felt extremely fast as well. Lets get to the details of this so you can figure out whether this is your can of red bull or not.

Let’s start with the soundtrack, because it really caught my attention. The music is a very fast techno beat, that really fits with the tempo of the game. While the bullets of your enemies rain down on you and yours pour up at them you will find yourself whipping from one side of the screen to the other to take these buggers out, and you will not be slowly sliding to the side while doing it.

Now lets talk about the start of the game. There is really nothing to the opening screen, it really reminded me of an arcade cabinet with the highscore board and just a press start button for each player. That is what you see here; the Title, Players 1 through 4  the score board (which appears to be local only) and a start and exit menu and the credits scrolling along the bottom marquee style.

Once all players are ready and you start the game it asks what mode you want to play it in “Normal” or “Challenge No Shields” Pick the mode and your good to go. Both modes play exactly the same except those little barriers we all remember shooting through in Space Invaders will never show up. Normal mode they will if you pick up that power up. The rest of the game is same in either version.

Now lets get into the game and talk intensity. As you Decimate the invading enemies they drop power ups. This act reminded me a little of the Arkanoid power-ups. They can make you faster, shoot faster, have a bigger spread of bullets, or put the shields on the play field to hide under. If they could do other things I didn’t much notice as it gets really hectic on the screen. Every so often you will fill a shower meter which causes a ton of power ups to fall from the top of the screen. Like in the old space invaders game the less enemies on the screen the faster they move. Even that isn’t what really gets you hooked though.

What really made me keep coming back for more was the fact that this is without a doubt a bullet hell game. With the spray of your fire and the downpour of theirs it gets very very chaotic. Trying to slide between all the bullets while still hitting your targets is challenging and intense. Don’t expect awesome graphics this game really gives the look of the old Atari, but between the sound, speed and sheer intensity even those who hate retro style games would most likely get into this. Now playing this with friends can be fun as you fight for those points and power-ups, but this game has two more nice features.

The first of which is boss fights. It has them every so many levels and they are great. It really brings a nice break from the standard waves. The second thing is the ability to send your score to someone on your friends list. Maybe you’ll be the one to inspire them to look into the great possibilities of the indie market or you can just be bragging that your that much better than them at gaming.

Anyway I give this game a 5 out of 5

I leave you with one question though. Why do aliens build ships that look like alien heads. If we built an armada of space ships to take over a planet would we use Mount Rushmore as the model for our hull designs?

Hypership Out of Control Review – Winter Uprising

How fast can you react? Fun Infused Games’ Hypership Out of Control will ask you that repeatedly. Hypership will bring you back to the NES or old Arcade cabinets and remind you why you started gaming. The premise of this game is simple, shoot the stuff in your way and don’t crash as your speed continues to increase.

With five game modes all with four player support, this game is fun for all those around. So what are those game modes? Well, I’m glad you asked. You have your normal mode, this is just as it says the gameplay is simple and standard. You shoot the asteroids, collect coins and power-ups  and work your way around the obstacles. Hardcore is the same as normal mode except you have to attempt to beat the game with only one life.  Good luck I say to you, good sir. Superspeed mode is just plain fun, in normal mode the speed caps at 800 I believe. In superspeed mode there is no cap, things just get faster. Now for me normal mode was hard, this mode was just crazy when the speed got passed the 800. I didn’t survive long after that, but it was fun and I’ll do it again and again. The next mode is Coin Down. I like this mode as well. It is like your standard countdown mode where the game ends when you run out of time, except the time is your coins. Your collected coins go down regularly as well as in chunks when you die. This mode forces you to go after those coins you might ignore in the other modes. If your wondering, no you don’t share your coins with the other players. You can run out of coins and be out of the game but they could still keep going. The last mode is practice mode which allows you to play any level you have completed. Great for figuring out the best path through. I kind of thought of this mode as cheating.

Now you might be disheartened by the 8-bit style graphics, but that is part of the feel of the game.  Everything is easily distinguished and flows well. Hey, try and read some of words on the course. If you are a graphics snob that thinks only the leading edge in graphics can make great games, I pity you. You will miss out on what made gaming great. This game has what it takes to be a great game and it has a leaderboard where you can see how you are faring against others. If you think younger gamers won’t get into this, I can say that my kid wanted to play this again and again.

Updated 12/04/2010

Added for the Indie Game Winter Uprising was an Update to the game. What is heavily noticeable is the new reverse mode for all gameplay modes. In reverse mode you play each stage reversed which is a great deal more difficult, but a blast. It takes some practice getting used to the stages being backwards. Another addition is that all the reverse modes have their own leaderboards so you can still see how you rank up against others who dare the reverse mode. A new song was added to the game as well.

Get this game 5 out of 5

Epic Dungeon Review – Winter Uprising

Eyehook Games’ Epic Dungeon is the first of the Indie Game Winter Uprising Games to be released. So let’s take a look at the forerunner for the event. Epic Dungeon is a roguelike game with 4 character classes and 50 levels.

Epic Dungeon has 4 classes to choose from, the Bezerker, the Gambler, the Tinkerer, and the Shaman. Each class has a different special ability to start with. The Bezerker has a move that swings his sword full circle hitting all near enemies. The Gambler poisons all enemies surrounding him. The Shaman freezes all enemies around him. Finally the Tinkerer creates an Orb that follows you around and shocks enemies until it is destroyed or you self-destruct it. There is a fifth ability that no class starts with and that is regeneration.

Like many RPG’s you level up as you go. Each level grants you 3 ability points to distribute amongst your 4 stats. The 4 stats are Damage, Defense, Dexterity, and Luck. Every so many levels you gain a point to place in the special abilities. If you place it on the special ability associated with your class you get a better upgrade, while its point for point on all other abilities. So yes you can have a Bezerker who freezes his enemies then hacks them to pieces. That is a blast too.

Game play is smooth and fast. You won’t have time to really get bored playing this. Some nice features is every 3rd level is a shop to sell your loot and buy some upgraded weaponry and armor. Then go back out and hack some more. You’ll occasionally find a question mark in the dungeon. These are neat little scenarios that you must try to solve and get some nice bonus items. Another neat feature is that death is permanent so once you die your entered into your high-score board and the next time you play a tombstone will be found on the floor number you died on. Upon finding your tombstone you will get back one item you had before you died last time. Nice touch I say, Nice touch.

All four characters starter story is humorous and then off you go. You don’t stop to smell the roses in this game as that everything respawns so sitting around will only get you attacked by more enemies. So keep moving, just don’t get to far ahead. Things can get real tough real quick if you move too fast. I found that out many times.  All in all I can’t think of a single negative thing to say about this game. I love the retro graphics and game play. I love the simplicity and the little surprise events. This indie is downright addictive.

This was a great game to start the Winter Uprising and a great example of what XBLIG should be all about.

Get out there and start following the Uprising I’m sure more great games are to follow.

5 out of 5.