I almost overlooked this game when delving through the ever flowing cascade of press releases. It wasn’t until I saw that the nice people from Sparkrift were giving away a few copies to their fellow Redditors, that I realized how awesome of a game it could turn out to be. You see, Robofish makes itself distinct from other shoot ‘em up games by giving the player a chance at uniqueness. The player has to upgrade and create the weapons used on the fish. A varied amount of options are available including choosing what type of effect the ammo has.
The staggering amount of choices I have almost leave me confused and the only option is to test them out in the heat of battle to determine effectiveness. Luckily, after shooting down enemies and collecting the pearls they leave behind, I am able to upgrade my choices, perhaps providing better options. I love the art of the game, it slightly resembles other shumps (shoot ‘em ups) like Geometry Wars, if only for the neon glow. Other than that, Robofish is its own unique creation. After all, it is a fish with robotics attached to it shooting everything in it’s path; which is awesome! Unlike Geometry Wars, I find that Robofish has the enemies falling from the top, or from the front if you think of it as looking down on a fish. In that case, these streams of enemies are easier to handle until they do envelop you. None the less, I prefer this method of being attacked.
As far as configurations go, I prefer to set mine up in a directional control method so that I can completely control where my shots go. I chose to put a slight curve on them and to have to keep the accuracy down so that a general area is being covered. This way I can keep from having to have absolute precise control. Of course, you can choose to have it completely wavy, crisscrossed, or in multiple directions.
If you keep up the good work of dodging incoming attacks and keep on shooting everything down, you’ll be able to earn multipliers for different levels of enemies killed in a row. There are even some bonus moves such as a repairing yourself or firing a homing missile. The missile is best saved for bigger enemies as it does seem to take to long to recharge. In fact, I often forget to use it. My main concern is shooting things and collecting pearls for upgrades.
All in all, you have three things here. A beautifully designed game, an excellent shoot ‘em up, and an addictive indie game found for a reasonable price on XBLIG. If you’re interested, you can find it for yourself at Xbox.com.
To quote a famous movie, “Oh, everyone likes their own brand, don’t they?” Of course, Fat Bastard wasn’t exactly referring to the Nine Dots Studio Xbox Live Indie Game Brand, but I’d like to think that the quote applies to it quite nicely. You see, the name revolves around a sword you are given. The player will use the sword to complete objectives which allow the sword to be upgraded over and over again whichever way you chose until you have something you can call your own. Brand is a 2d side scrolling game with beautiful three dimensional graphics to expand the depth of the playing field. The way that Brand works, is that you’ll take a mission from one of three people in order to upgrade your sword.
They’ll send you either into a the Necropolis, the Castle, or the Mines. As you explore the areas, you’ll be able to exit them via a portal when you are safe. All the areas’s switches will remain unlocked if you exit via this method, but if you die you get nothing. Once the sword has been upgraded 15 times, you will be sent to the arena to see how many levels you can clear and the sword will be put into the king’s armory for you to go back and try to clear more levels later on. I spent about 5 hours just to get to this stage. Honestly, unless you are focusing in one particular skill, I think most people will try to upgrade the sword evenly across the board. Then, if you continue to upgrade and finish them off, you’ll have the same sword as everyone else. This is something that the game is partially hypocritical about. The fact is that there are not enough upgrades to truly make a unique sword. However, the skill of the player still remains in question. Whether or not the player is able to use the slashes, dashes and heavy attacks to their fullest is in question here. The added bonus of this game allows you to use your avatar for the killing of all the evil creatures. I personally like looking like a bad-ass; killing creatures, and eventually naming my sword after a demon. This was a great game and hopefully earns itself a place at the top for Xbox Live Indie Games.
P.S. Stay away from manticores and check out the trailer below.
Over the weekend we were left a wonderful message in our chat room stating that On The Fly Entertainment would love to have us review their latest Xbox Live Indie Game. If you’ve been reading these reviews, You know by now that I love to review these Indie games. I am a big fan of the idea that these indie games are no longer trapped behind the XNA format. So of course I got on the horn (e-mail) with On The Fly Entertainment and said “Yes!”
Presenting to you, the faithful reader, Running Pixel’s creation Bouncing Avatars. This latest game of theirs is a tower climber. The catch is that it involves a bubble with your Xbox Avatar conveniently placed inside of it. The object, of course, is to get as high as you can in the tower, bouncing from platform to platform.
There are several unique things present other than the whole bubble deal. Randomly, black balls fall causing your bounce to be deflected. Some platforms are green with a spring or red for an explosion. Both give you quite an extra boost. The largest boost comes from a row of arrows point up that suck you in and shoot you higher. If it’s not high enough to reach another tower, you do have a rocket boost available. These are replenished by hitting the star checkpoints. Also if you fail, you can restart from one of these points. I suggest holding onto the rocket boost unless absolutely necessary, and believe me it will become necessary. Also, avoid black platforms at all cost as these are instant death as is the rising water that you fall into should you miss your jump. One more thing, the bubble can start spinning, affecting your bounce. So, with that in mind you are able to counter-spin or even create your own spin with a simple press of the a button. This does need to be recharged, so I wouldn’t use this too often either. Maybe just if the spin of the avatar makes you start to feel nauseous.
Some of the added fun in the game revolve around the multiplayer. Sure you can play with just yourself and try to reach a high score, but where is the fun in that. This game allows for a 4 player split screen race to the top that doesn’t exist. A fun local multiplayer game for only 80 MSP, it’s quite the deal. Imagine sitting on a couch next to your drunken roommates as you all try to bounce about. Now that is my kind of fun!
Now for a bit of sad information. In the time that it has taken for me to get this review posted, Running Pixel has announced on their blog that they are no longer making XBLIG and WP7 games. The good news is that they have purchased the Unity license and will be focusing on Android games! Until then, the best we can do to support them is to give away 3 codes to download Bouncing Avatars.
Simply comment below answering the following question:
“What game did Running Pixel develop that require the use of a box to play the game?” (Hint: Check out their blog!)
We’ll pick 3 random winners from the correct answers this weekend and e-mail the codes to you. So be sure to use a valid e-mail when submitting.
Marketplace link: http://marketplace.xbox.com/en-US/Product/Bouncing-Avatars/66acd000-77fe-1000-9115- d802585507fd
Price: 80 MP ($1)
PewPewPewPewPewPewPewPewPew is the type of indie game I can’t help but feel immense affection for. It’s a game that dares to go outside of the box and take risks. It brings a healthy dose of creativity to the table – something that can sometimes seem sparse in the gaming marketplace. So what is it that makes this game so special?
When you first look at PewPewPewPewPewPewPewPewPew, it’s easy to dismiss it as just another shooter, but that’s not the case. In this game where you and a friend work together to guide a single jet-pack equipped astronaut through perils, there are no controllers. No, you must accomplish this task purely through sound. Two microphones or two headsets are required equipment in order to play. One player takes control of moving the astronaut vertically through the use of pitches while the other player fires the gun through short, sharp noises such as “PEW!”
The vocal controls are surprisingly responsive and bring a welcome challenge to gameplay. You feel like you have power over your task, but the true challenge comes in regards to working together with your teammate. It’s both frustrating and immensely fun – the type of game I could easily see a group of my friends enjoying at a party.
For all the positives that PewPewPewPewPewPewPewPewPew has to offer, there are some negatives. The variety in the game could have been better. There is only a single stage that ramps up the difficulty and spawns more enemies as you continue – the enemies being green squares, yellow stars, purple circles, and magenta triangles. I would have liked to see a change in venue or some sort of boss battle, especially considering the 240MSP ($3.00) price tag, which is on the high end for the XBLIG market.
My other major gripe comes with the title screen. When I first loaded up the game, I had no idea how to begin, I just watched in confusion as my little astronaut ran across the bottom of the level as the words “PEWPEWPEW” hovered overhead. It took me about five minutes to finally figure out that shooting all the letters began the level. Clearer instructions would have made this less puzzling.
Despite it not having too much to offer in the way of variety, this is one game I recommend you pick up. It’s something I could see being brought out at parties or even played by seniors or small children. It’s extremely accessible and has a charm to it that will draw in casual gamers. PewPewPewPewPewPewPewPewPew is a fantastically creative game that is sure to please.
RATING: Violence=1/3, Sex=0/3, Mature Content=0/3.
PRICE: 240MSP ($3.00 USD)
DEVELOPER: Incredible Ape - http://incredibleape.com/
You might remember indie developer Milkstone Studios from our previous review of Avatar Bump. It’s alright if you don’t as I think you are more likely to remember them after playing this next game. One of Milkstone’s latest creations is an interesting view on the Shoot’em Up genre.
While most games focus on lives, player upgrades, and endless levels ending in bosses; Infinity Danger focuses on none of these standard ideas. Instead, players will focus their attention on one singular boss. This boss will evolve each and every time you destroy it, trying to intelligently upgrade itself to fight against your playing style. In fact, 7 different styles of weapons will appear and the ones that kill you the most are the ones that appear the most. Instead of lives, you have a clock timer running down. Each part you shoot off the enemy earns you more time and finishing the level does as well. When you die, time is subtracted instead of loosing a life. Save up enough time and you might be the person who can reach the highest level, not to mention highest score.
Gameplay is simple enough that it deserves very litte extra explanation on how a dual stick shoot’em up operates. If you watch the youtube video below, you’ll notice that the spread of the player’s bullets can be adjusted and this is done with the left and right triggers. If you take a look at my Avatar Bump review, you’ll notice how glad I was to see nice, crisp graphics. Milkstone has not disappointed here at all. The graphics are sharp, artwork delectable and visual effects ,such as explosions and the wall grid, are impeccable. The game style overall wows me and draws me in again and again after my clock completely runs down.
Even though Milkstone is an indie developer, they’ve gone ahead once again and have added their own worldwide scoring system. Sad to say, before everyone started picking up this game to make it the #4 top rated game (#1 in Japan) I was in the top 30. Now I am quite far down, but still madly enjoying trying to best the never ending upgrading boss.
We’ve got 2 more Milkstone Studios’ games in review, but until then check out the Infinity Danger trailer below to see why it ranks so high everywhere, here included.
When Xona Games raped me with DOTS back in Decimation X3, I never thought I could be with them ever again. I was wrong as I fell in love with Score Rush. A four-player dual-stick shoot-em-up with free movement to fight against deadly invaders seems like a cliche, but one that is implemented effectively. Honestly, after playing a side to side movement game like Decimation X3, this game came as a relief. More so, the visual effects soothe over any bad feelings I had with Xona. Explosions, while still high speed, are less like dots and more like lines. This helps differentiate between enemy fire and my own. Speaking of enemy fire, it is more directional and slower moving meaning that I am actually able to avoid it. I am also glad that they moved away from the retro artwork and implemented nicer looking graphics. Similar graphics to both Crossfire 2 and Geometry Wars, these three games set the standard for twin stick space shooters. Gameplay is implemented well, with upgrades nicely timed and a progression system based on how many bosses you beat. If my roommate hadn’t moved out, you could be that we’d be on the couch still trying to best ourselves. Score Rush is the best game I’ve seen from Xona Games yet, it would be worthwhile to check it out.
If you’re looking for an Alien Invaders clone, don’t look here. While on the first look everything seems to fit the bill of a re-make of the most iconic video game, things fall a bit short. Apparently Xona Games’ precursor to this game, Decimation X, is widely popular in Japan and sparked this sequel for the Indie Games Winter Uprising. The addition of second player seems extremely intriguing, but don’t be fooled. The continual rain of power-ups is talked about in a press release, but it’s not the only thing raining. There are dots, literally dots flying EVERYWHERE. Were talking about your fire, enemy fire and explosion debris all filling the screen with tiny high-speed DOTS. I feel like I’m in a bad World of Warcraft video just playing this game for five minutes. God help me when I had a friend join in and we were just consumed by the amount of DOTS flying on the screen. Not to mention the constant un-avoidable rain of enemy fire that seems to be relentless and un-avoidable. This was extreme overkill even on the first level. DOTS DOTS, MORE DOTS. It was just too much and ruined what could have been a good two-player game. My co-pilot and I both felt visually raped by DOTS. If I see DOTS in any other games, I’m going to have PTSD. Bad DOTS, bad.
You may have already read ViraGunn’s scathing review about A Madman’s Guide to Happiness. You’ll remember a small detail she mentioned about another game that was “similarly brief and straightforward”, this is the one being referenced. In such as case, I will attempt to keep this review brief and straight forward as well.
Originally I requested this game based on it’s interesting description. The attempt in this game is to woo four RPG girls: thief, elf, princess and item shop girl. You, Sir Knight, must choose which words to say to each; though all seem to be thinly veiled innuendos. The trick here is when you fail to successfully woo the girl with one of your over the top or weak lines, starting over means you only need to remember your last series of button presses. Honestly, 15 minutes later and I felt as though the entire thing were no more than a mere gimmick. I can understand the creator’s attempt at poking fun at RPG girls, but it fall short of being entertaining. At 80 MSP and with no re-play value, this “game” is worth nothing more than a quick chuckle. If the developer is going to make something that quick and pointless, it should at the most be a free online flash game.
I, for one, am always looking for game that I can share with friends, family and loved ones. So seeing a small part of Avatar Bumped, I was immediately interested in reviewing it. What I initially saw, was a fun looking party game in which we could knock each other’s Avatars around. After all, Microsoft setup the avatar system and yet so few games take advantage of it.
So, what we have here is exactly as it looks. Milkstone Studios put out a game with both competitive and cooperative multi-player modes and a single player mode. After all, I don’t always play with friends, but when I do I don’t always want to play against them. The object of the game is to knock other avatars out of the ring, which takes away a life from them. The avatars are in pots, which slide around giving a degree of difficultly that is needed to make this game work. A boost is available, which takes a few seconds to recharge but can also launch yourself directly out of said ring. Power-ups appear randomly on the ring and can also be traps that trick you into running through them.
While game-play is effective, the graphics are stunning. The crisp and clear artwork dazzles my eyes and meshes well with the theme of the game. This game is visually appealing and Milkstone Studios did a wonderful job on both aspects of the game. For only 80 Msp, gamers are able to pick up something that one would normally only find in one of the Mario Party mini-games. Case and point, fun times are sure to follow.