Ever feel like you’re almost ready to explode while at the office? The smart person doesn’t just melt into oblivion leaving behind a charred desk and chair. No, the true combustible individual will spread this inferno across the office. Of course, I’m not talking about real life, but instead Inflamous. Inflamous is Milkstone Studios 8th Xbox Live Indie Game with the premise previously mentioned. The challenge is to burn everyone fast and efficiently. Sure, you can use up your flame and have to recharge by a gas pump. However, that will slow you down. Or maybe you’ll pick up some heat by following your flaming co-workers tail. Of course, you loose a little bit of health that way. Oh no, are those firemen that put burning people out? Sprinklers that stop you from exploding and take away your gas? Yes! There are all sorts of challenges that appear on each new level. How will you ever destroy everyone on the level unless you turn off the elevators that keep spawning people? The challenge here is to manage flame and health wisely. No easy task since the time is always running down. This game is as easy on the eyes as it as it is fun to play, and let me tell you it is very much fun to play.
Marketplace link: http://marketplace.xbox.com/en-US/Product/Inflamous/66acd000-77fe-1000-9115-d80258550811
Price: 80 MP ($1)
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/
Sanctum is a fun game to play solo or with friends. It is a tower defense and first person shooter. Just the right amount of FPS weapons in my opinion. You can choose from a standard automatic weapon with a grenade mode, a sniper rifle, or freeze gun with a secondary freeze wall ability all upgradable. The sniper rifle brings me back to playing MDK and MDK2 its zoom in feature is fantastic.
There are many different tower variations and, like the guns, you can upgrade them. You may be thinking “I have towers, why do I need guns?” Well, some of the enemies are only slowed by the towers, and some need to be shot in the back of the head. In the old House of the dead style you can look up the creatures weak points in an encyclopedia so you can tailor your attack. You can also sell your towers back and redesign to get the edge on upcoming enemies. This game has many facets that you wouldn’t even think of when hearing TD FPS.
Multi-player is a rush, the enemies are harder and of course more abundant from the start. Some of the enemies unlocked in the second level of the game even fly. Flying enemies were something Matt and I were not prepared for. The longer you play as a team the harder the game becomes and the greater chance for reward.
The graphics on the game were better than expected; the Unreal engine is still real and does this concept justice. It’s not stellar or something everyone should use, however it’s good enough for this application. As an independent release and in the $20 range I think this game is well worth the money. It is a steam game but in the future it will have easier multi-player connections making it even more valuable. I think it has quite a bit of replay potential too, at the different levels you experience more than just a change in difficulty. You see a wider variety of creatures to fight and you really need to change up your strategy. Though I see the dancing at the end of the level win or lose as a bit hokey they made a good game out of what seemed to be a silly concept.
This game gets 3 out of 5 potatoes.
When one thinks of the phrase “tower defense game”, a few thoughts immediately come to mind. A drab colored, top down flash game filled with mediocre artwork and no sense of flash is one of those thoughts On the flip side, when I think of the genre “FPS”, sights of armor clad superheros clashing fist first in a blaze of plasma fury, dance in my head. What I wouldn’t have thought to do is to combine the two. However, Coffee Stain Studios thought of it and started working on an Unreal Mod to accomplish it.
It eventually became more than a mod, after Coffee Stain Studios became a main contestant in the ‘Make Something Unreal’ by Epic Games in 2009. Sanctum scored 4th place in both ‘Best FPS Game Mod’ and also in the ‘Education’ category. The Swedish team has come along way since then, as they have put out Sanctum as a full fledged game on Steam.
As promised, here is another review of a Milkstone Studios game. Honestly it is very refreshing to see one developer creating so many different kinds of games. If you’ll recall, Avatar Bump was all about bumping your opponent’s tea cup off the playing fields and Infinity Danger is a boss evolving space cruising twin stick shoot ‘em up. Zombie Football Carnage is an isometric 3d game featuring a padded hero armed only with his trusty football.
Zombie Football Carnage is quite a bit different take on the regular zombie game types. With each wave introducing and re-introducing up to 17 different types of enemies, the challenge is to keep your wits and timing up to speed. As you throw your football, the main weapon available to you, the focus is not on aiming but timing. Instead, your objective is to time the next throw right after it hits your enemy, thus speeding up the attack and adding onto combos. The amount of combos, and thereby the amount of power, is upgradeable in the shop before and after play. This means you have to wait until you have played as far as you can and absolutely need upgrades in order not to suck anymore.
Also upgradeable, are power-ups available across the playing field. They appear randomly after killing a zombie and belong to one of two slots available. Run over one and it replaces the corresponding item in the slot. The two types appear to differ between direct attacking weapons and defensive items. Weapons of note are a one shot triple blade attack and it’s corresponding blade dispensing tower. The defense items are ways to slow down the enemy or increase your health and defense. My favorite would be the broccoli that causes enemies to avoid you. Let’s face it, who wants to be near broccoli? On the opposite side, there is a teddy bear that attracts the enemies in your stead, keeping them away from you.
The style of the art Milkstone Studios has chosen is something I had not seen them done yet. It reminds me of what I saw in screens for Castle Crashers. Again, it is refreshing to see one developer become so vast and various in their games. The music and sound effects fit the bill for setting the fast paced erratic mood. Teh 2d world on a 3d plane is fun and well crisped against the backdrop.
Overall, I can’t keep my hands off of Zombie Football Carnage. I think what keeps me going is the ranking listed in the bottom right the keeps going up as I make more combos or run across more medals. I enjoy being able to kick back from playing Halo and stop worrying about aiming or bouncing and start worrying and running and throwing. After all, right behind baseball, football and zombies are some other popular American pastimes. Picking up this game is well worth it.
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.