I would argue that above zombies, dinosaurs are probably the world’s most beloved sub-culture. From The Land Before Time extending to Jurassic Park, I argue that dinosaurs have maintained a special place in most everyone’s heart. The problem is that there has not been much love (or hate) for dinorsaurs in video games since the Turok series. The problem’s solution came with advent of Kickstarter. Spiral Game Studios has had the design for Orion started since 1998, but it wasn’t until their Kickstarter campaign for $10,000 that net almost $20k in over a year that they made some serious headway. They’ve released the game early on May 4th and will be continuing to update the game and produce more content for it. In fact, when I received my copy, I couldn’t even play it. It is running on the Unreal Development Kit and for some reason, mine kept crashing. So I sat by and was patient until the release when the forums would be up on Steam and more people would probably experience and fix the same problem I was having. I was correct in that assumption and ever since I did a small bcdedit on Windows to expand my virtual video memory, the game has worked. I am not going to say flawlessly, because inside the game there are certainly issues and I will point out the ones I’ve notice as I tell you more about the world of Orion: Dino Beatdown and all the dinosaurs I’ve killed.
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.
A week or two ago, I was browsing Reddit and came across a post from a developer who had some leftover codes for a game he had made with his friends. He was nice enough to pass a code to me as well as a few others. Feeling that no good deed deserves to go unnoticed, I felt that this game needed some light shone upon it. Behold to thy open eyes Cavemen VS Aliens.
Now before you get all gun ho on me, I don’t want you thinking of Cowboys & Aliens as that is a movie, has different letters in the title and was a complete waste of Daniel Craig’s talent. No, Cavemen VS Aliens is a simplistic RTS from the Xbox Live Indie Game section developed by WeAreColin. In the midst of working and being sick, I finally had a chance to play a few levels. Gameplay is broken down to this. There are four Pterodactyls. One carries cavemen to spots,One takes them back, one supplies them with rock and one with health. Each has a cool down time, so sometimes it is strategic to move men if you can’t heal them. You have to bring them to different zones to help capture the territory or defend it. Hold enough territory for a certain amount of time or kill all the attacking aliens and you win the round. Do I need to tell you that the aliens are bad and want turn the planet into a giant communication repeater that would kill all life? NO? Good!
Now I know what you are thinking, that this incredibly well drawn game sounds just too easy. Well I tell you that it is not and that I certainly struggled. As of right now, I have not made it very far at all, having only conquered the first three levels. My mission right now is to attack more points and, I think, leave the forest area. There are a few other types of environments and supposedly they affect gameplay, but I cannot tell you how yet. You see, even though I have a super powered caveman named Colin (the chief’s top hunter son who you can’t let die) I still seem to be overpowered. I haven’t figured out how many cavemen I need to placed in the zones before I attempt to take them over. Hopefully you do better. At least while doing so I am not looking at some horrendous art or listening to crappy music. No my friends, WeAreColin does not make you suffer visually or auditory.
So if you are thinking you want to pick this game up with a Pterodactyl of your own, swing by the Xbox Live Indie section and snag it for a $1 (80Msp if they haven’t changed the currency yet.) I found it fun and will continue to work towards redemption of my failure to complete it. Also, I’ve got my eye on the developer that dropped the loot in Reddit. He stated that besides being busy working on 100 player crowd games, he was about to release something for WP7. Ooh, mysterious.
The TV cartoon Ugly Americans tends to be one of my secret pleasures. If I spot it on, I’ll generally flip to it and watch the crazy antics of a guy trying to be a monster social worker. Not to mention the fact that it is kinda cool that his girlfriend is a demon. His co-worker is a wizard who more often than naught acts like a drunken stage magician (probably because more often than naught he IS drunk). Of course, I hadn’t realized just exactly I would be in for by picking up my PS3′s controller and firing up Ugly Americans: Apocalypsegeddon.
A small intro plays that basically tells me that the world is doomed and I have to save it. Standard everyday crisis, right? Anyways, you’re given a weapon that fires anything you put into it and that means ANYTHING. Baseballs, paint-cans, tennis balls, and wrenches will all become your weapons of monster fighting destruction. My first case I took on, playing as Mark the social worker, was to stop the man birds. I made the mistake of playing this while in the company of my fiancee, who was promptly disgusted by the man birds. The man birds walk around flinging filth, dropping shit bombs and curse the daylight out of anyone in their presence. Such vulgarities as “suckmacoch” and others forced her to flee the room. Mission successful.
The graphics and auditory enhancements stay true to the series, as well it should. These are the same voice actors as the show has and I would be curious to know if the developer, 345 games, hired any of the animators to help. I question that simply because they nailed the animation style. The story line takes the same trepidations and offensiveness that the show puts out. Quite frankly, it is apparent that this is one of the secret pleasures that should stay secret in my household. I like that I don’t have to keep it secret if I have like minded friends, as the game allows for 4-players.
If you’re a fan of the show, this game is a must for you to get. Enjoy your zombie, demon, and man bird fighting either on PSN or XBLA for only $9.99. Simply put, if you don’t buy it I well send you a man bird to raise as your own and wreck havoc on your social life.*
*This offer is not valid as man birds do not exist, but you get the point!
Just this summer I sold off my old Tippman Custom 98 paintball marker. Even though it had an expandable stock, an expansion chamber with a drop down for the tank,and a response trigger and a cyclone feed system to properly push through balls; I still ended up selling it for $30. You see, I hadn’t been to a paintball course in years. I’ve forgotten what it is like to feel the sting of defeat while trying to doge and mark others. I just figured I was getting too old and fat to be crouching through the woods. Never in a million years have I ever considered giving a speed ball course a try. It seemed too fast paced for me, whereas I like to stalk my prey through the heavy brush. I would likely never have that experience again, if it wasn’t for Greg Hastings Paintball 2.
I find it interesting that before this game came, I spotted my former roommate playing a Greg Hasting’s game on his PS2. Interesting enough is the fact that Greg Hasting’s Paintball 2 is completely downloadable on PSN. I mean it shouldn’t surprise me so much as full games are downloadable, but what did surprise me is how small the game actually is. I wonder if the PS2 disc was actually full or not. I am unsure how big the sport is these days, it seems to be a pain junkie’s version of volleyball in regards to how far outside of mainstream sports it is, but how devoted the players and fans are. As the player progresses through the game, changes can be made to the roster which involves choosing actual professional paintball to add to your team. Heck, even if I was playing in a sport that wasn’t on prime time television, I would still clamor to get my face and stats into a video game. Also, I feel unsure if the average player would really care about the managerial side of things, such as buying a new roster or equipment, other than trying to buy a better marker with which to shoot. I myself rarely made any changes as I could not see the point. Though I did opt to purchase a different marker that had a slower fire rate, but a better accuracy and range. Even then, you’ll be making shots that have to be lobbed at an angle.
The matches themselves are fairly fun, even if the controls are non-standard for an fps. This is because there is quite a range of motion that is provided. Running and ducking throws you into a full dive and aiming while hiding will cause you to peak out from your cover. The option is available to switch which side of the marker your view is on in case you are on the other side of the inflatable cover you’ve hidden behind. While I did say the controls are non-standard, they are quite accurate. To me it seems you can perform most maneuvers a real professional would make. The only thing missing would be to lay on your back, but I don’t see other video games doing that either. I finally bought myself a move and tried a few matches out with it. The movement and aiming with the Move is excellent. I had to use a controller in my left hand as a replacement for the navigation controller, but I made due. I actually think I shot a little better using the Move, though it could be my imagination.
I certainly enjoyed this game, I tend to hit it up when I am sick of blood and gore in other games. The graphics are decent and I am glad that I could not spot a bit of cartoon appearances anywhere, as it would have spoiled the game for me. The management of the team certainly might appeal to some players, regardless of weather they follow the sport or not. I suppose if I go back and look into it, having better players on my team might increase my odds of winning matches, but I tend to be a lone wolf trying to take everyone out by myself. Of course, I myself rather enjoyed the woodsball. It seems this will be the only way to get me back on a field with a marker in hand. If you miss the nostalgic days of being beaten up by paint and would rather not remember the pain, why not give Greg Hastings Paintball 2 a try. It’s only $19.99 on the PlayStation Network and you can find it for the Wii or Xbox 360 for the same price if you look hard enough.
The words “Trailer Park King” immediately perk my ears up as if they are somehow able to hear through my eyes. Trashy, redneck styled games have a special place in my home along with such board games as Redneck Life. Trailer Park King is not only the title of the game, but also of the main character. You’ll play him as he tries to sleuth through clearing his name from a murder, meanwhile gathering information from sexy, scantly clad women. Of course, this isn’t so much as a game as it is an interactive story. Almost a point and click escape the room kind of story. Of course, the aforementioned scantly clad women with seductive voices drives the quality level of the story, among other things, sky high. While normally I am not that fond of story telling works of art, especially when they require money to pay for, Trailer Park King is well worth your $1 of Microsoft monies. Even if it is just to gander at well drawn cleavage. Freelance games says the one of the characters, Celine, is modeled after one of their own employees. Who could know that we all work at the wrong place? Check out the Xbox Live Marketplace and the Youtube trailer as well!
If I were to say “Bumblepig”, what would immediately come to your mind? A black and yellow stripped pig flying around pollinating flowers you say? I’d say you were good at guessing, but there is a picture to the left. Anyways, that is the basic concept of Bumblepig; a cross bred bumble bee pig who you control to try and pollinate flowers in order to make a match. Sure, the first few levels are kinda easy. Using the triggers, you either shake the left or right leg to shake some collected pollen off your leg and onto a flower like a gardening Tinkerbell. Of course, you can always pollinate the flower with the same color of pollen, but where is the fun in that. You’ll get more coins to keep a string of one color going, and to do so you’re going to need to do some cross pollination. So shake that blue onto the red and the red onto the blue and string up some purple flowers. Whoops, did you just hit the button that drops the pollen and have no blue left to pollinate with? Yep, that will happen. Further out into the levels you’ll not only have to keep your matching skills going, but also have to dodge bugs and other obstacles that will knock your
socks pollen off. It can become quite tricky to keep pollinating flowers of different colors and to keep that pollen intact. It’s totally worth it though, as you make enough money you can buy Bumblepig more clothes and he needs a party hat to go to a party. Yeah, ok so there really isn’t much of a goal and the graphics make me feel like I am 7. I’d like to see a 7 year old dodge fly around as well as I do. Actually, most 7 year old kids probably could dodge better than me. Still, I’m not sure if this would make a great game for a kid, but I guess kids are getting better and hand/eye coordination everyday. So either way, Bumblepig would make a great challenge for anyone 7-70! I mean, those 70 year olds need to keep their skills sharp too, right? It’s cheap too as Kindling Games is an indie developer and Bumblepig is available on the Xbox LIVE Indie Games market. Check out the gameplay video below to see if you think this game is as interesting as I do. For sure it is fun and well made!
While I’m waiting for their new Darbee HDMI cable to become available for review, the lovely folks at Snakebyte suggested I pick another product to review in the meantime. So I perused their website trying to find something catch my eye. With a gasp and almost a girly squeal I spotted the item I just had to have. The item in question is obviously their Wii Premium Fitness Board. As an overweight individual, the Wii Fit Board was something that I have never experienced before. However, with Snakebyte’s Premium Fitness Board’s max of 390lbs, I was well on my way to giving it a shot. After shoving some batteries in I gave the board it’s first test. I stepped on with no Wii in sight to give the scale readout a trial. Yes, you heard me right. There is a digital readout built into the board to act as a scale. No more needing the Wii Fit app just to find out how much you weight that day.
Next I synced it to the Wii and watched as my Mii plumped up in the Wii Fit Plus menu. Here was the real test. Regardless of how much weight the board can handle, the Wii software only allows for so much. Honestly I am still boggled why Nintendo hates fat people, but such is life. On the first go around, I had success being measured and playing some of the Wii Fit Plus games. I gave it my best effort to jump as far as I could on the slopes. Running out of time for the night, I left the board in the capable hands of my 50 year old mother. (I stopped counting at 50.) I returned the next day to discover two things. First off, Wii Fit Plus was no longer letting me play, stating that I was over it’s weight capacities. How it allowed me the brief glimpse into it’s world the previous night, I’ll never know. Second, the Premium Board’s feet were sinking into the luscious downstairs carpet, throwing off the readings. Of course, had I read the instructions, I would have been warned about the dangers of carpet. I added a piece of cardboard to the mix and it corrected my oversight.
So I waited a few days, to let good old mom give the board a test. It came with some surprising results. In four days she had to replace the batteries twice. Not good. My guess is that the board stays on to display the scale. This is definitely a product flaw. I have to wonder if the Play and Charge kit they have for the original board works with their own creation. It certainly would be needed or you will be messing with batteries all the time. Now, if you’re wary of this battery vampire you can certainly buy this product for many other reasons. It is quite durable, or I never would have tried to step foot on it. This means for you lighter weighted players, you can give this board your all and never worry about damaging it. The price is excellent and it works just as well as the balance board Nintendo made. Now we just need a Wii Fit game that allows for heavier people. I’ll be working on downing my weight just so I can give this a try again. Meanwhile, I hope new purchasers of this board enjoy durability of their new product.
What timing could be better to create and release a Captain America pinball table other than when a Captain America movie is on the verge of release? It’s a trick question, so don’t answer it. Behold unto PSN and XBL, the wonders of ZEN Studios on their Marvel Pinball platform, the Captain America Pinball table. Complete with everything a young Nazi hunter would need to get their jollies. I say “young” Nazi hunter because as a child I grew up with movies based on the era of World War II. Ok so mainly just Indiana Jones. However, the theme is not lost on me. My recollection of Captain America, though, is not quite as old. Mainly I remember him as a walking cameo, appearing in cartoons across the 90′s. Needless to say I was pleasantly surprised when this new table reminded me of Cap’s true origins.