Day 21: Weapon of Choice

Posted: 2010/11/30 in Indie Games
Tags: , ,

I’m purchasing an Xbox Live Indie Game every day, seeking out the quality titles that got lost in the shuffle and no longer appear in the top 50 downloads. Today is day #21, and today’s game is “Weapon of Choice”.

Like Bloc, Bad Atom: Episode 1, and CarneyVale Showtime, this is another early Indie Games effort, and (as I found out today) still one of the best. This was actually a launch title for the Indie Games channel (back when it was still called Xbox Live Community Games), but if you’d told me it was released yesterday I would easily believe you. It has most of the polish that the best Indie Games two years later exhibit.

The game features gorgeous hand-drawn art, and gameplay that draws from several sources and innovates on all of it. Comparisons to Contra are inevitable, but there are immediate and undeniable innovations here such as a robotic spider backpack that you can use to climb with (and climb you will, up sheer cliffs, impossibly tall trees, and everything else you can find in the environment). You begin each mission with a selection of operatives to play as, each which has a standard issue weapon plus a secondary weapon of their choice (aha, hence the name). Mastering each character’s weapon of choice is the key to excelling in the game.

When you find your character in particular jeopardy, the game goes into a slow-motion mode where you’re taunted by a laughing skull as you’re given one last chance to shoot or dodge your way to safety, one of the most unique uses of a bullet time mechanic I’ve ever seen. The innovations don’t stop there, though: in Weapon of Choice, to earn an extra life you have to find another operative stranded in the environment, and literally *carry* through the level to safety, lending new (literal) meaning to “earning an extra man” (or woman, as there are a lot of both to choose from amongst the large number of playable characters).

The weapon variation is impressive as well. Unlike most games where weapon variation adds up to subtle differences between the rate of fire and the power of individual shots, here your weapons range from things as creative as a weapon that shoots pods that fire lasers (and that you can subsequently direct to targets in any direction) to the world’s longest flexible chainsaw blade, and almost everything you could imagine in-between.

This is the latest game review I’ve ever posted, and in part that’s because it was all I could do to pull myself away from the console. This is an incredible game for 400 Microsoft Points. I can’t think of a single Xbox Live Arcade game, whether it cost as little as 400 MSP or as much as 1200 MSP, that I would recommend before Weapon of Choice, even more two years after WoC’s release. I’m amazed that this game doesn’t come up more often in discussions of the best Indie Games. It was created by Momma’s Best Games, creator of the Explosionade and of the forthcoming Grapple Buggy.

Click here to download “Weapon of Choice” and please come back afterward to review it.



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Comments
  1. Weapon of Choice was (and still is, I think) half price for Black Friday. If it was worth 400 points, it’s certainly worth 200. I had 220 points sitting in my account, so WoC got them.

    • Weapon of Choice is a fantastic deal at only 200 points (the cheapest it’d ever been previously was 240 I think). Seriously, just go buy it, people!

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