Day 56: Nebulon

Posted: 2011/01/04 in Indie Games

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 #56, and today’s game is “Nebulon”.

When is a twin-stick shooter not a twin-stick shooter? When it takes a page out of Gears of War’s playbook. with Nebulon you can only fire straight ahead when you’re moving, but when you stop moving you can fire in any direction you want. Much like how Halo actually managed to improve first-person shooters by limiting the number of guns you can carry with you to only two, so too does Nebulon manage to improve space combat shooters by limiting when and how you can shoot, forcing you to make tactical decision on the fly about whether to stand and fight or whether to run. Once you start thinking of this game as a little like Gears of War (shoot, run to another location, shoot some more) then suddenly the limitations the game puts in seem like genius.

The game has a nice progression of powerups, and smartly introduces the threat of some of the enemies being able to absorb the power-ups before you do (which further complicates the ever-present decision of whether to shoot or to move). The game is only 80 Microsoft Points with attractive presentation and a must buy for anyone looking for something different in a space shooter.

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