Day 95: TEMPURA of the DEAD

Posted: 2011/02/12 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 #95, and today’s game is “TEMPURA of the DEAD”.

First from the developer:

“The TEMPURA of the DEAD is a simple & exhilarating 8bit style 2D platformer & shooter. Switch between two unique characters -PRESIDENT TOMPSON and SAMURAI SUGIMOTO- and beat the zombies. Juggle the zombie’s head to increase the extra life! You must find all GERMS of Calamity, and exterminate them to restore peace.”

For a second day in a row, I’m wetting my appetite for games that let you switch back and forth between two characters, after yesterday’s “Mama & Son – Clean House”. However here, both characters are definitely combatants, and the game is oozing 8-bit style melded with some modern sensibilities.

The first thing you’ll notice about the game is that this is one retro game that uses it as an asset, rather than a crutch. Here the animation is smooth and convincing, the detail is strong in the characters and backgrounds, and the entire game does a good job of reminding us that games don’t have to be photorealistic to be graphically impressive. The audio does a good job of setting the tone, with moody music and adequate old-school sound effects. The game has you playing the role of Obama… I mean, President Tompson, and a traveling samurai who happens to be in the right place at the right time, as the two learn bushido together while rescuing the United States from the forces of the undead.

Gameplay has you switching back and forth between the President’s distance weapon (a machine gun) and the samurai’s in-close melee weapon (a katana sword). You earn points as you progress through the game that can be spent at in-game shops to increase the abilities of each character, allowing you to level them up and customise each of them to your particular play style. You can replay levels to earn more points if you’re ever having difficulty progressing, allowing you to come back with more powerful characters to retry difficult levels.

The game has 24 singleplayer levels, and adds to the replay value by making some (non-essential) areas inaccessible until you get more powerful jump (and double-jump) abilities later in the game, giving you a reason to replay some of those early levels. Good level design throughout has this being more of a feature than it is a chore. The game has appropriately insane boss fights (four in all) that are just enough to be a real challenge, and just few enough to memorable.

This game is easily one of the best in the XBL Indie Games channel, and a great addition to anyone’s game collection at 240 Microsoft Points.

For a second opinion, check out Kobun’s review of TEMPURA of the DEAD.

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  1. Joe Blame says:

    Love this review and love this game! One of my absolute all time favourite XBLIG games :) Surprised though that it’s not on the top 50.

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