Day 163: Dysnomia

Posted: 2011/04/21 in Indie Games

I’m purchasing an Xbox Live Indie Game (XBLIG) every day, seeking out the quality titles that got lost in the shuffle and are not well represented in the top 50 lists on the Xbox Dashboard. Today is day #163, and today’s game is “Dysnomia”.

A popular genre of gaming, back in the day, was the top-down walk-around-and-shoot-everything genre. Games like “Alien Breed”, “Into the Eagle’s Nest”, “Chaos Engine”, and many more. This plays like an Alien Breed style of game, but enhanced with modern dual-stick controls. That’s actually a pretty compelling package right there. Add in co-op play, and a somewhat “open world” style, and it’s an easy purchase for 240 Microsoft Points.

First, from the developer (Team Mango):

“Your ship has made an emergency landing near the mining outpost on Dysnomia. All attempts to make contact with the base have failed. Your mission: Repair your ship and find out what happened here. A fast-paced futuristic shooter with exploration and survival elements.”

The open-world style of the game strikes me as innovative. You have to collect 40 AI chips, 8 fuel rods, and the necessary navigation data to repair your ship and successfully escape. You’ll find some of these on the surface of the planet, but most of them will be down below the surface with terror waiting around every corner. You can explore the world and pick up these items in any order you want, but there are a finite number of items in the world (including health packs and ammo), but an unlimited number of respawning enemies. This encourages you to escape trouble when you can to conserve ammo, and find more efficient paths around the planet. You can simply run and gun your way through the game, but it runs the risk of you suddenly finding yourself high and dry on the equipment front.

The game’s presenation reminds me of early Xbox Live Arcade (XBLA) games: it looks like an old game with a new coat of glossy paint on it, like many XBLA efforts that were an ’80s arcade game with new higher-res textures laid over blocky old graphics. It looks good enough for the most part, however, and the gameplay is solid enough to overlook the flaws.

With an Alien Breed motif, complete with appropriate science fiction/survival horror feel, this is a 240 MSP game that delivers modern non-linear gameplay and controls and a large game to explore.

Click here to download “Dysnomia”, and then please come back after playing to rate the game.



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