Posts Tagged ‘Shooters’

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 #49, and today’s game is “Tank Battles”.

One of my favourite games on the Mattel Intellivision game console my family got in 1980 was a cartridge called Triple Action which included 3 games, one of which was a 1-on-1 tank battle game with several options, including bouncing shots. Tank Battles is a modern (and highly upgraded) evolution of that concept, allowing up to four players (online and off) and plenty of power-ups and well designed arenas to fight through.

This game looks good graphically, and plays better. It (more…)

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 #45, and today’s game is “Beat Hazard”.

Beat Hazard is in some ways the opposite of the game I reviewed back on day 20: “Groov”. With Groov your actions create a soundtrack. Beat Hazard, on the other hand, analyses the music you provide it and turns it into a chorus of destruction. Your weapons pulse to the beat, and whenever your music reaches a crescendo your power is increased. But there’s no free ride (more…)

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 #40, and today’s game is “ZP2K9”.

ZP2K9 is a side-scrolling shooter that draws elements from both platform games and first-person shooters. It has a laissez-faire approach to physics that lets you run up walls and along ceilings that opens up the gameplay in intriquing ways, it has a wide range of weapons, and common FPS gameplay types such as deathmatch, team deathmatch, and capture the flag. The game further differentiates itself by (more…)

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 #33, and today’s game is “Sol Invasion”.

My goal when I started buying an indie game of every day was to find the hidden gems I (and many other people) have been missing out on. Sol Invasion definitely qualifies. It’s a unique mix of strategy and action that works on every level. My first impression was less charitable, though, because it was so much different than my expectations. This is not StarLancer, this game is unique and (once you get the hang of it) that benefits it. Best of all, the game lets you play it as action-packed as you want, or (nearly) as strategically as you want, and does so not by you selecting menu options but by responding to the choices you make.

In Sol Invasion you’re (more…)

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 #24, and today’s game is “Joint Strike Future”.

In my Bloc review (way back on day 16) I noted some thematic similarities between Bloc and Ikaruga. Well, Joint Strike Future has even stronger similarities still, but arguably improves on Ikaruga in some key ways.

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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 (more…)

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 #20, and today’s game is “Groov”.

Yesterday’s game we did another foray into an “Indie Game” that aims to teach you something with “German 101”. Sticking with the theme of software that starts with “G”, but moving back into gameplay, today I bought Groov.

This is the love-child of Geometry Wars (hey, another game that starts with “G”) and Rez. Like with Geometry Wars it’s an arena-based twin-stick shooter where you fight off simple looking shapes. Like with Rez, your actions create a soundtrack (every shot from you, every enemy destroyed, adds to the chorus, guaranteeing the music is never the same twice). But like chocolate and peanut butter, these are two great things that go great together. You end up with a game that is greater than the sum of its parts.

At first the music creation elements seem limited, like a toddler hitting the odd note on a toy piano, at least on the easy skill level. Give the game time, however: as the difficulty slowly ramps up, so too do the number of enemies on screen and your power-ups. As the enemies increase the musical notes being played increase, which increases the franticness and tension. Periodically you earn a (more…)

World Revolution: The Last Defense

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 #14, and today’s game is “World Revolution: The Last Defence”.

I was concerned this might be another cookie-cutter tower defence game, but was pleasantly surprised to learn that it was quite different. It’s more like Missile Command, except the game takes place on a fully 3D rotating globe. You choose what part of the globe your faction inhabits, and then protect it from a near-future world full of terrorists bent on your destruction. They launch missiles at your few remaining cities, and you have to shoot them down: any you miss will whittle away at your remain cities, not to mention your anti-missile facilities.

The game may have Missile Command as its inspiration, but it plays out significantly differently. For one, (more…)

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 #5, and today’s game is “radiangames Crossfire”.

Imagine if you will Space Invaders. Now imagine you can warp back and forth between the top and bottom of the screen. Further imagine that the enemies can invert themselves too, trying to shoot you no matter where you flee. Finally, imagine that each enemy you shoot can fuel your special weapon, if you can collect the energy they release before it dissipates. Finally, some enemies hide power-ups and other special attacks. You’re well on your way to imagining Crossfire.

There is more to the game than described above. When you warp from one side of the screen to the other you collect things that are useful to you (such as the power residue from defeated enemies) while avoiding things that are harmful (enemy fire and the enemies themselves). Advantages like this keep the game playable in the face of what might otherwise be unforgiveably hard. The presentation is slickly smooth and will seem familiar to anyone who’s played Geometry Wars (though the gameplay is far different).

I’m a big fan of what Radiangames is doing on the Xbox Live Indie Games channel. As previously reported, Radiangames is a full-time Xbox Live Indie Games development house. This is no hobby being done in the evening after the day job is over, this is (more…)

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 #1, and today’s game is “Hypership Out of Control”.

Today’s is the day that I begin my Indie Game a Day purchases. First, a recap of my intentions. I intend to buy one Indie Game via Xbox Live each and every day unless and until I run out of quality titles (something that may or may not ever happen, since there’s a constant stream of new content being released for the Indie Games channel). To that end, I loaded an additional 19,600 Microsoft Points onto my account today, bringing my total to more than 21K Microsoft Points. Since Indie Games can cost as little as 80 MSP, that could be as many as 265 days worth. However, I have my eye on some titles that cost more than that.

My goal is to promote games that are less well known, perhaps because they were released earlier in the service’s life, or perhaps because they got lost in the shuffle of all the content being released via Indie Games. That means I am going to do my darndest to avoid the games on the Top Downloads list, New Releases list, etc., as they’re already getting plenty of promotion, and focus on other titles that are equal in quality but not front and centre on the dashboard at the moment.

So while this was the ninth game I’ve purchased via Indie Games, it’s my inaugural choice on my game-a-day binge. And that game is Hypership Out of Control. I fell in love with this game nearly instantly. Frankly, I was surprised this game was eligible, I expected it to be on the top downloaded list (especially since the person/people behind this game seem to have promoted it quite a bit on Twitter). It wasn’t on the top downloads, nor the top-rated (perhaps because as a new title it simply has very few ratings yet), and had fallen off the new releases list, so my timing was perfect. I did ultimately note that it was listed as one of the IGN top picks on the dashboard, however, and deservedly so.

In my youth this was a genre I played a lot, the horizontal shoot-’em-up, with Commodore 64 games like Xenon and Amiga games like SWIV. Anyone who played Xevious in the arcade or on countless home systems it was ported to knows a bit about how this genre plays.

But most of those games were about avoiding enemy fire while shooting enemies down. You have some of that in Hypership Out of Control as well, but not as much as you’d think. The hook here is that (more…)