Monday, January 24, 2011

New Releases: Jan. 18-21st

This installment of XBL Indieverse New Releases will be a multiple grouping of various newly published Indie Games from January 18th to the 21st.

Over the past two weeks there have been a number of new Indie Games introduced to the Xbox Live Marketplace, however I'll be focusing on those that are among the best--at least in my opinion. Below are miniature reviews of these titles along with information and links.

Aban Hawkins & The 1000 Spikes 80 MSP

Aban Hawkins & the 1000 SPIKES
  • XBLIV Rating -
  • Developer - JPN 8bits fanatic
  • Genre - Platformer / Action & Adventure
  • Release Date - 1/18/2011
  • Price - 80 MSP
  • XBL Marketplace URL - Aban Hawkins & 1000 Spikes
"Aban Hawkins & the 1000 SPIKES" is an 8-bit retro style Hardest Extremest Craziest Platform Action Puzzle Adventure. Simple & intuitive rules. Elaborate level design. Various fierce traps, traps, traps! Return to the Golden Years of Video Game. No one can BEAT this game...except YOU!!"
                                                                                 --Xbox Live Marketplace Description

Image from Aban Hawkins & the 1000 SPIKES

This game is a must-have for all Platformer fans out there--especially those that enjoy the classic elements that go into the old games that we spent our youth playing in quarter-slot arcade machines. The overall look of it is Indiana Jones crossed with Super Mario Bros. further spliced with the original Pitfall--and believe me, that's a compliment.

Image from Aban Hawkins & the 1000 SPIKES

The general object of the game is simple--to get past various obstacles and to avoid the deadly blood-covered spikes. Failure is part of the game, and get used to dying--with a gigantic pool of a thousand plus lives, you'll have to devote a few dozen of them to experimenting in how to complete the goal, sometimes having to do tedious trial and error sessions.

Image from Aban Hawkins & the 1000 SPIKES

Aban Hawkins' is also part puzzler, as to complete the goal, you'll have to think outside the box to get past obstacles and such--don't worry though, at it's heart this game is a platformer through and through.
What makes this game unique is that you use what appears to be throwing knives to attack foes, and that there are multiple dynamics to jumping--high jumps and normal jumps, etc. Another awesome unique feature is the ability to save your game progress at any time, unlike the early game systems that would lose all that precious gameplay time once the console was turned off. Kill foes, move blocks, cross obstacles and jump across chasms in this exciting Platformer that will easily entertain all gamers.


Image from The TEMPURA of the DEAD
  • XBLIG Rating -
You might noticed that the developer of this game, JPN 8bits fanatic, is the same Indie Game Developer that brought us The Tempura Of The Dead--another classically-themed RPG/Platformer hybrid--think the old Shinobi game for NES but only being able to select two characters instead of just the ninja. It is highly recommended to check out Tempura if you enjoy Aban Hawkins, especially if you're a die-hard Platformer fan. Tempura has a slightly steep price of 240 MSP, but Aban Hawkins is only 80 MSP--worth every cent, too. Tempura will be your better choice, however, if you are a veteran of 8-bit gaming and enjoy fun games that can be replayed without boredom.

Remember to try before you buy--as with every game featured on the Xbox Live Marketplace, there are Trial Games and Demos so you can see if you'd enjoy the game before you buy.

Solar Struggle: Survival 80 MSP

Solar Struggle: Survival

  • XBLIV Rating -
  • Developer - Z Software
  • Genre - Space Shooter
  • Release Date - 1/19/201
  • Price - 80 MSP
  • XBL Marketplace URL - Solar Struggle Survival
"You're just after the pure action? Solar Struggle: Survival throws you in the midst of a whole lot of enemies! Will you keep up till the end, beating wave after wave of enemies?"
                                                                        --Xbox Live Marketplace Description

Image from Solar Struggle: Survival

Z Software, the very same game studio that brought us the first iteration of Solar Struggle, now brings us the next chapter in the series--Solar Struggle: Survival. Normally I don't give 5-star ratings to any other genre than RPGs, but this game has to be the best sci-fi space shooter I've ever played--especially in the Indie Games section.

Image from Solar Struggle: Survival

What makes Solar Struggle: Survival so awesome is the overall game flow--it has a natural feel to it that allows for streamlined gameplay and is incredibly addictive once you get the hang of it. Fly through space and destroy the endless hoardes of space marauders who want one thing--to kill you. Destroy them with lock-on missiles or steady your hand and take aim with the pulse lasers, and pay attention to the internal radar map that displays all craft nearby. The dynamic HUD is incredibly responsive and even shows you what direction you're being engaged from as well as cool-down bars on the side of the crosshairs to let you know when you can fire a missle or laser once more.

Image from Solar Struggle: Survival

Perhaps the most interesting feature of this game is the XP leveling system--once you get a certain amount of XP you level up, just like in any RPG game--and you get better powerups and equipment such as more powerful lasers, a higher quantity of missles, etc. You can also string kills together in combinations to earn more XP and Score. At its core this game is similar to any space shooter, however it is the responsive HUD and scoring system that provide for an addictive and highly enjoyable shooter.

Image from Solar Struggle: Survival

Solar Struggle: Survival offers many game maps and scenarios, but its basically a dogfight in space between you and the evil marauders that want to kill you. This game also provides incentives by playing in certain ways, improving styles and completing goals to unlock awards--these awards further offer more powerful lasers and such, upgrades and powerups to the ship itself. With the award function, the game becomes much more enjoyable when you're re-playing it.

Antipole 240 MSP

  • XBLIV Rating -
  • Developer - Saturnine Games LLC
  • Genre - Platformer
  • Release Date - 1/21/2011
  • Price - 240 MSP
  • XBL Marketplace URL - Antipole
  • Developer Website - Saturnine Games Home
"Wield your powers of gravity manipulation to fend off a robot invasion. Perform impossible jumps, destroy enemies, and solve puzzles by bending gravity. Explore 20 challenging levels, 2 difficulty settings, and bonus unlockable content."
                                                                      --Xbox Live Indie Games Marketplace Description

Saturine Games LLC
is quite an interesting Indie Game Developer studio--it has created a title on not only XBL Indie Games but on Nintendo DSiWare as well, making them a cross-over studio that focuses on more than one Indie gameset. Their DSiWare game, Cosmos X-2, is a space-age shooter that incorporates first person views as well as a third person shoot-em-up adventure--this game is quite different than their XBL release, however.

Saturine Games has also announced another upcoming title to be released on the XBL Indie Games Marketplace: it's dubbed as "Turtle Tale" and has only been announced through a promotional game cover--no details were released yet on this future project.

Image from Antipole

Antipole, Saturine Games LLC's first Platformer, is quite inventive and unique as it incorporates gravity transversal which allows players to think outside the box to progress onwards throughout the game.

Conventionally, platformers are side-scrollers that have one main objective: to get to the next level or stage. To do that, however, is the challenge--many foes lie await in your way along with deadly obstacles and lethal drops. Players must jump, evade, kill and most importantly, plan their attempts or failure is guaranteed. Antipole takes a conventional Platformer and flips it over on it's head--literally.

Image from Antipole

By giving gamers the ability to use ceilings to get powerups and to progress onwards throughout levels, Antipole has earned a passage in one of the most original platformers I've ever seen in an Indie Game. I can't help but to be reminded of Castlevania's Symphony of the Night, especially when the entire game map is inverted and turned upside down--Antipole further challenges gamers to think differently and abstractly all while enjoying all the themes and elements you'd come to expect from any platformer game.
This sci-fi side-scroller has a loose storyline that progresses as you get farther and farther throughout the game, but the mechanics and overall goal are the same--kill foes, get past obstacles, get to the next stage.

Antipole also has great color composition and style--the menus are amazing and the characters, meters, power ups, and tokens are animated very well. Another unique element of this game is its unlockables--usually most games use this as an incentive to buy the game, however Antipole offers a slew of "awardments" that can unlock in-game content as well as power-ups for your character.

We've seen this same concept take place in many Indie Games, and to me, it's a unique and fun replacement for Achievements and Awards found in retail Xbox Live Arcade and retail Xbox 360 games.

Image from Antipole

It is highly reccommended to all those that enjoy minor puzzler/unique Platformers, especially futuristically-themed ones. Try the Trial Game for free--I've played it many times over now, as its a great game to blow off some steam and have fun by flying up onto the ceiling--if you're skeptical, yet I find myself as a gamer who enjoys RPGs and not Platformers yet I had quite an enjoyable time with this game.

 Zombie Turkey Outbreak 80 MSP

Zombie Turkey Outbreak
"Driven mad after losing his farm to foreclosure, local turkey farmer J. Snydles plots his revenge on an unsuspecting town. Using steroids, toxic waste, and a small amount of energy drink, Snydles concocts a brew that turns his turkeys into mindless minions. On the brink of panic, returning war hero Bret Star must save his town before it's too late. Zombie Turkeys Must Die!!"
                                                                                     --Xbox Live Marketplace Description

Image from Zombie Turkey Outbreak

This game is a gem for all of those that enjoy FPS games--big or small. It's similar in style and function to Wasteland 2033, yet the graphics in Zombie Turkey Outbreak are superior. The guns look like they're straight out of Modern Warfare and it imbibes a sense of superiority...until you're overrun by a trampling onslaught of Zombie Turkeys, that is.

Image from Zombie Turkey Outbreak

The game's HUD is pretty basic yet it is very useful--the tactical map for instance is quite dynamic--showing layers, enemies, and the player's location as well as powerups, health, and ammunition for various weapons. The weapons are something akin to Modern Warfare as the pistol has infinite ammunition but is less powerful--each gun is quite balanced in every way and the crosshairs are very accurate.

Image from Zombie Turkey Outbreak

ZTO is definitely worth the very cheap price tag attached to it--80 MSP is quite the steal for a game like this. Sure it gets old if you're trying to play it seriously, but it is good to get away from a frustrating part in another game--mindless turkey killing is great for everyone.

Image from Zombie Turkey Outbreak

The game is basically a survivalist FPS that gets harder and harder as the game progresses--eventually being quite overwhelming unless you have the right weaponry. With an interactive enemy count on the HUD, you can hunt down those stray turkeys or let them wander and collect ammunition/health powerups before the next round begins. Overall, this game is a must-have for a FPS lover, and is a great buy for even someone that has a passing interest in them.

Well, that about wraps it up; another few weeks and there will be even more releases in the Indie Games Marketplace. I'm looking forward to Star Cross II and the new upcoming title from TnT Gaming set in the Trinity Wars universe, yet these games in this article offer a good time-churner until those games come out.

--Deeke@Xbox Live

1 comment:

  1. Is 1000 Spikes mind numbingly hard, or just challenging? Also, I've been looking for a good FPS indie game. Turkey Outbreak looks right up my alley!