Saturday, February 19, 2011

Review: The Incident of Dreamy Vale Church

In this chapter of The XBL Indieverse XBLIG Reviews we'll be taking a look at a fighting game called The Incident of Dreamy Vale Church. This Indie Game is in full 3D and features two English police officer heroines as they battle the walking undead at--you guessed it--Dreamy Vale Church.

As fighters on the Xbox Indie Marketplace are somewhat rare, this is a refreshing addition to the communities ever-expanding library of content.

The Incident of Dreamy Vale Church 80 MSP

Incident of Dreamy Vale Church
  • Rating – 
  • Developer – Darth Cheesiest
  • Genre – Fighting
  • XBL Marketplace URL – The Incident of Dreamy Vale Church
  • Release Date – 1/30/2011
  • Try or Buy?Try Before you Buy
  • Price – 80 MSP
"Fight your way through hoards of un-dead skeletons all set on not letting you leave. - - - - 1 or 2 player sideways scrolling beat’em up adventure with four levels and many combos! - - - - Features a comic book style storyboard, you can also listen to the game’s music in options and look at development shots in the Gallery."
                                                          --Xbox Live Marketplace Description

I.    Story Line

This particularly fun fighting Indie has a rather strange storyline--apparently there are undead walking the earth in Dreamy Vale, a small town in what appears to be England. The church seems to be the source of this curse, and our two heroines Laura and Anna are called to investigate.

Little do they know that they are about to walk into a nightmarish reality that they'll have to fight to the death to escape. The story line is progressive and is in comic-book format; after each level there is a small excerpt with pictures, and eventually the story gets more dynamic as players get farther.

II.   Game Mechanics

"Dreamy Vale" is an enjoyable experience for gamers of all types and ages; whether you're a casual or serious gamer, you can have fun playing this Indie fighter. This game isn't your standard versus PvP fighter, but it is a cooperative one player or two player beat-em-up  adventure. The gameplay reminds this reviewer of the Tekken Force modes in the notorious fighting series in both fighting scheme, controls, and overall game dynamics.

This unique XBLIG also utilizes a myriad of particularly useful combos and attacks, all of which can be used strategically to smash through the skeleton and zombie onslaught. The special maneuvers are also balanced as each time a player uses one of these powerful abilities their health is subsequently drained, giving players an incentive to use the power wisely.

Usually fighting games pit two players against one another, however this game offers the chance for two players to work cooperatively and the game itself is best enjoyed with two players. It's much easier when you have a teammate to rely on, especially in the later stages where enemies are overwhelming in skill and in number. 

III.  Weapons/Items

There aren't any real conventional weapons to be picked up in this game, however Anna Noble and her partner, Laura, both utilize their night-sticks to effectively kill the invading undead armies. As far as items go, there are power-ups, health items such as apples and food, and even poisonous mushrooms that completely invert the directional pad as well as poison mushrooms that can harm the player--or even kill them if they have low health.

IV.   Unique Features

"Dreamy Vale" makes good use of incredible 3D graphics, especially for a XBL Indie Game. The fighting is fluid and flawless, and it can be very fast-paced at times. I'm honestly pleasantly surprised with the overall fighting experience that this game brings, especially with the strategy that's involved with taking down hordes of enemies. The game itself also allows players to move in all directions instead of being limited to just on horizontal path as you are in most versus fighter games.

The sound effects and music tracks are another great feature of this XBLIG fighter. Usually, reviewers of the community don't see many fighting games with such expansive soundtracks, and each track can even be previewed at the title menu. The sound effects are quite fitting and are executed very well; every punch and kill makes you feel like you're really there. The visual effects are also quite good, and the lighting is wonderful in this full 3D graphic side-scroller fighting game.

This Xbox Indie also has an expanded list of moves for each character that are not as complex as players might expect. These combos are mainly button presses that can be differentiated in a few ways but overall they're mostly the same--two-hit combos, three-hits, and so on. The more variety that players user in their combos gives them a better chance to see what works, and saving the power skills for when they're really needed is essential.

This XBL Indie fighter also offers near-infinite replay-ability: although the story itself doesn't change, each battle can have different circumstances each time, depending on both the player's and enemy's performances in battle. Each new playthrough is a chance to do things differently and adapt to learn new strategies to defeat enemy skeletons and undead.

V.    Critique 

The Good

The Graphics. Dreamy Vale has all 3D visuals and environments, and even the comic squares themselves are rendered as well. The meshes are superfluous and the lighting and textures are amazing for a XBLIG--quite possibly the best graphics I've seen in a Xbox Indie fighting game.

It's Fun! Play this game with a teammate to maximize your potential or play alone and test your survival fighting techniques in this adventure-like side-scrolling brawler. This Indie can be enjoyed by gamers of all ages of all types--it's a great way to get prepared for other games as "Dreamy Vale" requires gamers to have a good sense of hand-eye coordination and quick reflexes and reactions.

It's Unique. The unique concepts such as the original story line or the gameplay elements make Dreamy Vale the successful and gratifying playing experience that it is. As zombies and the undead are prevalent themes and motifs that are seen throughout the community's content library, this game offers an exclusive take on the whole zombie cult-genre. 

The Bad 

Solo-play is Too Hard. This title puts great emphasis on the team dynamic and it is highly recommended that gamers keep that in mind before purchasing this title. Don't expect to be able to beat the game on your first five tries, at least, although all gamers are different in terms of skill. Solo-play is much more challenging and difficult, yet it's not impossible to beat.

No Targeting System. The way players target enemies to attack is to simply face them--this can get rather troublesome when players are getting swarmed from all angles. There's no real specific way to easily switch targets in this game--gamers are required to pay close attention and react quickly or suffer the consequences.

No Blocking. Most fighting games, regardless if it's a side-scroller versus type game or a cooperative one like "Dreamy Vale", usually have a means of blocking or guarding to raise defense and reduce damage. This is usually represented by a stance that makes the player immobile but also considerably lowers the attack damage that is received during battle. Since "Dreamy Vale" doesn't have this feature, gameplay can get rather hectic and overwhelming pretty early on.

VI.   Wrap-Up

As you can see, "The Incident of Dreamy Vale Church" is an excellent XBLIG for many reasons; whether its the near infinite replayability in solo or two-player co-op, or the beautiful scenery and full 3D renders, this side-scrolling beat-em-up fighter/adventure game has something for every gamer out there. 

Even though the game is a mere 80 MSP, it's still best to prepare for challenging (and fun) gameplay as well as to have another player to assist in co-op mode.

For more information on this XBLIG or to contact the developer of Dreamy Vale Church, visit:
 Incident of Dreamy Vale Church

--Deeke777 at The XBL Indieverse

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