Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Breaking News: XBLIG Ratings Scam?

According to articles in the XBLIG/XNA Community there have been rumors of a Ratings scandal responsible for a number of games being knocked out of their places on certain high priority lists like "Top Rated.
Upon investigation of the Top Rated section of the Xbox Indies Marketplace, I noticed a few odd things in the placement of the games themselves: Bonded Realities has over 1000 ratings and has a 4.25-Star average, Solar has nearly 3000 ratings. Apparently it's a coincidence that all the Lacrosse games are on the Top Rated list--2010, 2011 and the other title as well.
The strangest change in placement is Cthulhu Saves the World's position--being a fan favorite and highly acclaimed title, it only has 1781 Ratings with a 4 star average. The whole thing seems to be a big mess, and the developers have been busy informing the Xbox Indie/XNA Community about the apparent disruption in the lists.
I want to reiterate that the rating changes don't reflect on my personal opinion as a reviewer--newly higher rated titles aren't of lesser quality, it's just that their normal placement has had a sort of paradigm shift--some games are naturally on the lower end of the spectrum while others are on the upper side.
Any XNA developer who's published a game knows that these lists determine your overall sales and success, and getting placed (and staying) on these all-important listings. In light of this manipulation, the official XNA Community Twitter has launched an investigation that will look into the matter at hand.
A number of titles have been negatively affected by this conniving scandal, some of which are well-known games like Cthulhu Saves the World. This supposed scam also seems to be favoring certain games like College Lacrosse 2010--is there a direct correlation? 
Perhaps, but only Microsoft knows for sure.
Whatever the case, these tactics are underhanded and I believe it's not something the XNA Community is happy about one bit. Many developers and even reviewers are spreading the word and are eager to hear the actual findings from the official XNA Community representatives from Microsoft.
Xbox Indie developers work hard on their titles, and to see something like this happen in their own virtual backyard, so to speak, is unnerving--this unbalances the playing field and distorts many aspects of the ratings system itself. Rather than helping the games, the ratings system has been convoluted in such a way that hinder certain titles.
The original Tweet made by the official XNA Community account.
Updates to this post will come as news arrives, however for now be sure to read up on GameMarx's Ratings Scandal Article for more information. Also, if that article doesn't satiate your thirst for knowledge in this matter, check out Achievement Locked's article as well as The Armless Octopus' Xbox Indies Sabotage article for supplementary reading.
Stay tuned for updates!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Breaking News: Cthulhu Saves the World Update!

Zeboyd Games officially announces it's update of the popular Xbox Indie RPG "Cthulhu Saves the World" with a new lengthy and zany title: Cthulhu Saves The World: The Super Hyper Enhanced Championship Edition Alpha Diamond DX Plus Alpha FES HD – Premium Enhanced Game of the Year Collector’s Edition (without Avatars!).

Yes, it's quite a mouthful, and it not only adds to the whole parody theme that is prominent in Zeboyd titles, but also gives a humorous twist to what many gamers have found is a seriously good title.

Cthulhu Saves the World appeared in the Indie Games Winter Uprising or IGWU for short, and is one of more popular Xbox Indie RPG's on the marketplace. CStW has been hailed across the gaming community as a fantastic game and has received positive reviews overall. Personally I believe that is a must-have for any RPG fan, especially die-hard gamers that are looking for a great way to convert MSP into hours of fun.

Cthulhu Saves the World 

Some of the new features that the this expanded version will include are: 
  • Director's Commentary Mode: Specific Tokens are peppered all across the game, each of which detailing certain interesting factoids about the game itself with a myriad of different subjects--basically you get a first-hand glimpse inside of the developer's influences and ideas for CStW.
  •  Re-Balanced Gameplay: Certain monsters and abilities have been modified to re-balance the game, changing it for the better. There is also a new Insanity difficulty and a ridiculously-difficult dungeon for the best of the best to test their mettle.
  •  A Hint to Zeboyd's Next Title: The new update also includes an obscure hint at Zeboyd Games' next game title--this tidbit is sure to tease fans of the tentacled demon from all over the community.
 Awesome YouTube video for "Hey There Cthulhu", a song set to video footage of CStW.

For the official press release to CSTW:SHECEADDPAFH – PEGYCE (WA!) and more information on Cthulhu Saves the World and its upcoming update, visit Zeboyd Games' website.




   The XBL Indieverse

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Breaking News: Fortress Crafters

Inspired from the PC gaming sensation known as Minecraft, which of course was inspired from a number of titles--including Infiniminer, Dwarf Fortress, and Dungeon Keeper--comes the revolutionary Xbox Indie known as FortressCraft.


"FortressCraft'ers" YouTube Channel

This game is scheduled for a mid-late March release, and it's not officially breaking news, but up until now we haven't been able to find many FortressCraft videos on the internet. The YouTube Channel "FORTRESS CRAFTers" brings fans what they've been clamoring for--full video footage of FortressCraft in action.

We've been able to see snippets of FortressCraft's capabilities in ProjectorGames' YouTube Channel, however in this new channel we will see footage of the "best FortressCraft videos on the web", and the awesome creations therein.

Be sure to Subscribe to both ProjectorGames' and Fortress Crafter's YouTube Channels to be updated on new videos, info, and more about this upcoming Xbox Indie.

For more information on FortressCraft and the studio that created it visit ProjectorGames' website or the homesite for FortressCraft.


Follow FortressCraft on Twitter

   The XBL Indieverse 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Breaking News: Epic Dungeon Updated!

On our first installment of XBL Indieverse's Breaking News articles we'll be focusing on one of my favorite Xbox Indie games: Epic Dungeon's new updates. The new changes rolled out on March 7th, and they really do revolutionize the game completely--with awardments, a new Epic mode for hardcore players, and even a Grim Reaper to discourage EXP farming, these updates add a new level of depth to the title.

Epic Dungeon 80 MSP

Epic Dungeon

Epic Dungeon, even before the expansive updates, was an amazing Xbox Indie that has been highly rated and favored throughout the Xbox Live community when it was released on the Winter Uprising holiday event.

The Indie Games Winter Uprising was an awesome event held on the main Xbox Live dashboard for all gamers to see, and there are many great titles released for this gaming function--big titles like Crossfire 2, the awesome RPG Cthulhu Saves the World, and of course Epic Dungeon.

Now let's get right into the core of some of Epic Dungeon's update changes:

Epic Dungeon now has Epic Difficulty!
The biggest change I'd have to say is the difficulties: there are now Easy, Normal, and Epic game modes, each of which have their own balances and attributes--easy being self explanatory, average play falling under Normal, and Epic mode is just what it sounds like--a challenging and punishing roguelike adventure.

Epic mode is considerably harder than the former modes, however, and shouldn't be played by beginning players. Gamers who are confident in their method and strategies should attempt this game mode, as it can be extremely frustrating for newbies.

Unlockable Awardments!
Another huge addition is the Awardments. There are a total of 24 Awardments amounting to a total of 250 points. These act just like achievements, and there even little quotes and symbols associated with them. Awardments offer players to experience the game in a few different ways, and it inspires gamers to play it time and time again to unlock these mini-achievements.

Platformer Bonus Stage!
There is also a unique extra game mode that players can come across as one of many Random Events found across the fifty dungeon levels. This extra mode is like a classic platformer, and players must collect as many coins as possible as the screen scrolls, the trick is to time your jumps correctly.

Eventually the platform surfaces get smaller and smaller as players progresses, making it quite difficult. Don't worry once you fall, though--your character won't die, he'll simply teleport to the previous location with the appropriate amount of Gold that was collected in the bonus stage.

(Don't) Fear the Reaper! 
As a long-time veteran of Epic Dungeon I've learned that exp farming is an incredibly advantageous strategy--not any more, however. Since the new update, players are discouraged from exp farming by a horribly strong Grim Reaper enemy that appears when players spend too much time killing monsters in a certain level.

While this has disadvantages, it is also a unique addition because it balances gameplay and makes it so gamers can't simply spend hours and hours becoming more powerful by farming gold, exp, and items. The only downside I notice with this feature is that exp farming is one of the only ways that I can see to beat Epic difficulty, and if the Reaper comes out there should be more than fifty dungeon-levels.

For more info on Epic Dungeon and the studio behind the game, Eyehook Games, visit their website.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Review: The Hearts of Men

Today on XBL Indieverse Reviews we'll be taking a look at a fantastic top-down Indie title called "Hearts of Men" by Coltran Studios. This game is a great addition to any gamer's Xbox Indies library, especially those that enjoy local co-op games that focus on team play.

The Hearts of Men 80 MSP

This particular Xbox Live Indie Game has elements that are similar to other games such as the XBLA title "Gauntlet", especially in its utilization of co-op team dynamics and how the levels are designed. This game is a great title for gamers who like to play with others, especially with three other players--four player unlocks the full potential for fun in "The Hearts of Men".

The Hearts of Men

  •  Rating
  • Developer – Coltran Studios (misterjz)
  • Genre – Classics
  • XBL Marketplace URLThe Hearts of Men
  • Release Date – 3/4/2011
  • Try or Buy? – Try Before you Buy
  • Price – 80 MSP
"Grab your friends and prepare for the ultimate Hack n Slash throwback! Classic gameplay meets amazing graphics in this first release from super indie developer COLTRAN Studios. Button Mash your way through +10 levels of demonic mayhem and encounter epic boss battles sure to make your thumb bleed!"
--Xbox Live Marketplace Description

I.  Story Line

Four adventurers reach the steps to an ancient dark tower that seems to radiate corruption and evil. This vile monolith stands as an aegis to all that is malignant in the world, and it is up to our heroes to dispel the decadence within. Armed with their abilities and their wits, our protagonists must slay the hordes of evil monsters to bring salvation to the lands and to stop the castle's eternal fiery reign over the world.

Can our band of wayfaring warriors smite the wickedness that lies within the hallowed walls of the ancient keep, or will they be consumed by the darkness and be slain like whole armies have before them at the gates of this evil dungeon? It's up to players to find out in this exciting and fun Xbox Indie!

Image from The Hearts of Men
The four different usable characters in The Hearts of Men

II. Game Mechanics

This game functions very similarly to the XBLA title Gauntlet in its design and overall dynamics, especially in the respect that co-op play has an advantage over single-player. Gamers can enjoy up to four-player co-op, and having even a second players can be an enormous help--however if you're looking for a challenge, single-player is the way to go.

Besides having co-op, this game also has two types of difficulty modes: Classic, which has more hordes of monsters for players to defeat, and Casual, which is an easier mode for beginner players. There are four different classes of hero for players to choose from: 
  • Warrior The hearty warrior throws two swords at once with each press of the A button.
  • Elf - The arrow-shooting archer who has a high rate of fire and launchers green projectiles at enemies.
  • Warlock - The arcane magic slinging mage that utilizes the arts of spellcasting to fire purple bolts of energy at hostiles.
  • Viking - The vanquisher that uses his brute strength to launch a volley of blue scimitars at enemies.
When combined in any way, these characters become deadly assets in battle, especially when an entire team of four is playing.

Players must utilize the dynamic of shooting swords and spells in one of four directions--diagonal shots are also possible but they're a bit harder to pull off, and in single player it's a bit impossible to run from an enemy and shoot at them at the same time since heroes launch their attacks in whatever direction the character is facing. Single-player is much more difficult for this reason.

Image from The Hearts of Men
The Wizard's main magical spell attack.

Players must also utilize the aggro radius of monsters to their advantage, and to dodge huge groups--normally walls block the monsters yet they will be attracted to players, and it's a useful strategy to play "cat and mouse" when playing with friends.

Health is represented in a numerical format rather than a bar, and this makes it a bit confusing at times to keep up with--however it also gives players an exact reading on their current status. Health can be up to 300 points which is triple the normal 100 hp in some games, yet there is no leveling system to improve characters. Players can also resurrect fallen allies by holding X near a downed friend, bringing them back to life. There aren't any limit of lives unless you're playing on single-player, or if players don't resurrect dead allies in time.

Each character also has a super Special Attack that annihilates most of the enemies on the screen, which is incredibly useful when players are extremely overwhelmed by hordes of creatures, or are very close to death and need a second of salvation. The special attacks are also impressive and have some really neat visual effects and are activated by pressing Y once players have attained a Blue Potion.

There are over ten stages and levels to play in this game, and each can be selected and re-played at any time with any number of players in a certain party. This allows beginners to go back and play the first level or to have all players join in for the last level's hectic and frenetic action. 

III. Weapons/Items

There aren't that many items in this game, and each character only utilizes their own signature weapon--there are no variations; Warriors throw swords, Elves shoot arrows, Wizards launch magic and Vikings hurl scimitars. Each characters weapons are a separate color which makes for easy identification while playing with more than one player.

Potions are very important in this game, however. There are three different types of potions that all are essential to getting far in this Xbox Indie; they are Blue, Green, and Red Potions.

  • Blue Potions +1 Special Attack These potions are coveted and are key to destroying large groups of enemies and when used right can be extremely effective.
  •  Green Potions Restore Health 100% Green potions are very important and can be the difference between life and death in this game, especially when players are overwhelmed.
  • Red Potions Heal Everyone In Your Party These potions are very useful as well, and can save your friends in hectic moments.
There are also Keys in this game that are used to unlock gates--this serves as the main goal in any given stage, and is how players progress to the next level. Sometimes keys can be in obvious places, other times they are hidden in the labyrinthine mazes that fill the stages.

Overall, the items (such as keys and potions) and the weapons (each character uses a different weapon attack--swords, bows, etc.) are very dynamic and key elements to the game itself. It's very important to maintain a healthy supply of vitality potions and ability potions if players want to succeed past the middle of the game.

Image from The Hearts of Men
The Viking's in-game Special Attack

IV. Unique Features

Four-Player action is a great feature that this Indie uses to provide for hours of enjoyable entertainment. When in a team, even of two-players, this game unlocks its true potential--when using strategies and team efforts, this game becomes something different than it is on Single-Player.

The graphics and visuals are also a great addition--comic inspired scenes and pictures are prevalent throughout this title, especially on the introduction scene and the main menu, and the character selection screen. This kind of art is somewhat rare to find in an Indie, and it is a very nice touch that appeals to the comic geek in most gamers.

The Mini-Map is another useful feature that comes in handy in this game. The map is viewed by pressing the Back button, and instead of showing the entire area, it shows the portion that the player is located. The map is unique in that it does not show the main character, his allies, or even enemies--it is strictly a map of the current area. This adds a new challenge to the game that is amplified on Single-Player since you're alone in the areas.

This Xbox Indie also uses the concept of missile projectiles as the main basis of attack--instead of close-range melee attacks, all characters launch their respective weaponry at enemies--this implementation is very similar to the retro arcade game Gauntlet made by Atari Games in the 1980's*.

Image from The Hearts of Men
This game also features epic boss fights.
V. Critique

The Good

Four Player Co-Op! This title contains all the elements needed for a great bout of co-op action, especially with four-players. A fantastic title to play when friends are over and you need a game to enjoy on the spot. It's fast-paced and doesn't take a while to start up--you're right in the action after a quick load-up, ready to hack and slash enemies with your team.

It's Fun! The Hearts of Men is a classic Xbox Indie that is at the heart of retro with it's blast-from-the-past dynamics of hack-and-slash* games. It incorporates several aspects gamers will be familiar with, and it's a sure way to enjoy an 80 MSP purchase, especially if you're a gamer that usually plays with friends.

Great Visuals and Soundtrack! As far as Xbox Indies go, this game has a great soundtrack that flows with the game and the sound effects are very accurate as well--overall the music and the effects combine to deliver what gamers expect from the medieval age. The visuals are astounding, and the comic-inspired graphics are something that is kind of rare in the Xbox Indie scene, especially since they are of exceptional quality. The in-game visual effects are great, too--whether you're using a Special Attack or reviving a player, the visuals are fluid and are very fitting.

The Bad

Single Player is Hard. Players will notice right away that Single Player is considerably more challenging than local co-op, especially since you can't run and shoot an enemy at the same time. Gamers must be cautious and strategize their attempts even at the very beginning, and some players may find this to be aggrevating.

Bugs/Glitches. There are a few bugs and glitches some players may notice in gameplay--while these are usually minor, they can sometimes inhibit gameplay and turn some gamers away from the title. These problems will be addressed with updates, so it's really a minor annoyance rather than a huge setback.

No Loot; Armors/Weapons. I would have liked to see some sort of loot system in play here--sure there are potions, but items such as armor and gold would be great to make it more of a dungeon crawl type of game, sort of like Xbox Indies Epic Dungeon or Dungeon Adventure.

VI. Wrap-Up

Overall The Hearts of Men is a great Xbox Indie for many reasons, besides the minor drawbacks; whether its the four player co-operative campaign mode, or the actual frenetic gameplay itself, this XBLIG title is sure to please gamers around the world. Gamers can expect a robust gaming experience full of strategy and challenges, especially when playing solo. Put your button-mashing skills to the test in this fast-paced medieval fantasy game.

For more information on The Hearts of Men and the developers, visit Coltran Studios' website for updates, news, and more on this and upcoming Xbox Indie titles.

Coltran Studios on YouTube

Coltran Studios on Twitter

The Hearts of Men Facebook Page

Skeptical? Want to try The Hearts of Men out for yourself? Click the picture to download the Free Trial!
The Hearts of Men
The Hearts of Men Free Demo
That ends our official look at the funtastic Xbox Live Indie Game "The Hearts of Men" for 80 MSP. As you can see this title is a must-have for all Gauntlet afficionados and fans of the traditional medieval-age top-down slash and hackers out there, and this title also brings us back to the nostalgic, retro age of arcade gaming.

*Source: Wikipedia Articles Gauntlet, Hack and Slash, & Dungeon Crawl.

   The XBL Indieverse 

Monday, March 7, 2011

Review: The Deep Cave

Welcome to another installment of The XBL Indieverse Reviews. Today we'll focus on a very original Xbox Indie platformer called "The Deep Cave" by PennyBridge Studios. This game is one of the most challenging platformers you'll find on the Xbox Indie marketplace, but it is also very fun and enjoyable, especially to gamers who enjoy hard games.

The Deep Cave 80 MSP

 The Deep Cave
  •  Rating
  • Developer – Penny Bridge Studios (jijaweb)
  • Genre – Platformer
  • XBL Marketplace URLThe Deep Cave
  • Release Date – 11/23/2010
  • Try or Buy?Try Before you Buy
  • Price – 80 MSP
"Retro 8-bit action!!! This is a story about a little boy. He starts his journey by falling down a deep hole. Will he survive the ultimate danger? There are three different endings in the game. Keep your skills together if you want to see them all. "
--Xbox Live Marketplace Description

I. Story Line

The Deep Cave starts off with players controlling Pi, the main character in this game--the little 8-bit guy--that has jumped down into a cave being attracted by a bright light. Pi believes there's something powerful down below in the caves, and it has drawn his attention.

All throughout this game we converse with Pi in a humorous dialogue and eventually we learn more about the mysterious bright light that has lured our hero down into the deep cave. Will Pi unlock the secrets to the luring luminescence or will he be trapped in the darkness forever? Players find out in this fun retro adventure.

 Image from The Deep Cave

II. Game Mechanics

This game functions like most Xbox Indie platformers in terms of game mechanics--players must jump across obstacles, gaps in the level, etc. What sets this game apart from traditional platformers, though, is that it's extremely punishing to new players.

Similar to the Xbox Indie "BoneD: Dead Men Don't Jump", this game utilizes a system that rewards players who are used to the dynamics of platformers and punishes players who are not. Although I myself find this humorous and original, and it makes me want to continue playing to improve my score, this may be a turn off for most players.

The object of the game is to beat stages by crossing them without dying--stages can be multi-leveled and are arranged in different ways. Players can't touch certain areas (such as spikes) or get hit by enemies or they die. There is no health, players simple die on the first hit, but there is an infinite pool of lives.

This game puts heavy emphasis on trial-and-error, and you'll want to expect dying A LOT before you actually beat a level. This mechanic is similar to the Xbox Indie platformer "Aban Hawkins & The 1000 Spikes" in that there is a giant amount of lives and players must expend dozens of lives just to figure out what the best solution is.

Since gamers are somewhat forced to carefully plan their strategies or use trial and error, this game becomes sort of a puzzler. Players must be very focused and pay attention to everything around them or risk dying and starting all the way over again.

 Image from The Deep Cave

III. Unique Features

This game has a few unique features for an Xbox Indie platformer, the first of which that players will instantly recognize is the nostalgic 8-bit feel that brings players back to the hey-day of gaming. These low-res graphics allow gamers to be transported back in time to the great arcade-style platformers.

The games stages are also very unique--every single progressive stage is different and varies in it's own way--sometimes there will be stages that are upside down, sometimes the will be normally set, etc. This new level of variety offers for a unique experience with each stage.

Another unique element that this particular Xbox Indie has is the incredible level of challenge and difficulty, which is brutal and truly an achievement to complete. This game is by far one of the hardest platformers, and its so goofy and wacky that you don't mind dying a hundred times or so.

The music in this title is a nice upbeat mixture of looped beats and chiptunes that bring the player into a whole new atmosphere of gaming. The tracks are pleasant to listen to and bring a calming effect to players that may be frustrated by the difficulty of some stages.

 Image from The Deep Cave

IV. Critique 

The Good

It's Original. The Deep Cave brings a whole new style of Xbox Indie platformer to the marketplace, and also introduces us to a zany new character that players control throughout the journey. While there are no power-ups or items, there doesn't have to be; the game is a hybrid of puzzler and platformer, putting emphasis on perfect timing.

Graphics. I really like the low-res, retro graphics in this Xbox Live Indie Game, especially in some of the middle stages and the cave stages. They're entertaining, humorous, and bring a light-hearted spin on the incredible brutality that is associated with some of the puzzle-stages themselves.

Save at Any Time. As tough as the game may be for some, there is a single function that helps players out, and that is the ability to save your progress at any moment in the game. This is especially useful once you've finally completed that seemingly impossible stage, and don't want to have to redo it all the way over.

The Bad

It's Very Challenging. The fact that players can expect to die many times over on any given stage makes this game very difficult, especially in the later stages that take upwards of thirty tries to complete. This practice does come in handy, though--playing a standard platformer after mastering The Deep Cave will most likely guarantee a full conquering of that game.

No Power-Ups/Items. I would have liked to see power-ups and certain items that would reduce the amount of strain and pressure that players may feel when playing this game. Overall the game is more puzzling than it is a platformer, and these features could add some new mechanics that would overall provide for an easier playing experience for new gamers.

 Image from The Deep Cave 

V. Wrap-Up

Overall  the Xbox Indie platformer The Deep Cave is a great buy, especially for veteran platformer fans that are looking for an extremely challenging title. This game is one of the most difficult games to master, but if a player should master it completely, they will be able to defeat most platformers without any problems, especially when it comes to timing perfect jumps.

For more information on The Deep Cave and the developer visit Penny Bridge Studios' website.

The Deep Cave
Click to download the Free Demo!

 Follow the developer on Twitter

That concludes The XBL Indieverse's Review of "The Deep Cave", a unique and very original platformer/puzzler hybrid that combines many different elements together to bring a very challenging yet enjoyable Xbox Indie gaming experience. I would recommend this title to all gamers who love classic platformers that are notoriously difficult, and beating this game is truly an achievement.

Thank you for joining us, and be sure to stay tuned for more articles like Reviews, Interviews, New Releases and more more!

   The XBL Indieverse

Friday, March 4, 2011

New Releases: Feb 25 - Mar 4


Our second installment of the New Releases article includes a few very fantastic Xbox Live Indie titles that were releases from late February to early March. The games that are included in this article are listed in chronological order in terms of release date--earliest to latest.

New Releases Feb 25th - Mar 4th

During this single week there have been some amazing additions to the Xbox Indies marketplace, namely in the RPG category. With two awesome RPG releases--Wizard's Keep and Hearts of Men--as well as a fun zombie shooter addition, and a nice retro-style 3D puzzler this single week has proven to be quite bountiful.
  • Wizard's Keep Feb 25
  • ZombieGeddon Feb 27
  • GyroBall Mar 1
  • The Hearts of Men Mar 4
Each section will have a synopsis of the game, pictures, links, and a video showing the game in action--if applicable. The articles will function as a mini-review of sorts, a bit like an impression of the titles overall design and game mechanics.

Wizard's Keep 80 MSP
This expansive and incredibly fun Xbox Indie RPG was developed by Robir, the creator of the successful Xbox Indie hit Miner Dig Deep. There are concepts that we can see reflected from his other title that are apparent in this Indie as well, especially with the overall design and custom-drawn content.
Wizard's Keep
XBLIV Rating -
Xbox Marketplace URL - Wizard's Keep
Developer - Robir
Genre - Role Playing

This game is an amazing RPG addition to the XBLIG Marketplace, and for a game that costs only 80 MSP, it provides hours upon hours of play-time. Find custom weapons/armor, build your character with unique skills, assign attribute points and complete various main/side quests in this must-have roguelike/action RPG that combines many aspects of game favorites together in one enjoyable package.

Highly recommended for all fans of Bonded Realities, Epic Dungeon, Dungeon Adventure and The Endless Abyss Xbox Indies.

ZombieGeddon 80 MSP
Although there are more than enough zombie-themed Xbox Indies out there, ZombieGeddon is one of the better twin-stick top-down shooters. With nice graphics, fluid gameplay, and hours of zombie-slaying action, ZombieGeddon is a great title for all twin-stick undead-shooter fans out there.
XBLIV Rating -
Xbox Marketplace URL - ZombieGeddon
Developer - Fun Factory Entertainment
Genre - Action & Adventure

Being a gamer who doesn't avidly play twin-stick zombie shooters, I'm quite impressed with ZombieGeddon's overall gameplay. It provides hours of entertainment that not only focuses on surviving but is action-packed to the brim.

Strategically fight your way through hordes of undead monsters that get progressively harder as players move on, wield an impressive arsenal of weaponry, and play with up to four players in local co-op mode to maximize the zombie onslaught action.

Gyroball 80 MSP
This Xbox Indie action puzzler brings gamers back to the classic retro 2D graphics that we've all grown up with while also introducing three-dimensional concepts that set it apart from older titles. Gyroball is a fresh and very creative game that focuses on reaction timing as strategy to provide gamers with a fun and original title that can be replayed over and over.

XBLIV Rating -
Xbox Marketplace URL - Gyroball
Developer - Eccentric Duck
Genre - Racing & Flying

Gyroball is a very unique Indie that has fun visuals that appear to be linear vectors that form three-dimensional paths for gamers to follow. At heart, the title is a racing game that incorporates puzzler concepts in that gamers must think on their feet and make strategic decisions in order to complete certain stages. The game is a fun-filled Indie that brings gamers back to the classic days of gaming through it's unique dynamics and provides an experience that is hard to find in most Xbox Indies.

The Hearts of Men 80 MSP
This top-down adventure title has been in development by Coltran Studios for months, and watching the title flourish from an idea and concept art to a full-fledged Xbox Indie is quite an experience. This game is a four-player local co-op title similar to games like Gauntlet, as each player can pick their own character that has unique abilities.

 The Hearts of Men
XBLIV Rating -
Xbox Marketplace URL - The Hearts of Men
Developer - misterjz (Coltran Studios)
Genre - Classics

Utilizing fantastic comic-style artwork and great visuals, The Hearts of Men offers a unique Indie experience that isn't offered in most games. As far as game mechanics go, players must cross dangerous dungeon stages and collect items such as potions and keys to unlock doors, all the while slaying enemies. Games can choose from four characters--the Warrior, Elf, Warlock and Viking, each of which has their own unique normal and special attacks. This game is a great buy for all adventure fans everywhere.

That wraps up our second iteration of The XBL Indieverse's New Releases article. For more information on these titles, be sure to visit the Xbox Live Marketplace URL's associated with each. I'm planning on releasing a Review for Wizard's Keep, Hearts of Men, and Gyroball so be sure to stay tuned!

--Deeke777 @ The XBL Indieverse
   The XBL Indieverse