Freakin’ Indies — 9/10 – 9/16

This was quite the middling week. A whole bunch of “meh.” Not that it’s all bad stuff, although there were a couple, but none of it’s all that interesting or remarkable. Except for Dead Pixels, anyway. That game is freaking amazing. I’ll go into the details below, but suffice it to say this is one worth owning.

2D Math Panic

- 80 points — OnekSoft Games -

Little doodle-men with numbers on their chests are falling from the sky and you, as a doodle-space ship, have to catch them. The trick is that there’s a math problem at the top of the screen (1+1, etc…) and you can only grab the guys with the answer on them. 2D Math Panic is a cute idea for little kids learning math, but it’s probably not going to “wow” anyone outside of that decidedly narrow demographic.

Aron’s Journey in Dreamland

- 240 points — Meruvia Game Studio -

It might be fraught with spelling errors, and the way the main character has to sort of ramp up to top speed is a bit awkward, but Aron’s Journey in Dreamland is a decent adventure platformer. There’s some good variation to the world and the enemies, at least in the trial. It’s also pretty cool how Aron gains new abilities throughout the adventure. It’s a bit rough, but it’s worth a look.

Avatar Street Basketball 2

- 80 points — Bionic-Thumbs -

Eh… I’m admittedly not big on sports titles that don’t involve robots, mutants or some form of graphic violence. Even so, I can usually appreciate them when they’re fun. I have a harder time appreciating them when it’s nigh impossible to judge the distance to the basket, when the shot-strength meter is too obtuse and the menus kind of hurt to look at.

Street Survival

- 80 points –¬†steveo0209 -

Street Survival is a pretty good example of what a lot of people think of when then think about Xbox Live indie games. That is to say, it’s kinda ugly, plays badly and makes absolutely no sense. I mean really, the main character is way too big and the hit-detection is way off. It makes avoiding the… angry… cars? Well it makes them really tough to avoid. This one’s just… ugh.

GET TO THA CHOPPA TWOOO!!2

- 80 points — SO SO DEV Games -

Now, I really enjoyed the original GET TO THA CHOPPA!!, and even jumped at the chance to play the iOS adaptation. The problem with this sequel is that it’s barely any different from the first one. Granted, a lot of the “new content” is indeed new to those who haven’t played the iPhone version, but even then there’s barely anything different about it. Jump, slide and shoot. Avoid zombies. Press Y to trigger a special power-up when it appears. Oh, and play as a “hot chick.” Aside from the crudely-drawn, scantily-clad woman and the occasional power-up, it’s the same as it always was. Which isn’t bad if you’ve never played the original or the iOS version, but kind of pointless if you have.

Avalis Dungeon 2

- 240 points — Team Shuriken -

Oh goody. A sequel to one of the most irritatingly dull “RPG”s on the marketplace. Just like the original game/first chapter, all you do in Avalis Dungeon 2 is move down a predetermined path until you get to an encounter. Then you pick one of three options, fail or succeed and move on. Nothing is random and the branching paths (when they do branch) all lead to the same areas. Sure it looks pretty, but there’s almost nothing to it. Pass.

Strategic Combat

- 80 points –¬†All-templates.biz -

I enjoy a good game of chess, and I love Battle Chess, so it would stand to reason that I’d need a change of underwear when presented with something akin to Battle Chess where you actually control the pieces during the fight for square possession, right? Yeah, no. The problem with Strategic Combat, aside from being almost downright offensive visually, is that the controls for controlling these chess piece vehicles are absolutely absurd. Good idea, but not so good execution.

GOOLIN

- 80 points — LuckySoft -

GOOLIN may look neat based on the “cover,” but don’t be fooled. It’s terrible. It’s a one-button game that’s about as odd as it is pointless, and it’s not odd in the good way, either. Press A to make a gymnast jump, press A again to make him somersault in the air (to change his trajectory) and land him in the cockpit of a jet of some kind. Then press A to make the jet climb, and keep pressing it so that you guide it around the giant decapitated robot. The overall point is to fly the ship directly over the robot so that it turns into the metal monster’s head and lands on it’s neck-stump. I wish like crazy I were making all of this up. I wish even more that I didn’t have to experience this first-hand.

Figure 8 Racing

- 80 points — DennisMac -

Figure 8 Racing is a sort of no-holds-barred demolition derby kind of racing game that would look pretty good if everything didn’t appear completely smushed. I’m serious, the entire game looks like someone sat on it somehow. That said, it’s surprisingly fun to mess around with this little oddity by adjusting the gravity and just driving around causing trouble. It might be rough and kind of unsightly, but damned if it’s not funny to watch a car spin around on its back end like a top on a sugar buzz.

Balls N Walls

- 80 points — David Tse -

Remember those games from forever-ago where you had to section off areas by creating a line, while simultaneously not getting said line touched by some kind of object bouncing all over the place? You probably do. Well Balls N Walls is that, with an extra game mode thrown in. So now you can either try to strategically place walls to take over a significant chunk of the play field, or you can attempt to separate the bouncing balls in as few moves as possible. Yay?

President John America

- 240 points — Maverick Games -

I get the impression that Maverick Games put a lot of effort and love into President John America (Saves America), but sometimes a developer just needs to take a step back and let someone else take a look at what they’ve got. I’m thinking that may not have happened here, as this national debt-clearing, goods-trading sim is incredibly difficult to actually play. The UI is a mess, the screen is too busy, the controls and menus are way too convoluted and doing anything requires a bit too much “work.” I think a bit more play-testing and perhaps some streamlining would do this one lots of good.

SEncounter

- 80 points — WSBSoftware -

As far as first-person shooters on Xbox Live indie games go, I’ve played worse than SEncounter. This isn’t saying too much, sadly. It’s almost every bit as rough and unsightly as most others. The only real difference is that the guns are at least somewhat useful. Aside from that, it just feels sluggish and unpolished. The bullets take a bit too long to reach their target, enemies see you and shoot at you (and hit you) when they’re still just a tiny speck on the screen and reloading takes waaaaaaay too long. I’m thinking you wouldn’t be missing much by avoiding this one.

Call Me

- 80 points — Utopioneer Games -

Oh look, another indie game involving “talking” to “girls” and getting rated on your “success.” Huzzah… I suppose this is a genre that’s never going to go away, so I should make peace with it, but the least it could do is throw something my way that isn’t the mutant love-child of Under-Sexed and Creepy. Also: creepy Poser model faces are creepy.

Dead Pixels

- 80 points — CantStrafeRight -

I enjoy zombie games and I enjoy 8-bit aesthetics, so I was quite interested to try Dead Pixels when I saw it appear on the marketplace. I have to say, while I enjoy both these things I don’t enjoy having bugs fly in my mouth because I keep leaving it hanging open. You see, this is one hell of an awesome game. The grindhouse-style visuals are fantastic and the chiptune soundtrack is wonderful. The controls work quite well and it’s fun to run around blasting zombies. However, what totally blew my mind was the realization that this is basically something like a grindhouse River City Ransom with zombies.

Allow me to repeat myself: A grindhouse River City Ransom with zombies.

This is what it’s all about, people.

A Pimp RPG

- 80 points — HobbiSoft -

You know, as badly put-together as A Pimp RPG appears to be, I have to admit it’s a lot more functional than I originally expected. Players control a pimp as he goes about his pimp-ly business, equipping him with shivs and recruiting hos into his party for support. And possibly sex. Anyway, there’s a surprisingly decent RPG framework hiding underneath all the horrific character models, tactless humor and awkward animations. Whether or not that’s worth checking out depends entirely on the individual. Personally, I think I have enough indie RPGs on my plate right now.

Angry Fish

- 80 points — Frozen Software -

Oh boy! We finally have a sequel to Fishcraft! The blatant Angry Birds clone with fish!

Yeah, no. I mean, it’s okay-ish aside from not getting a proper explanation as to what each fish’s special ability is, but it’s just Mad Avians with fish and cats instead of birds and pigs, respectively. I suppose if someone has no phone of any kind, seeing as that damn game is on everything now, this might be worth a look. However, it’s no substitute for the original. And I’m still not entirely sure how they can get away with the blatant copying. Not of the gameplay, but of the characters. Seriously, those fish look way too similar to their bird counterparts.

2 responses to “Freakin’ Indies — 9/10 – 9/16

  1. The reason A Pimp RPG works well is because they just copied and pasted all the source from a popular RPG Starter Kit on the xna website. It’s hugely annoying the similarities that show throughout the game but to cut it short it uses the EXACTLY same maps as the RPG Starter Kit, right down to where the NPC stand. Also most of the graphics that are actually decent in the game are stolen, unedited graphics from the RPG Starter Kit as well. Quest line is also exactly the same except the replacement from a troll to a gangster.

    Just Sayin.

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