Freakin’ Indies — 10/1 – 10/7

Yet another blissfully small week. I hope this is the new norm, because I think I’m starting to get a little spoiled. Anyway, there were a couple of decent games this week, one that’s actually rather cool, and one that marks the absolute worst trial I’ve ever trialed before. Seriously, I get that you don’t want people to be able to play the full game for free so that you can make a bit of money off of your game. But to have the trial consist of nothing more than a single static screen? Something like that makes me start to question the mental abilities of those involved. Enough complaints out of me. Let’s get to this week’s indie games.

Pixelosity

- 80 points — GLHF Games -

Pixelosity is a retro-themed, side-scrolling shmup that keeps it simple. The few power-ups available are very effective but fleeting. Emphasis is less on enemy variety and more on attack patterns. And it’s all about the score. All of that is wrapped in an extremely retro package, with pixel graphics that wouldn’t look out of place in the Atari era of video games and a chiptune soundtrack that seems as though it might be affected by the way you play (similar to Rez).

SteamSunk

- 80 points — Snape -

Ah, another twin-stick shooter. The camera is a bit too close to the action, but SteamSunk is a pretty solid entry to the genre. The map is full of obstacles which will force players to keep a sharp eye, and the power-ups are… well, powerful. It’s certainly a well made game, but can’t really think of a specific aspect that makes SteamSunk stand out among the crowd. Other than the steampunkishness that is.

Mega Shooter 11

- 240 points — infiniteplay -

I have to say, I wasn’t all that impressed with Mega Shooter 11 at first. This probably has something to do with the way menu selections lag so severely that I thought the game had crashed on more than one occasion. Fortunately I kept at it, because it’s actually a pretty cool game. Think the side-scrolling shooting of something like R-Type, combined with the exploration and equipment upgrades of Metroid. Yup, I pulled out the M word. Hard to go wrong with that, right?

There Will Be Brains

- 80 points — DavidParker -

I hate to have to be brutally honest when a game seems to be a labor of love, but I’m gonna do it anyway. There Will Be Brains is a zombie wave defense style game (complete with barricades) that… well, it’s not bad… just kind of dull. There are only two zombie types that I’ve seen (pale emo zombies and running pale emo zombies). The animations aren’t awkward, but they lack any real kind of “pop.” Forgive the terminology, but they’re lifeless. I’ve also noticed that the text for “cutscenes” doesn’t fit the screen right, so entire words or parts of them get cut off. And while I like having a good selection of upgradable weapons to purchase between rounds, not getting any sort of description about them until after I’ve already bought them sucks. It’s certainly got a great visual style to it, but I think most of the other elements need more refinement.

FITS-Fishing in the sea

- 240 points — LuckySoft -

I don’t entirely know what to make of FITS-Fishing in the sea. It’s got a crappy title, looks like it was thrown together using images clipped from a newspaper circular, and the entire game is played using just the A button. And yet, in an odd way I found myself wanting to catch more fish. This probably has more to do with my general avoidance of the angler genre. I imagine someone who’s actually into this stuff would totally scoff at this game. I dunno, I suppose it’s worth a look for curiosity’s sake maybe?

Spell Master

- 240 points — Richard Mould -

This is another one I’m kind of lost on. It looks like an older isometric RPG from the 90’s but plays more like a twin-stick shooter. With quests. I think it’s worth a look, but it should be known that Spell Master is more than a little rough around the edges. The character, monsters and even action are almost excruciatingly slow, for one thing. I’m also a little put off by the inaccurate right stick, which doesn’t seem to utilize analog and leads to a whole lot of misses.

The $1 Zombie Game

- 80 points — rmm5 -

Well, the title kind of says it all. The $1 Zombie Game is a zombie game. That costs a dollar. It’s certainly not the worst zombie game (or game in general) on Xbox Live, but it just isn’t very compelling. The primary/secondary weapon loadouts change from day-to-day, nothing can be earned or upgraded, jumping and crouching seem to be completely pointless and it’s just the same map over and over. I will say this: it’s pretty funny to watch the zombies go flying (seriously, like half a block) when they get blasted with the shotgun.

Wirral Railway & Garden Plants

- 80 points — JB Marius-Sheridan -

Wow. Wirral Railway & Garden Plants may just be the absolute worst indie trial I’ve ever experienced on Xbox Live. It’s so bad, I can’t even do anything. I’m serious, I can’t do anything. There’s just a black screen with some text on it that I can read and that’s it. If I try to go to the next page or whatever, the Buy screen pops up. I can’t do anything else but read the screen, exit or buy this “game” that I can only assume is nothing more than a glorified info app. How this abomination made it through peer review I’ll never know, but it makes me question just who “reviewed” it in the first place.

Flight Adventure 2

- 240 points — CAVOK Games -

Flight Adventure 2 is just as capable a flight sim as the original. It doesn’t feature lots of planes and the graphics aren’t as “wow” as Microsoft’s official rendition, but it’s way better than I think anyone would expect it to be. Granted, I’m not big into flight simulation. However, I can certainly appreciate the care and detail that’s gone into this game, as well as the (comparatively speaking) massive map to fly around in. The various forms of stress the plane can endure are a nice touch, too. Specifically, I’m referring to my attempt to land. I apparently did something very, very wrong because when I attempted to lower my flaps they actually broke off mid-flight. I didn’t land successfully. But that’s the kind of crazy detail I can get behind.

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