The Best XBLIG New Releases for the Week of October 30

Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together… mass hysteria!  The seemingly impossible has become a reality: we are actually recommending a Silver Dollar Games title. In all fairness, it’s still not very good, and it’s certainly not close to the best title of the week (which came down to a heated battle between DLC Quest and Escape Goat). But the fact that it’s actually a game with an objective beyond pushing buttons to get still images of girls to flirt with you or swatting a cat’s  paw away from a bowl of milk is a good sign. Perhaps things are a changin’ for those Silver Dollar folks?

Pick of the Week

Escape Goat - Dan

With a great retro presentation and well-crafted puzzle design, this game is a MUST try for all Xbox Live Indie Game enthusiasts. Escape Goat features classic 16-bit visuals, a great chiptune soundtrack and a more than adequate amount charm, so what’s not to love for the paltry sum of $3?

We Recommend

DLC Quest – Mike

Skip the demo and just shell out the dollar to play this game. DLC Quest is an absolute delight to play, with a charming, googly-eyed hero, a very self-aware sense of humor and a really catchy soundtrack. It’s not very challenging, but it sure is a lot of fun. Plus, it’s got zombies. You still love zombies, right? We’ll have a full review shortly.

Avatar Chess – Mike

I’m pretty sure you can figure out if this game is from you right from the title. It’s chess all right. Playing against the computer feels a little strange because it makes its moves so quickly that it can be a bit difficult to even see what it did. It’s nothing groundbreaking, but it gets the nod because it has online multiplayer.

Flowrider – Dave

Triple B games manages to constantly deliver something completely different with each of their releases. This continues to follow that trend, and it’s racer which offers a RC Pro-Am feel to it. A very distinct cel-shaded art style contrasts well with the techno-rock inspired soundtrack and visually impressive menus. I can see the camera becoming cumbersome at times, and there is really no way to tell when my boost was available for use again, but despite these flaws, this one certainly deserves 8 minutes of your time.

Sins of the Flesh – Dave

It’s a Silver Dollar Games game, and not necessarily a bad one, but it’s just not very much fun. You play as a man caught in the afterlife, slowly walking through a well-drawn, black-and-white background, which is appealing to the eye, as you use the twin-sticks to fire off projectiles at demons attempting to pull you off screen. The voice work is top notch and creates a creepy atmosphere along with the excellent opening sound effects, and it’s worth a trial for that alone. Unfortunately, it is very slow moving, and just not much fun to play.

Zombusters – Taylor

It’s a top-down, twin-stick shooter with something original to offer. The visual style has a really pleasant retro style but incorporates some technical stuff that wouldn’t have been possible in the 16- bit era. The combat system is really rewarding, with a scrolling damage counters always showing how much pain you’re inflicting. The demo is worth your time.

World Wars II - Dan

This was a difficult one to judge. There are multiple units to command and a potential for real depth, but a poorly design tutorial and a lack of in-game production values hold this title back. That being said, it might be rather appealing for small percentage of the XBLIG market, so World Wars II gets meager “try.”

Devilsong – Mike

Devilsong is a no-nonsense space shooter with some fast-paced action. There are plenty of options for customizing your match and the graphics – particularly the space backdrops – are fantastic. The full version touts online multiplayer, and while it was unavailable in the demo, it’s the kind of feature that could help this gather a following. It’s not exactly original, but it’s pretty solid.

Other Releases

Bub Block – Mike – I wasn’t able to really give this the proper test run since it’s a multiplayer-only game with no AI. It’s a top-down game where you lay down bricks to try and trap other players so they can be shredded by spinning blades. It could be fun if you have friends around, but it also has some atrocious graphics.

Moe Mekuri 2.5 – Taylor – This is a really simple puzzle game mainly built as an excuse to unlock scantily clad, albeit well-drawn, anime-style characters.

Starcatcher – Dave – The premise is simple – bounce from star to star like a pinball. The backgrounds are colorful and busy, and the controls themselves match the fun gameplay which, could almost be considered a puzzler due to the strategy involved on some later levels. Unfortunately the demo ends after about two minutes – just when the puzzles are getting interesting. I couldn’t read why the game had ended because the font clashes horribly with the background. Finally, there’s a spelling error in the instructions.

Claustrophobia – Taylor – It’s another top-down, twin-stick shooter. Need I say more?

Pumpkin Smasher – Dan – It took a total of 45 seconds to dredge through this Angry Birds wannabe. With no audio, poor visuals and lack of…you know…fun, this title should be avoided.

3D Pixel Art Studio – Mike – This is basically a game of blocks where you can create objects out of cubes and paint them different colors. I’m not really sure what the purpose is other than providing a sandbox of sorts. I’d rather play with real blocks.

Moon Miner – Taylor – This is very reminiscent of Gem Total Miner with the exception that the gameplay isn’t as deep. You’re drilling into the moon for resources while managing your oxygen and fuel. The fuel doesn’t quite last long enough, and while there are upgrades, there isn’t the variety of items available that would help make the game a bit more interesting.

Bobby – Dan – The player-character is already somewhat difficult to control, but when the developers throw in magnets and other hazards it makes this game a rather frustrating experience. Tunes are good though.

RE: Get to Schol On Time – Erron - Another GHXYK2 ‘game.’ Somebody needs to find this guy and break his hands.

Waif of a Back Alley – Erron - It’s some kind of text-based, fully voiced-acted interactive novel/RPG. Are you in to that sorta thing? Can you speak or read a lick of Japanese? Do you want your RPG battles based around random number generators? Maybe check it out, I guess. If none of that sounds good, give this a big ole’ pass.

Catsaber – Erron - It’s exactly what it sounds like. You hold A to make a light saber pop out of a cat’s head. You use the bumpers to spin in a circle. You move around a grid and blow up shapes that shoot at you. I guess it’s like that really bad training scene with Luke and the floating orb?

StarBeam - Dave - In this generic side-scrolling shooter, you pilot a ship through a moon-like colony, blasting UFOs along the way. The looping 30-second music track is about as repetitive as the bland background and enemies. It’s another title which suffers from not enough playtesting in the “fun” area and needs a bit more work before it hit the market, such as more backgrounds and music.

Jawsome – Erron - I was hoping this game would be as jawsome as promised. Not so. It’s like a cruel mockery of what you want in a shark game. The water is invisible, the water’s surface makes a metal ‘thud’ when you try and break surface. Your shark doesn’t move like a shark, and can go backwards. And you collect food cans. Thank god real sharks only play Modern Warfare, cause they’d be piiiissed.

Posted on by Mike Wall in Features, xblig

About Mike Wall

Mike grew up and lives near Philadelphia and has been intrigued with games ever since his parents preached that they rotted his brain. He studied journalism at Penn State and got his master's degree in secondary education before realizing that not even summers off would make that job palatable. He now works in marketing and is trying to find time to continue writing a book about zombies, aliens, vampires, the end of the world, and a talking cat.