The Best XBLIG New Releases for the Week of December 18

Nothing brings out the best in indie developers like over-commercialized religious holidays, and this week’s crop doesn’t disappoint. We have Santa simulators, Christmas card generators, and of course, an Avatar Christmas game. Strap on your stockings; this is going to be fun.

Armless Octopus Bloody Stump Award for Indie of the Week

Alien Jelly – Mike

It’s pretty easy to see why Alien Jelly was a Dream.Build.Play finalist as the game exudes an uncharacteristic level of polish not seen in most other XBLIGs. It’s a puzzle game with a set up somewhat similar to Ilomilo where you navigate along floating roads on a 3D landscape. The objective is to collect as many shiny objects as possible with the aliens and get them back to their ship. You can also utilize a time-reversal mechanic that allows you to turn back time, but keep whatever objects you collected. This allows you to fall off a cliff, collect some objects, and then reverse time back tow hen you were on top of the ledge.

We Recommend

Game Type – Mike

Game Type is both a parody of the new Xbox Dashboard and pretty fun side-scrolling shooter. The game launches into a faux dashboard that is absolutely littered with sarcastic ads, and finding the game to play is just as challenging as it is to find where to buy games on the new dashboard. The shooter itself is a pretty standard side-scrolling shmup, except you play as the girl from the “Game Type” tile on the dashboard and fight against endless hordes of the fake characters from the ads. Neither element is enough to really hold your attention for too long, but the total package is definitely worth your time.


Lexiv
– Taylor

I expected Lexiv to be a scrabble clone, but I was in for a surprise. That’s not to say I didn’t feel like was playing Scrabble, but the really heavy gameplay elements of Sim City on the game washes that away. This is a really neat game worth taking a look at.

 

Attack of the Zombie Horde – Mike

I’ve definitely voiced my opinion about generic twin-stick zombie shooters, but Attack of the Zombie Horde does the bare minimum to escape from the moaning mob. The game starts off with a nice comic book-style story that sets up the premise, and the graphics and sound effects are top notch. Fallen zombies remain in the snow, which also becomes a magnet for blood smears. There’s also a nice variety of weapons to purchase in between rounds. Unfortunately, it seems as if the entire game will be spent defending the same piece of land from zombies that attack from the perimeter.


Starzzle Seasons
– Mike

Starzzle Season is the Christmas-themed sequel of sorts to the original Starzzle, which I quite enjoyed earlier this year. It’s a cool puzzle game where you have to collect as many stars as possible within grid-based levels. What makes the game challenging is that the little monster you control propels itself across the screen and doesn’t stop until it runs into an object, so you have to guide it carefully around the level. You can also control a second critter that serves as a barrier to set up new paths for the first one. It’s a cool game, but this update doesn’t seem to add anything other than some annoying snowflakes. I’d probably recommend the original over this.

Merry Match3 Christmas – Dylan

Do you feel a lack of holiday spirit when playing Bejeweled? Look no further! The game’s title might be generic, but at the cost of 80 MS points, it’s currently one of the cheapest and best solutions to getting your “jewel on.” Unfortunately, there is only one mode of play (time trial), but the game functions well and the presentation is clean.



Absolute Firepower
– Mike

I wasn’t expecting much considering that the super generic title was actually misspelled on the Marketplace, but I was a bit surprised at the complexity and detail present in this twin-stick shooter. The game plops you in a level filled with buildings, roads and trees, and you have to walk around and collect keys to unlock new areas instead of standing in a barren landscape awaiting death. The cartoony graphics also kind of reminded me of General Chaos.

Other Releases

The Mysterious Adventures of Michael – Mike – If there was a Venn Diagram of people who enjoy Super Mario Brothers and adorable Teddy bears, those people who fall in the middle should play this game. But only if they like floaty controls.

Starship Slots – Dave – It’s slots. In 3D. Skip.

Playing in Traffic – Taylor – And here I thought I was the only one who wondered what Frogger would be like if you made it with a sarcastic safety pig as the main character. Found the answer though, pretty boring.

Card CreatorXmas – Mike – It’s already a bit obsolete unless you want to get a head start on next year’s electronic cards where your friends have to type in long strings of case-sensitive digits to retrieve their designs.

Avatar Gold Grab X-mas Version – Dylan – It’s almost like a mini-game you’d have fun playing in a Mario Party game, but without that context it’s severely boring and it has a lazy presentation. Best to skip over this one.

Fierce Game Hunting – Dave – It’s like Big Buck Hunter, you know, that shooting game you see in the bar, except there are only two vision modes: zoomed, and really zoomed.

Flirt – Taylor – It’s an Xbox indie game for finding singles. Wonder how well this will turn out. I’d describe my experience with it, but you can’t do anything without the full game.

EchoSpace – Mike – EchoSpace is a vertically-scrolling shooter where you control two pods that are attached by a tether. Instead of shooting the enemies, you try and use the tether to destroy them. You do this by moving each pod with one of the two sticks. Controlling both objects on the screen at once was a bit too much for my brain, so while I applaud EchoSpace for trying something new, the execution wasn’t all that much fun.

NomNoms – Dave – The time expired before I had a good grasp of what was going on, but I even so, I couldn’t recommend it. It had elements of an RTS, where you are constructing buildings and leading villagers (followers?) to safety. It does look pretty though!

Santa Sleigh Sling – Mike – You play as Santa delivering presents, but every bird and helicopter on the planet has made it their sole mission in life to ruin Christmas for millions of kids. Terrible controls and frustrating one-hit kills make this one to skip.

Homeless – Mike – I had the unfortunate misfortune of buying this game by accident instead of just downloading the demo. The entire game consists of waiting for people to walk by and hitting the A button to beg them for money while listening to a rambling man talk about how things used to be and what he’ll do with the cash. It’s about as much fun as watching load screens.

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Posted on by Mike Wall in Features

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.

  • http://twitter.com/AlanWithTea Alan Charlesworth

    Lexiv seems really interesting, and I’ve been waiting (during my internetless exile with family over Christmas) to check it out. Absolute Firepower did nothing to grab my attention, but the way you’ve described it sounds appealing. That might be my next trial download.