You know it’s a good week when more than half of the new releases leave a lasting impression, which basically makes this the best week of indies of the whole year. There’s a lot of variety in the new releases from board games to 2D platformers to party games, but pretty much everyone should be able to find something they like with this lineup.
Armless Octopus Bloody Tentacle Award of the Week
Super Ninja Warrior Extreme – Dave
Despite its simplistic 8-bit appearance, this game offers quite a bit in the form of precise controls. Your actions are recognized instantly, and your character moves gracefully as he slices and dices his way through enemies and avoids obstacles. An absolute must try, if not immediate buy. You can also check out our full review for more info.
Spoids – Dave
Outstanding prsentation, as everything I experienced was filled with voice-overs and a sharp introduction. Essentially it is a tower defense game, but done extremely well. If you’re a fan of the genre, or considering making one, then this is the title to pick up on XBLIG. Highly recommended.
The Hearts of Men: TOD – Mike
This is an ambitious remake of Gauntlet that is actually the non-sequel follow-up to a game released last year. The Hearts of Men is obviously built for multiplayer, so it’s difficult to really give it a fair shake on the single player modes only. The twin-stick controls fit the Gauntlet format well, but the environments and enemies are definitely on the bland side. A nice comic book intro helped sell the world though. The inclusion of online multiplayer is a huge bonus since it’s hard to imagine playing this one solo.
Well, you can pretty much ignore this recommendation if you have no friends who are willing to come by and pick up a controller, but if you aren’t completely anti-social, you’ll probably find something here to enjoy. Five or six of the games 20 games were playable in the demo, and although the individual results did vary, they were of a higher quality than you might expect from such a package. The RC Pro-Am-inspired racer seemed like it could be fun with more people, and the twin-stick shooter was better than a lot of dedicated releases. Don’t expect anything epic, but if you have some buddies around, give it a shot.
Raptor Resort – Mike
Okay, I do need to preface this recommendation with one disclaimer: Raptor Resort is not a very good game. You can check out Anthony’s review of the full game to find out about the many ways that this game is busted, and he’s not wrong about them. But with all of that being said, shooting dinosaurs in the face with a magnum is pretty awesome. The dinosaurs explode like they swallowed sticks of dynamite, and the music is pretty sweet. I’m not saying this game is worth buying or anything, but it’s probably worth a free demo just to satisfy your bloodlust.
Spectrangle360 – Mike
This reminds me of a board game that I feel like I must have played in another world. It’s a tile-based game where the board is shaped like a triangle that is divided into smaller triangles. The two players take turn laying triangle tiles that have different colors on each side, and you have to lay your pieces so that the colors align. There are different score bonuses on the board like in Scrabble, and other multipliers. It’s easy to grasp, but has a good deal of strategy to it as well.
Racing Wings – Dave
This is a neat little flying game which has you navigating your ship through beacons while collecting coins. As you progress you can upgrade your plane and unlock new stages, so I can see a bit of replayability here.
ZombieRun – Mike – Wow. Okay, so this could be a pretty good game, but it’s really impossible to tell from the demo. It is a zombie card game with online multiplayer support, but the tutorial doesn’t use any examples of the cards to illustrate what it’s talking about, and I couldn’t figure much out by playing the game.
Red Hot Poker – Mike – This is basically Poker meets Tetris. That might not be a winning combination, but it doesn’t help that the production values are horrendous, and it doesn’t even show you what card will drop next.
Picture Puzzle – Mike – This is one of those games that you get from the dentist’s office where you rotate the pieces to try and create a puzzle. Definitely not what I want to do on my HD TV.
Hungry Snake – Dave – It is snake, on the Xbox.
Ogre’s Phantasm Sword Quest – Taylor – While boasting high production values, OPSQ has controls that are a bit on the sluggish slide. The sword swing just lacks oomph, and the character feels a bit slow. But if you want a hack and slash for 3 dollars, this will get the job done.
Music Island – Taylor – A simple rhythm-action game. Gets harder as you go. This isn’t anything you haven’t seen before, but it’s not bad.
The Houchi Play – Taylor – Become what you’ve always wanted, a masochistic otaku! But seriously, that’s the premise of the game. Sneak up on cosplaying girls and live your masochistic fantasies. It amounts to pressing the right and left triggers a lot. Pass on it.
Bit-Hacker – Taylor – This game is supposed to teach you how to be a hacker, I guess. In all honesty, I couldn’t really get a feel for what the game was going for, and instead just overloaded you with random information.