While the recent Dashboard Update has infuriated some developers by relegating the Indie Games to the “Specialty Store,” section – sandwiched in between the Avatar Marketplace and Game Room – it’s not all doom and gloom for the indie scene. While the new placement of the store has stolen most of the limelight, the good news is that the “Top Downloaded “ and “New Releases” lists have been expanded from 20 titles to 50. In addition, games are now sortable by rating within each genre, making it possible to browse the highest-ranked RPGs or action games.
Developers are understandably mixed in their enthusiasm about the updates, but many feel that it’s just one more slight against the community that often feels as if it’s ignored by Microsoft.
“I’m frustrated to see Indie Games misplaced on the dashboard. I know there are a lot of gamers who haven’t heard of Indie Games and haven’t been before. Not grouping them next to games seems counter intuitive,” said Nathan Fouts (Shoot 1UP,Explosionade).
It’s me, Indie Games, and I think we need to have a little talk about our relationship. This new Dashboard Update has really put a strain on things, you know?
I mean, sure. Now you can search for specific titles in Netflix, and I’m sure it’s great that ESPN3 is on there now (except for those people who are with providers who don’t carry that, or providers who do but demand a cable subscription before those users can use it). And it’s awesome how the new update has actually made the system run much more smoothly. Old consoles that were having long waits when booting up a game or even when powering on are doing much better now! I’m sure people who are getting onboard with Kinect are really happy with those features, too.
But what about me, Microsoft? It was bad enough before, where I had almost no exposure to begin with. But now you’ve got me buried inside a brand new “Specialty Shops” sub-menu? It’s just doesn’t sit right. How about a nice tab in the Game Marketplace, just for me? Can’t I at least hang out with my big XBLA siblings? That wouldn’t be so difficult. A nice “Top Indie Games” panel, kind of like the tab Kinect has? Kinect is probably a cool person too, but I’ve been with you a lot longer than he has. There are tons of talented people working to make new indie titles all the time, and they’re paying for the opportunity to do so.
I’m not trying to be mean here Microsoft, but in order for any relationship to work there has to be communication and it kind of feels like you’re shutting me out.
I’m not asking for much. Just a little love for me, Indie Games.
Unless you actually are a sleepwalker, you have probably never been strolling on an elevated girder in you pajamas. In Debreuil Digital Works’ game for XBLIG you get to do just that as you guide your late-night hiker back to his bed. Along with a healthy dose of trampolines, you will use switches, gates, moving beams,and teleporters to get your sleeper tucked in. You only need the A button to change directions to get around and avoid obstacles.
The game includes six tutorial levels to let you get used to your nocturnal mission before ramping up the difficulty. The trickiest part of the game for me was getting used to the “slide” mechanic that your unconscious pacer performs with each turn. It’s as if your drowsy dude is traipsing about on ice. I found this challenging, but not overly frustrating as I never felt like I was stuck or unable to control my guy. Read more
The gang celebrates 25 episodes by discussing Fable 3 and Fallout: New Vegas, along with indie titles such as Get Rich or Die Gaming, Spatial-Rift, Flotilla and Radiangames Fluid. Phones were the topic of the week, with leaked info about a PSP phone, as well as lots of Windows Phone 7 chatter. Also, learn about Dave Voyles’ cunning plan to steal Halloween from everyone. Also, you could win Left 4 Dead 2 (PC/Mac), but you have to listen to the podcast to find out how!
Turn out the lights, crank up the volume and get ready to point and click like it’s 1995. Shining Gate Software has unveiled a trailer for the upcoming third segment of their episodic creep-fest, Decay. Although admittedly the new trailer doesn’t reveal a heck of a whole lot, it does convey the foreboding gloom that makes the series so eerily delightful. We also catch a glimpse of what could be a certain serial killer who has been looming in the background of the mythology. Hopefully some questions will be answered this November when the third chapter arrives.
Floating through the darkness of space, my eyes are quickly blinded by the devastating light of the glowing sun as I venture past a floating asteroid. I am enamored by the blistering solar flares which escape the surface and quickly return. I glance to the right only to see enemy ships headed in my direction – an attempt to guard the green rift in space which spawns reinforcements.
Part triple-A title, part arcade hit, Spatial-Rift has players blasting away at voids in space along with enemy ships while your allies fly at your side. This is another participant of Microsoft’s Dream-Build-Play Competition. For an indie title, Spatial-Rift is a graphical tour-de-force. Immediately I believed the game looked impressive enough to be a retail title. On the first two stages, players fly around an enormous sun with constantly erupting solar flares that force a large glare upon the screen when viewed head-on. Furthermore, solar bursts that need to be avoided are shot in your direction in addition to flanking enemy ships. This is without a doubt one of the most graphically impressive indie titles on Xbox Live.
I have to say I was a little excited to try out a playing card game on XBLIG. It turns out that Didgery isn’t so much of a card game as it’s a chain building game with cards. I mostly felt like I was playing some Bejeweled clone only with a slightly tweaked gameplay. The game space consists of a five-across and four-high grid of playing cards in the center with a stack of remaining cards on the left and the suit meters on the right. Your goal is to refill these continuously draining meters by building chains of cards. As you clear each card from the board you refill that suit’s meter.
The chain building rules are fairly simple: you may start with any card on the board and move to either any card of the same face value of any suit or a lower value card of the same suit. This simple gameplay makes decision making easy but most strategies are too time consuming to be efficient. I found that the most effective move was creating an explosion by linking a chain of six or more that also destroys the cards around the final card. The game also has a cards that help you make longer chains with unique special abilities.
Erron Kelly, Dylan Martin Dave Voyles, and Taylor Bliss discuss Microsoft throwing a billion dollars at Windows Phone 7 & Kinect, the NES’s 25th birthday bonanza, Steam’s 30 million loyal users and someone who plays way too many games. Speaking of which, they’ve been playing Angry Birds, Shoot 1UP, Sonic 4 and of course, StarCraft II.