twin-stick shooter

Review: SCHAR: Blue Shield Alliance

Posted on by Mike Wall in Reviews, xblig, XBLIG Reviews | Leave a comment

You could spin me around twenty times blindfolded and set me free on Xbox Live and I’d still manage to stumble across an indie twin-stick shooter. It’s pretty tough for indie shooters to really make a name for itself, and SCHAR: Blue Shield Alliance tries to set itself apart by focusing on cooperative missions, light RPG elements, and a pretty rich backstory. That means you’ll want to have some friends around for maximum enjoyment, but it’s still a competent shooter while flying solo.

SCHAR has a surprisingly detailed story for a twin-sick shooter, but it follows many of the typical sci-fi tropes that we’ve all seen before. Aliens have pushed humanity to the brink of extinction, but new Blue Shift technology has allowed them to turn the tide and possibly survive. Le yawn. Still, the frequent chatter of the characters and background information on the planets help sell the universe’s history and make the game feel more immersive.

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Compromised review: No concessions here, this one is good

Posted on by Dave Voyles in Reviews, xblig, XBLIG Reviews | Leave a comment

Twin-stick shooters are nothing new to the XBLIG Marketplace, but they generally get caught in the endless shuffle of titles that flood the platform unless they really stand out or showcase an exceptional level of polish. Fortunately Compromised delivers on both of these elements and proves to be well worth your time and money.

Naturally, a game’s visuals are the first thing that grabs most of our attention, and there was no disappointment here.  The aesthetic is a careful blend from a number of influences, but in the end work out to be a beautiful concoction. The dark art style and blown up hand drawn textures are reminiscent of the Dishwasher series on XBLA, while the green font used for narration is displayed in a manager similar to that of The Matrix. Smoke fills the background and menu screen, while the foreground is often subtly obfuscated by framing, as though you were peering through a destroyed glass ceiling overhead.
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Ashlands: Retribution now available on Microsoft’s Indie channel

Posted on by Anthony Swinnich in News, xblig, XBLIG News | Leave a comment

It’s not every day you’ll see excitement surrounding yet-another twin-stick shooter on the Xbox Live Indie Games channel, but entries into the genre usually don’t have the apparent level of polish Ashlands: Retribution seems to.

Retribution appears to take heavy inspiration from Housemarque’s Playstation Network standout Super Stardust HD. All action takes place on a gridded-sphere instead of a rectangular battlefield meaning that enemies and obstacles can come from all directions, even if you can’t see them.

Developer Ben Quintero told Armless Octopus that there is “a surprisingly deep leveling system without the confusion of classic RPG tropes.” There’s also leaderboard support and trophies for the competitive gamer. The best news is that you won’t have to wait to try it for yourself. Both the demo and the full game — which costs 240 Microsoft points ($3) — are available right now.

Robofish Review: Sea of Destruction

Posted on by Mike Wall in Reviews, XBLIG Reviews | 5 Comments

Not a week goes by where a new twin-stick shooter isn’t dumped into the ocean that is Xbox Live Indie Games. It’s almost cliché to even comment on the zombie-like hordes of them, but Robofish is a great example of a game that builds on the existing standards and really puts its own glowing, neon shine on the formula.

As perhaps you may have surmised, you play as a robot fish – a robofish if you will – that is intent on destroying a legion of neon fish. It’s pretty standard fare as far as the actual shooting is concerned, but a complex weapon customization workshop lets you outfit your robofish with all kinds of ways to eradicate those ferocious fish and helps this game grow some legs to stand on.
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Block Zombies! Review: Night of the Living Legos

Posted on by Mike Wall in Reviews, xblig, XBLIG Reviews | 2 Comments

Thanks, I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MBIES 1N IT!!!1. Thanks for your addictive gameplay. Thanks for your stupid, catchy song. Thanks for creating a template that countless mindless, shambling hordes of games have imitated, and shamelessly refused to improve upon. The twin-stick shooter may be the most prolific genre represented in Xbox Live Indie Games, but most are redundant experiences that aren’t even worth Microsoft’s server space. But every so often a game like Block Zombies! comes around, shuffles the pieces up just enough, and mixes in a few new wrinkles to come out with something that feels fresh and fun.

Yes, Block Zombies! is another zombie twin-stick shooter, and yes it apes the voxel style that Minecraft returned to the limelight, but you know what? It totally works. The game’s carefree visual style and upbeat tempo makes Block Zombies! an absolute delight to play. It’s like you’re a  kid wandering through a Lego playground that just so happens to be infested with cubical zombies who explode into tiny pieces when killed.

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Beat Hazard Ultra review: Feelin’ the beat

Posted on by Dave Schectman in PC, PC Reviews, PSN, Reviews | Leave a comment

Don't get sucked in the tractor beam

Over the past year, I’ve found myself venturing into indie gaming territory more and more often. It’s a refreshing change to see what a lone programmer or small company can do with an idea, especially compared to triple A titles made by large companies with multimillion dollar budgets. What’s more, when that idea is implemented well and allows some creativity the on part of the player, you’d best believe I’d be all over that like a junkie mainlining primo smack.

This brings me to the latest offering from Cold Beam Games: Beat Hazard Ultra. Before I go into the specifics of the game and my overall impressions, I have something to confess: when I picked up the original game last year, I was not impressed by it. The graphics were nice, and being able to control the soundtrack (and therefore also the difficulty) through my own personal soundtrack selection struck me as a pretty awesome concept. Compared to other music-based games like Audiosurf or Lumines, actively shooting whatever the song selection created was a hell of a lot more fun than matching colored blocks or screwing around with puzzle tiles.

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Astro Cluster goes nova with new trailer

Posted on by Taylor Bliss in News, xblig, XBLIG News | Leave a comment

The XBLIG scene is kind of littered with twin-stick shooters, and on an almost weekly basis there’s a new one in our weekly game round-up. That’s not to say that we here at Armless Octopus aren’t hopeful for a quality entry in the genre, which is why the trailer for the up-and-coming Astro Cluster caught our eye.

While there doesn’t appear to be much depth as far as story and single-player components go, the indie does sport 16-player online multiplayer – a rarity for XBLIGs – as well as a split-screen co-op mode. It also touts a custom soundtrack and a $1 (80 MS points) price tag. A well-supported competent multiplayer offering could be the factor that helps this shooter stand out from the crowd. The expected release date for the indie is June 3, barring a lack of peer reviews by that time.

Infinity Danger review: Delectable danger

Posted on by Mike Wall in Reviews, xblig, XBLIG Reviews | Leave a comment

so many lasers!

Considering that first experience with Milkstone Studios was the wretched Avatar Ninja, the videogame equivalent of clamping your hands in a vice, I didn’t exactly have the loftiest of expectations for Infinity Danger. So, I was delightfully surprised to discover that Infinity Danger is not only a pretty flashy looking twin-stick shooter, but it’s actually a pretty darned fun one as well.

The premise is to destroy as many increasingly complex mechanical bosses as possible before time expires, which really gave the game a fun arcade feeling. Destroying a boss yields a time bonus, while dying is accompanied by a penalty. The first few bosses had the defenses of a marshmallow and would have self-destructed had I just hurled verbal slanders at them, but as the opposing ships blossomed into metallic networks of rocket launchers and lasers, I realized it was best that I swallow my tongue and and get serious.

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