As the month kicks off, one of the most consistent things I really want to do is have more chances to use the phrase “Rocktober”, but other than the chance to hook some people up with last week’s crop of solid indies and some exciting upcoming site features/contests, there’s nothing really “rocking” this week in the dark recesses of the XBLIG.
Unfortunately, we never hit the 100 followers I set out for the 1600 MSP card giveaway, even combining Facebook and Twitter. However! We’re damn close and I already set the code aside, so I’m going to go ahead and extend that particular offer into this week. Not only that, but regardless of whether or not we hit it this go-round, I’ll be handing it out anyway because I love you guys and I know you love us…or free stuff. It’s cool, we can share.
We don’t have any codes to give away this week, although other than our Catch of the Week, I’m not sure how much you’d want them. I couldn’t track down Pixelosity’s creators, so if you’re reading this and you made it (or know where I can get a hold of GLHF), drop us a line.
Thanks to Hurley and GLHF’s @Gorbear – one of our lucky followers this week will win a copy of Pixelosity. That’s it! That’s all you have to do to enter! Follow us and spread the love, bringing everyone closer to that sexy MSP card.
Catch of the Week_
Pixelosity – 80 (Hurley)
I don’t need much in terms of excitement for my side-scrolling shooters. Competent controls, enemies to shoot that aren’t braindead (but do follow a recognizable pattern, smiley face), a bullet hell to artfully escape from, some helpful powerups, high scores to shoot for and improve upon, and I’m generally good to go for at least a few hours fun.
Pixelosity provides this in a nice and tidy, 20-minute-per-playthrough package that’s less 8-bit styling and more Atari 2600 with a bit of BIT.TRIP (Ha! A funny!) thrown in also, with a degree of difficulty based entirely on reflexes, like it should be. It won’t win awards for longevity or it’s design (three enemy types across seven stages, which are just changing background colors), but I like it. A worthy time-waster.
(Nate) – I was promised “more cats” in the purchase screen but in my brief time with it (what can I say, I’m an easy sell on cats) – I couldn’t figure out how these cats factored in. This disappoints me but putting that aside, it’s a pretty fun shooter and it is by far the best thing to come out this week. It’s pretty simple though, even with the commitment to consistent visual theme, I’d rather see more options available besides leaderboards.
Speaking of which: they are online at least, which is a pretty big point in its favor. On the downside neither Hurley nor IndieGamerChick showed up in my list despite the fact I know both of them have played it. So…I’m not actually sure if this feature works.
Don’t let Kairi babysit your kids, or your puppy. Proof in her Pixelosity review.
Mega Shooter 11 – 240 (Hurley)
Judging from the box art, this is either anti-virus software or a game. Mega Shooter 11’s got ladies and powerups. Now that’s a campaign promise I can get behind. It’s got the retro look and sound, meaning dated for nostalgia’s sake, but it’s an awful slow crawl through the levels, and half the things fired at me I can’t seem to damage or avoid. I like the hidden rooms and warp points, and that every scientist you rescue carries an upgrade or new weapon to try out, yet I’m not wowed, and thus not entirely sold on it.
SteamSunk – 80 (Hurley)
SS is a top-down arena shooter set on water. It’s hard to get a feel for it beyond that initial conclusion, as you only get about two minutes of gamplay in before being pestered to buy it, with your only choice to purchase or go back to the menu to repeat the process after another few minutes. It plays alright, looks to have a nice assortment of weapons and powerups, but with the forced brevity of the trial, what exactly is supposed to entice prospective buyers to take the plunge after 120 seconds? What’s it got to hide?
Kairi, rumored to know all the words to every Justin Bieber song, ever, also reviewed this over at Indie Gamer Chick.
Lady, if they’re close enough to hit em’ with a sword, you’re in a bad shape.
There Will Be Brains – 80 (Nate)
There Will Be Review in full soon, but in the meantime, I will say TWBB is a game of missed potential. I like its creators, their sense of humor and the artwork in particular deserves mention but the incongruous graphic styles, music, pacing and ludicrously bad weapon balance make it a title that is worth watching but not quite ready for prime time. The fact that there is only one enemy type is an egregious oversight.
I know that they’re working on fixing some issues, adding more to the game and shaping it into a title worth wearing big girl pants, but in its current state it feels more like an early build than a full version.
The $1 Zombie Game – 80 (Hurley)
Full review forthcoming from me for Gear-o-ween.
…It’s the poor man’s Nazi Zombies, but it’s not bad for a wave shooter. Timely.
(Nate) Hurley’s kindness amazes me, mostly because I thought this was a god damn crime against humanity. When I can actually say a zombie game has terrible AI, well…it’s pretty damn sad. And what the hell is with that ski mask?
Spell Master – 240 (Nate)
Looks and pretty much plays like a PC Diablo-era game, only without any of the presentation of that debatably illustrious name. Gather weeds, mash em together, make spells. There’s quite a bit of effort that’s gone into the writing and spell-combinations, but the actual gameplay experience just isn’t that much fun. In addition, there’s almost no precision whatsoever to the aiming, since you can only shoot in the four basic directions and pure diagonals.
Try before you buy, definitely.
Flight Adventure 2 – 240 (Nate)
I’m going to be honest, the very first time I tried Flight Adventure 2, I spent the whole of the eight minute trial sitting on the ground, screwing around with all the controls, completely unable to get my plane to respond. I just sat there, moving my flaps, changing the camera, trying to shift gears, anything at all. It turns out that this is something of a flight simulator and in this respect at least, it perfectly simulated what would happen if you stuck me in the cockpit of a real plane.
I did end up buying in, finally getting off the ground on my second attempt. After flying around aimlessly for awhile, I have to admit it is rather fun once you do get it working, the graphics and draw distance are certainly impressive. However, when my friend Vance and I decided to take a shot with multiplayer, every attempt we made was met with errors or issues until the game finally gave up a Code 4 and kicked me back to the dashboard.
I’ll make a more earnest attempt later this week, but so far, this one has potential. The fact that it’s only one plane is a huge disappointment though.
Kairi Vice, who learned everything she knows about flying from a weekend of peyote and a long talk with a cinnamon bun, actually got the online working and had a lot more fun crashing into stuff than I did.
Caution: Content Sucks_
FITS – Fishing in the Sea – 240 (Nate)
I hope no one at Lucky Soft enjoys fishing, or coding games for that matter, because I’m going to break all of their fingers individually. I doubt any of them do anyway, because FITS is about the least fun you could possibly have with a virtual fishing game. It seems to have been saddled with an appropriate acronym, because it conjures to mind phrases like “fits of rage” but in all reality, there’s nothing to get particular angry about here. Fishing is already dull, and Lucky Soft managed to remove the closest thing to excitement you can experience while burning yourself to a crisp under the hot sun on a lake: actually reeling in the fish.
It’s one button to hook the fish, then it’s yours automatically.
If you must engage in virtual fishing, do yourself a favor: find a cheap copy of any of the Breath of Fire games (well, except Dragon Quarter) or hell, everyone owns at least one Zelda. How about Legend of the River King? Sega Bass Fishing just dropped on XBLA I believe.
The only thing this does that I haven’t seen elsewhere is multiplayer and if you make your friends play this, well…it’ll be back to single-player before too long.
Wirral Railway & Garden Plants – 80 (Nate)
A pointless random collection of information condensed into a poorly organized and designed series of pages that you are then quizzed over. This would be ugly on a geocities page in 1995 when everyone had skull gifs and an embedded midi of Bon Jovi’s Shot Through the Heart.
It’s physically painful to view with the unshielded eye now. Just absolutely, mind-numbingly stupid. This is not a game. This is not more useful, faster or in any way superior to a google search.
On a personal level: screw you, “JB Marius-Sheridan”
On an impersonal level: screw the peer review system for allowing this kind of crap to litter the marketplace. What the hell, guys?
Congrats to last week’s winners and keep an eye on things around the site: we’ve got some even better plans in the works, along with the Achievement Unachieveable promotion starting October 17th, in partnership with that psychotic matron patron of the market: the Indie Gamer Chick, as well as the always classy Two Fedoras and our curiously handicapped, but strangely effective undersea brethern at Armless Octopus.
See you guys next week!