Reviews of Xbox, Xbox 360, XBLA and XBLIG games. My current focus is Xbox Indie Game Reviews.
Yeah, yeah. I know it’s not an indie game. I don’t really care. I’ve wanted to write a review on it for a while and I will do just that. Who’s running this site anyway? Yeah, I know it’s been out for almost a year on Xbox 360. I don’t care. Okay now that my argument with myself is done, lets get this review on.
I’ll start by saying if you hate all the previous warrior games by Tecmo Koei, well keep on walking. I doubt the changes and upgrades to this game will be enough to make you really like it. Now if you have been on the fence about it, well then read on. As a heads up this review was done with a 360 copy with all DLC except the outfits. Alright I may have bought one of the cheaper ones.
So I’m not going to bore the ever living shit out of you with a crap load of details on this game. Just about every major reviewer out there alread has. So I’ll keep this simple light and fuzzy. The fuzzy is in like a bunny not your mental state of mind after reading this. I’ll start with the good and the bad list.
So many characters even the Monkey King’s Stick can’t be shaken at them all, but you can unlock him and try for yourself.
Beat a stage and you unlock extras to be used to meddle with those stages for slightly more entertaining replay of the stages.
The DLC stages really only add a bit of extra fun and not anything truly storyline like. They are more like little dream sequences. So you don’t need them to have fun.
It has online play! That is awesome.
Tons of weapons and a good selection of abilities to put on them.
Last of all, you get to play with 3 chars at once and they have a special attack that all three can use together for an even better super attack.
Trying to get the achievements is frustrating and time consuming to the point of just saying, “Screw them, I beat the game already.”
In stage creation/editing mode you sadly can’t change the objectives of the map to create your own scenarios. (That was really saddening).
Damn, online play, requires both players to have beat the stage on their own to play it online. So nope, you can’t help your friend get through that stage they got stuck on. That is a damn pity. I remember couch play on the older games allowed for a second player to come in and help (at the risk of botching the level if they died during it).
Bonds! I at first thought this was really cool. Quickly I began to see how much of a hassle it was to raise bonds and how it forced me to play teams I didn’t like and characters not fun to play in my own eyes.
The game is fun to play in that hack and slash sort of mild button mash way. The characters moves vary enough that even if they do use the same sword, you may play them differently. The story of the game is phenomenal.
Rating 4/5 If this is the last game of the Orochi series, I will be saddened since this is the only Warriors game that has a fictional story that can evolve, unlike the Dynasty Warriors Gundam and Fist of the North Star series which both follow previously written and animated stories.
Okay, Trailer Park King is a definite twist from the last game released by Freelance Games. Fans of Starchon shouldn’t expect this to be anything like it. Trailer Park King is a “who did it” point and click mystery game for XBLIG.
The game plays off the jokes you might expect of trailer park life. The main character seems to have no real job or ambitions except the next girl, pretty much the cliche of the trailer park guy. When your hit with the mystery that you have to solve, you will do this through talking and finding items to use and give to others to get them to talk to you. This game is very simple and to say more about the plot would be a bit to easy to give it away.
Needless to say the artwork is nice, as well as the voice acting. So enjoy the pretty pictures and silly jokes while you can. The game ends far to quickly with it being easy to get through in 20 to 30 minutes. Nothing you search for is hard to find and all the puzzles are pretty simple.
Overall, I was left wanting more of both the game and a challenge. I thought maybe if I made some alternate choices or answers in the game it would add some re-playability. It didn’t, no matter what answers or choices you make they all lead to the same results, one way or another.
So sadly I could only give this game a 2 out of 5 and hope they either make a longer more challenging point and click mystery or make another Starchon.
Now this game has a title that is a bit of a mouthful. Motorbike Stunt Agent Julie is an XBLIG title created by Mattini Games that is a little Excitebike with 360 degree shooting added in for good measure. In some ways it reminds me of some old side-scrolling action games.
MSAJ has one of those stories that seems straight out of an 80′s action flick. The twist being that the arrogant military hero isn’t a guy. It’s agent Julie who has been spending her time since she left her motorbike recon team as a daredevil in a carnival. The story starts up with her old commanding officer coming to her and asking that she come back for a special mission that only she can handle. From that moment on the game continues with a number of I’m the best cocky scenes as the story progresses. The scenes are cutscene images with voice acting as well as the subtitled text that is option. Sadly the voice over was not optional and would have been much better if they were speaking their native tongue versus English. We had the subtitles already so it would have been easy to follow.
This game had 2 modes of play, a campaign mode and a mission select mode. With 20 levels of motorbike stunt shooting action, you are rated on how well you do in each level. A nice feature the game has is that if you don’t care to play the campaign you can play the missions in mission select mode. Each mission you beat unlocks the next mission. The same happens as you beat the missions in campaign mode so you can play the campaign and unlock them all or just play mission select to do it. I thought this was a nice touch and change of pace.
As far as how to play this game, well it’s pretty simple. Your LTrigger is your brake/reverse while your RTrigger is your acceleration. Your left control stick controls your spinning as well as your rocket boost. Pressing forward leans you forward to do forward flips in the air, while pressing back causes back flips and pressing up at any time kicks your rocket boost into action. Be careful not to rocket boost while angled downwards or you propel yourself down to the ground front wheel first. Your right control stick controls the direction you are firing. By successfully doing stunts, such as 2 front flips and the destruction of 3 mines and landing it would increase your stunt bar. When the stunt bar fills up you can press a button to heal yourself, in the later levels this becomes very important to your survival. When you use your rocket boost the bar decreases in energy, but will refill on its own.
The key to this game is destroying the enemies in front of you while doing stunt jumps that allow you to heal yourself. Each level is made up of multiple check points that you have a time limit to reach which then extends your time to reach the next check point. So it becomes important to not crash as that this slows you down a lot and makes you a prone target for enemy fire. Whether you play the game in campaign mode or mission select your scores are kept locally for each level giving you the ability to go back and attempt to beat your previous score and ranking.
Graphically this game isn’t all that in the actual missions. With the ground always looking the same outside of its shape the turrets and tanks all pretty much use the same color giving the game a rather drab look while playing. While the music for the game at first seemed pretty good the fact that there is only one song that is repeated over and over again began to make the music grating.
While this game is a little fun to play when you play a mission here or a mission there. It didn’t give me the urge to play any levels a second time through. Another downside is that occasionally my gun would stop doing damage to the enemies. While it would show that I was still shooting at them it would fail to do any damage and I would have to crash land to get it working again. When this happened it would be extremely irritating, but not game ending. A good thing about the game was it’s ease of learning and the levels really did have a feel of increasing difficulty without any major jumps in difficulty. While all the missions did feel pretty much the same even if they were meant to feel different the only change seemed in the boss missions.
I give this game a 2 out of 5, I just couldn’t get into this game as much as I wanted to. I suggest picking up the trial before buying this one. If you are really looking for something that has that Excitebike feel this may be the game you are looking for.
Ever wanted to see a rainbow colored fish climb a waterfall or get zapped by lightning? Well, now you can thanks to Niji an XBLIG from Binary Madness. If you like climbing games and some nice colorful art please read on.
Niji is a very simplistic game. At least in concept, while it can be pretty challenging to beat the game it does offer a number of play options. Niji has a single player story, endless and survival mode. Story mode you are on a rescue mission. Endless mode is pure climbing until you run out of your five lives. Survival mode is how long can you last with only 1 life. Your scores are all kept on a local leaderboard.
Multiplayer also has 3 modes that allow for 4 players locally to compete on the same screen. No split screen action here so falling behind can really be a killer. The multiplayer modes are Last Fish Standing, Time Attack, and Point Rush. Last Fish Standing is simple all players are given a set amount of lives and the one that survives is the winner. Time attack is a point based match with infinite lives, get the highest score before the time runs out. The last mode is a great mode for the game, but also seems a bit hard to attain even in just a two player match and that is Point Rush. In point rush you set a certain amount of points as the goal and the first one to obtain that amount wins. The downside to that last mode is that the lowest point value is still so high that it quickly becomes taxing and tedious for all the players just for one player to reach even the lowest goal.
The controls are pretty simple in this game. Your left stick is your directional movement of left or right. The A button is your swim, jump and double jump button and B is your trick button. You make your way upward by swimming up waterfalls the clouds create and jumping from one water fall to another. Every time you press A the energy meter goes down so you have to keep a decent pace without over exerting yourself or you’ll fall to your death. Jumping from one waterfall to another as well as doing tricks increases your multiplier/combo and will greatly increase the points you earn when a combo is ended. You do have to watch out for the lightning clouds they can stun you and that could make you fall to your death as well as missing the next waterfall. If you manage to go through 7 clouds without dying you will get a super boost up higher into the climb. All this is down with the screen slowly advancing up or quickly if it has to keep up with you.
In multiplayer one of the major downsides is that since you share the same screen as all the other players it is very easy to find yourself losing a life because of the speed of a fish that has gotten a little bit of a lead on you. You also can mess them up by coming back into play higher than them and quickly forcing them off the screen. This is what makes point rush very difficult and time consuming since the constant deaths keep cutting your combo’s short.
When all is said and done though, Niji is fun game for short periods of time and a good game to play with the family. 3 out of 5 in my book.
Total Miner: Forge is a mining game by Greenstone Games for XBLIG. This Xbox indie game is a block based mining and building game similar to Minecraft for the PC. Total Miner has two game modes currently and is a very addictive game for all ages. At the bottom are two photos that was taken of my families experience with Total Miner.
Total Miner’s first game mode is the creative mode. In creative mode you start of with a very large map and are free to do what ever you want with it. You won’t be running around looking for equipment or building new blocks you can get as many of them as you like and build to your hearts content. To be honest I personally found this mode a tad boring, at least until I turned on combat and placed some spider eggs. Overall though this mode is really about building the things you really want to build then sharing it for others to download and see what you managed to create. Reminds me a little of playing with a bunch of Lego blocks without any instructions.
Total Miner’s second game mode is called Dig Deeper. The object of this mode is to reach the bottom of the randomly created map. That happens somewhere around a depth of 2000. It can take quite awhile to get there too. A few of the restrictions that this mode sports is you can’t build equipment or special objects until you have found the blueprint to do so. This is where the challenge comes in to reach the bottom you will need a much better pickaxe then the one you start with and you are only going to find that somewhere deep underground. While the map created in this mode isn’t nearly as wide and long as the one in creative mode it makes up for it in its depth.
Many perils await you in the mines or even your homemade mines. Cave-ins for one are fairly common, although there are ways to protect yourself from them. For starters any blocks you place won’t move from a cave in, so placing a ceiling above you could be a life saver although it is also quite time consuming. Giant spiders are another thing that await you in the depth of the mines. These giant buggers will chase you and multiply as well. If you find a spider egg you will never be rid of them until you get a weapon that can actually destroy it.
To make the game easier normal mode has shops that you can use to buy things you have unlocked. If you don’t feel like digging up all the materials and crafting it yourself this can be helpful. In dig deeper the farther you go the better pickaxe you will need. All of that aside one of the things is great is that both modes support local split-screen for up to 4 players. This makes this game great for sitting around with the kids or your buddies and building incredible structures or working as a team to hunt down the blueprints.
Now the music can get a bit annoying after a while. It starts and stops for what seems like completely random reasons. So you can go long stretches with the only sound being that of your tool hitting blocks then poof music for a short time. More variety to the music or an option to have it run constantly would be nice. Although you could just listen to your own music and turn it off. If you get into the game like my family did, you’ll spend so long in front of it that your own music will become necessary.
Overall this game is a great game to lose yourself in. Play it with family and friends. Help build and dig or destroy each other. With the designer planning to release future updates that will allow online multiplayer as well as a survival mode of some sort and other additions this game is looking to become even more addicting than it already is. For 240msp on the Xbox this game is a must buy.
5 out of 5!
As an added bonus two photos of what fiancee did in dig deeper mode.
Trivia or Die, the XBLIG with Avatars by Fun Infused Games is a 4 person trivia game. The fate of the world is in your hands. If you fail the human race will be devoured by alien zombies, so you have to show them just how smart we are. If you have played just about any multiplayer trivia game; 1 vs 100 comes to mind, you have a good idea on how this game goes. But this review would be a little boring and lackluster if I left it at that so lets get into the details on what makes this game different.
First thing and probably one of the biggest differences is in the host. He may look like your typical game show host from 80′s and 90′s tv at least he sort of did to me, but he doesn’t act like one. After a question is asked and answers are given he busts out with an insult to all the players who got the answer wrong. It’s a little different than being praised for right answers, although the insults are really tame so it’s nothing you would or should be offended by at least not in my eyes.
The second difference is after the challenge is over all losing contestants avatars fall into a pit of fire. Now you don’t see anything, no melting or bleeding avatars in this game. You know they have rules against doing that, but it is a little funny. This difference won’t make or break the game in my opinion. It is after all a trivia game and that is what is going to matter most.
So what sort of questions can you expect from Trivia or Die. From my time playing it, just about anything. Some questions about popular books, some sports questions. Plenty of questions about continents and counties. Some game questions are also in the fray, I thought the questions were pretty varied and that makes for a good Trivia game to play with your friends. We all know a bit about other things so I felt the questions didn’t really put the favor in the hands any particular genre lover. You get points for your right answers and you get some bonus points if you answer them quickly.
Much like most Trivia games, I wouldn’t say this game truly stands out from the crowd. It’s a solid trivia game and will hopefully be periodically updated with new questions. It does start with over 500 questions for it’s measly 80 msp so you have quite a bit of questions before you start seeing a lot of repeat questions. With computer opponents that you get to decide how smart they are.
All in all the game is fun and pretty solid, I give it a 3 out of 5. If you’re a trivia buff you might dig this game for some of the questions, and it’s a good game to play with friends as well.
JonCorp Games‘ XBLIG Love Hurts is a retro style beat em up. With a parody plot on the whole aspect of saving the princess or damsel in distress. You will fight your way to save your love. Noble right, I know your thinking about all the games that have had that same storyline. That is the point to this game having the storyline.
Love Hurts is a single player beat em up, with your typical types of enemies. With the guy that just punches you or guys who jump kick you repeatedly. None of the enemies really bust out with anything unexpected or exciting. The game is more focused on its retro graphics and the cartoon feel they attempt to have as well as its cliche and bad jokes.
Your fighting style is just punching, uppercuts, body slams, kicks, low kicks, jump kicks.and the option to block. The enemies as I said use attacks pretty much the same, and you’ll be fighting that enemy repeatedly within that level. At the end of each level there is a unique boss so there is a bit of finality between each level. You may notice a few things when fighting the enemies, one thing is that once you know their attack pattern you can easily use it against them while the second is that it tends to fail to register hits that you obviously make on the enemies. Although it doesn’t seem to make that mistake when attacking you. I first noticed that annoyance when I was knocked over by a butler and every time I stood up he would hit me till I fell again, while my attacks would miss him completely because I was too close.It didn’t seem to matter that my fist was going right through his face the hit detection just didn’t pick it up.
This can easily put you in a situation, that is not only frustrating but can also cause you to lose the game. Since the game only has a few levels to it, there is no save option. There isn’t even an option to continue so if you die you’re starting from the beginning again.Outside of single player mode it does have a local scoreboard to check out your skills.
Now as far as the graphics go the cartoonish look makes all the characters look very goofy to me. I don’t make this call simply based on the fact that it uses SNES style graphics. I actually get into games with a retro feel and look, This game makes a joke about it’s artwork within the game, but I didn’t find it all that funny because I agreed with the joke more like it was a statement..
I really wanted to like this game and instead I just ended up finding the gameplay frustrating with its failing to catch obvious hits and somewhat tedious and repetitive enemies. The graphics boring and badly drawn out, even with going for that retro appearance, and the story wasn’t very funny nor was it anything that would draw me into the game, For a game meant to be a parody you expect to laugh a bit but I just wasn’t laughing, and really that is about all there is to this game.
I give this game a 2 out of 5, even if you like the genre get the trial first. If you do like the art style you may like the game a lot more than me.
Charco Studios‘ Spermatozoon for the XBLIG marketplace is probably not the game you might be expecting. The goal of the game is to fertilize the ovum with the spermatozoon by getting past the contraceptive. Now if your thinking this game sound downright dirty, you’d be pretty wrong. Seriously take a look at the screen shot so we can move on to the rest of the review of this incredibly fun game.
Spermatozoon has two playable modes Solo and Multi modes. In solo mode you unlock stages as you beat the previous one. With 53 levels and multiple forms of barriers. Some of the barriers are breakable and some are unbreakable. There are some barriers that slow down the spermatozoon while others speed it up. They rotate in different directions as well, while you will launch each spermatozoon directly towards the ovum in the center the game is a lot about timing and sometimes a little luck doesn’t hurt either. Each of the stages are different with different patterns and different firing positions.
Multi mode has a number of options with support for 4 local players. You can play the levels sequentially or in random order. It can be turn based, or played in normal mode. You are able to choose the number of rounds as well as the timeout for a shot and the amount of spermatozoon available to fire at the ovum.
After beating each stage stats are shown for the level, it also includes some top player scores on this screen. The game is very enjoyable, easy to play, and different from any game I can remember playing.
I asked the developer of few questions about the game and here is what he said.
Q. What inspired you to make this game?
A. this summer i attended a conference on video games, one of the speakers, David Ferritz, http://dfrriz.blogspot.com/ from Devilish Games http://www.devilishgames.com/english.php , talked about his experience in the business. he talked about his first video game, whose hero was a mutant spermatozoon… and later when he was explaining how to make a good curriculum, David said that if anyone presented him an spermatozoon game, he immediately hired him.
I developed the game that afternoon, and at night i sent him the first playable prototype. http://www.youtube.com/malditis#p/u/11/E6F3TH8LBeI
Q. Why sperm versus, just about any other thing that could be heading to the center circle?
A. I like the tail movement.
i was considering to make a death star clone with x-wings, but i decided be loyal to the first idea.
to be honest i have been loyal to the second idea. the first was too indecent.
Q. Was there another game that influenced Spermatozoon?
Overall this game I give a 4 out of 5, it is a great game and a blast to play. I think the timing aspect of the game may turn away many as might the subject matter, even though it never really feels at all like a sexual game.
Ninja Fever‘s Avatar…Fly for the XBLIG marketplace, does exactly what it say it does. There aren’t any big surprises here, you’re set up to play as your XBox avatar and fly. Sadly this isn’t a free form flying game like Rotor where you pick up missions and attempt to accomplish them within the time length. This game is a little more like a flying race game where you are kept alive by a form of checkpoint that increases your constantly decreasing time.
If you love playing games with your Avatar and really what purpose does it really serve other than to play in some games. Or if you are ever the addict for time challenge style games, then this one may interest you. There is really only one option available to you with this game and that is to select Play. upon doing so you are flying as your avatar with an clock that is running down. Your goal is to collect stars and go through the rings. Going through the rings will give you points and time as does the stars, The more consecutive rings you fly through the higher the multiplier gets.
Obviously the game gets faster as the levels progress and the rings become more spaced apart. Although at no point does the game ever feel impossible, just challenging enough to keep you trying to get to a higher level with a better score. You can also turn on 3D mode if you have the 3D glasses and enjoy this game that way as well.
The game also has an online leaderboard which is very fitting for a game like this. As simple as this game is, it is rather fun and reminds me of a number of other games that cost much more for pretty much the same experience. I may not be a big fan of avatar games, but this game plays smoothly and having an online leader board only serves as incentive to beat the other players out there.
I give this game a 3 out of 5. Its definitely fun, but you should try the trial to see if you will enjoy it.
A classic solitary puzzle game released by Earth Base Games, Marble Puzzle brings the old 14 marble/peg triangle game to your console via the XBLIG marketplace. I don’t know about you, but this one brings me back to my youth on those family vacations. Playing any and all manner of games with my sister or by myself to keep from being board to tears between stops. I myself had this game with its wooden triangle and golf tee pegs so a little bump in the road wouldn’t cause the pegs to fall out.
Well, if you miss that game and want to show off your skill at how great and fast you were at solving the puzzles this game has brought it back. It is a simple game with 4 levels of difficulty each level is one of the 4 possible starting points for the game. Although you will have to beat the prior level before being allowed to try the next puzzle.
Outside of that Marble Puzzle has two challenge modes. The first is to find the solutions. In find solutions it requires you to take the puzzle and beat the puzzle with your piece in all possible ending locations. Once done you can move on to the next puzzle of ending locations. there are 3 levels of these challenges. It is a nice change of pace requiring you to not just accidentally get it right, but forcing you to get it right multiple times all with a different ending location. The second of the challenge modes is actually rather odd. It is called Leave Many and the object of this challenge is to take a board with all 15 marbles in it and remove one then begin the game attempting to leave the most marbles you can still on the board without any possible way to remove them.
Now if you have never played this puzzle game before, I am a little stunned. I’ll explain it to you though. The puzzle contains 15 holes on a triangle. 14 of these holes contain a marble. You then use the marble to jump another marble to an empty space, then removing the marble jumped. You continue doing this until you can no longer make any more jumps with the object being to leave only one marble behind. With a simple mechanic and gameplay it’s not to hard to figure it out. It may take you dozens for attempts before you beat a particular puzzle allowing you to play the next level.
Some features the game has as extras are that you may change the background your wooden triangle sits on, the music playing to the game or to turn the music off, and lastly a leaderboard to keep track of how well you have done. The background really has no bearing to gameplay and is only an aesthetic thing, the music is neither annoying nor enthralling and largely is ignored as much as the background is. The leaderboard is a nice touch as it tells you what your best time was for beating a puzzle or the most marbles you left behind.
Surprisingly the game does have a lag when loading up a level, which seems odd but once the level is loaded everything runs at a normal pace. There are no real faults to this game, but nor does it stand out. For the 80msp this game costs if you haven’t played it before and like challenging your mind its a good game and probably a bit cheaper this way than to buy a physical copy. For those who have played this, it is far more of a novelty game and possibly a reminder of those long car trips.
As far as score goes I give this a 2 out of 5. I couldn’t see buying it myself and I like puzzle games, but I can see why some would want it. I think overall most wouldn’t get much out of this game or truly enjoy it compared to other puzzle games.