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Xbox Indie Game Reviews Volume 1

Andrew and Keith play through the trial versions of ten indie titles from the Xbox Live marketplace and tell you what they think.  Feel free to comment with your own take on any of these games or make requests!

Protect Me Knight (まもって騎士)

KeithProtect Me Knight requires you and up to three friends to defend a helpless princess who stands in a lightly fortified position while enemies pour in from all sides.  You can either beat down opponents in an all out brawl or build catapults that allow you to attack from afar.  After each stage you are allowed to use gathered resources to upgrade your character and expand their ability set.  Combat is satisfying, enemies are varied, and the simple visual style is plenty functional.  We had a lot of fun with two people so I can only imagine how good this game could be with four people and the freedom to pick classes that were locked in the trial.

Andrew – This game was actually a pretty decent take on the tower defense genre. There isn’t much in the way of automated defense and you are bound to manage all the grunt work yourself while also making sure the princess is protected and your health isn’t being depleted. The game is fast paced and rather quirky if you are into that sort of thing. This is the type of game that’s best played in a lively group setting.

Baby Maker Extreme 2

Keith – This is a game where you mash the B button in order to fire a baby out of a pregnant woman.  Yes, that’s right.  I recommend that you just watch the video below in order to experience the novelty of the idea and then move on.  Once the joke wears off there just isn’t much game to be had.

T.E.C. 3001

KeithT.E.C. really impressed me.  You control a cybernetic character and try to avoid obstacles as it sprints down a path in a Rez-like world at increasing speeds.  There is a very real sense of speed to the game and the difficulty ramps up very quickly.  I had some minor gripes with the camera and the trial-and-error requirement of some of the obstacles, but I had a blast playing.  T.E.C. should be more than worth the 240msp price tag.

Akane the Kunoichi

KeithAkane is a side-scroller with ranged combat and a handful of special attacks.  It certainly has the look of a well made game, but it borrows liberally from the Sonic the Hedgehog aesthetic.  The combat, levels, and enemies all felt bland and repetitive.  The game livened up a bit when the first boss fight came around, but I can’t recommend a title that is only occasionally fun.  There are better side-scrolling titles to be found on the indie games marketplace.

Halfbrick Echoes

Keith – Echoes is a puzzle game where you must collect a series of items that spawn around each level in a similar manner to games like Snake.  The catch?  Every time you pick up an item an ‘echo’ is created that follows the path you took and damages you on contact.  In order to succeed you’ll have to carefully plan the paths you take in order to compensate for the enemies that you will create along the way.  Puzzle nuts will find a fresh and interesting challenge in Echoes.

Raventhorne

Keith – This game manages to take the most basic beat ’em up formula and ruin it with the inclusion of a stamina bar.  After only a few swings your character becomes winded and useless, and just about every action in the game depletes your stamina.  This leads to constant interruptions in the combat and simply is not fun.  Many have seen screenshots of this title and praised the visuals, but once it all starts moving you realize that those pretty character models are animated by awkwardly pivoting the two-dimensional, flat body parts.  No quantity of Norse mythology can make up for the annoying gameplay and ugly animation.

I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MBIES 1N 1T!!!1

KeithZ0MBIES feels like it was thrown together in spare time by Dishwasher: Dead Samurai developer Jamezila, but that doesn’t stop it from being fun and strangely addictive.  Up to four local players fight off waves of zombies with a variety of weapons in the dual-stick shooter formula that Geometry Wars has long since taught us a love.  The entire game is centered around a 13 minute song that changes styles numerous times and the stage changes with it.  One minute you’re fighting zombies and the next you’re fighting enemies from Asteroids, Geometry Wars, and Snake.  The combat is simplistic but the visuals and constantly changing dangers keep things fun and interesting in a very short game that you’re likely to replay many times with friends.

Andrew – I personally liked this game, it was both fun, creative, intense and solid. I can say for certain it is a game worth checking out if you have the time, especially if you have plenty of friends who are interesting in a top-down zombie/Asteroids/Snake/blob/Geometry Wars/angry faces shooter.

Undead Empire

Andrew – Garbage. This might sound odd coming from someone who just recommended a top-down zombie shooter, but there is a vast difference in the amount of effort and creativity placed into I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MBIES 1N 1T!!!1 and Undead Empire.  Most notably, the entire game. The controls were awful, the graphics were less than mediocre and the gameplay was unforgiving. I would not recommend this game to even my most hated gamer enemies.

Keith – A dual-stick zombie shooter that has absolutely nothing new to offer veteran players, especially when compared to Z0MBIES.

Battle High: San Bruno

Andrew – So, think Street Fighter II Turbo meets Avatar: The Last Airbender and you have Battle High. Each character has their own element.  The controls were a little off and the characters had a knack for not moving while fighting. The characters all had generic Japanese names and the art style was creative but the characters seemed to appear rather small compared to the background and the bystanders. The game apparently takes place in a high school for elemental benders it feels like and while there were some awkward fighting moments, it was overall a pretty solid game.

Keith – Battle High is a fairly well made fighter that suffers from a lack of depth beneath the surface.  The roster is small, the move sets are severely limited, and the combat lacks the interesting twist that most modern fighters have at this point to set them apart from the crowd.

Avatar Legends

Andrew – I was pretty pleased with this game.  There were a lot of nice features for a demo, including both the adventure building mode and a single player map. The fighting was pretty clunky, but the graphics, gameplay and controls were solid. It is a game that can be played either solo or with a group which makes it worth the 240MSP. If you are into RPGs and like your avatar enough to stare at it for hours, give this game a try.  Better yet, give it a buy. It’s a pretty well made game despite its cartoony look and odd looking NPC’s.

Learn more the author of this post:

Keith Ballard
I run a gaming channel on Youtube called TheSaDGames and occasionally write about games. I can be contacted on Twitter as @SebastianSB.
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