Monday, October 31, 2011

Castle Of Pixel Skulls (XBLIG): "A Retro Skeleton Platformer"

This review of 'Castle Of Pixel Skulls' was actually requested by the developer. I'm always thrilled to have game developers contact me about reviewing their latest creations. I don't think I'd turn down any request unless the developer was being a total arse about it. In this case the developer (Josep Monzonis, 2KSOMNIS) was actually fairly straightforward with the email inquiry he sent me. I was definitely glad to accept the assignment since the game (Castle of Pixel Skulls) looked very interesting to me. Everything from the graphics to the gameplay itself all looked well designed yet simple. Simple games are sometimes much better than the mainstream games that gamers pay top dollar for. I definitely wanted to see if that was the case with this indie game title ...

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Real Steel (XBLA): "A Highly Customizable Robot Boxing Game ..."

If you are as old as I am you have probably seen the "Rock 'em Sock 'em Robots" toys of ages (years ^.^) gone by. The concept was really simple back then, and only involved a couple of movable plastic robots that were attached to a plastic boxing ring. It was inevitable that the release of a movie/video game such as "Real Steel" would sooner, or later rear it's head. With the lack of inspiration that seems to be plaguing the hollywood directors of today, and the classic toy/movie craze (Smurfs, Transformers ...) that is currently going on it all sort of adds up. Yuke's Co., Ltd is the developer behind this video game rendition of the recent movie release. Unlike the movie "Real Steel" there is nothing going on behind the stage involving the human puppet masters (Hugh Jackman ...) that control the brawling bots. The game itself is pretty much a straightforward boxing game with some nice additions (RPG elements, customizations, robotic dismemberments ...) to gameplay that suit the scifi content the game was molded after.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Zombie Apocalypse: Never Die Alone (XBLA): "A Dual Thumbstick Zombie Shmup"

Zombie Apocalypse: NDA (Never Die Alone) is the sequel to Back Bone Entertainment, and Konami's 'Zombie Apocalypse' game of 2009. It features dual thumbstick (shmup) style gameplay, and a story that can be completed in either singleplayer or multiplayer modes. Up to four players can join in on the zombie shooting spree in multiplayer mode, or you can have at it alone switching between characters as you make your way across the zombie infested locations. There are four unique characters to play as in the game. There is a gamer dude named 'Jeremy', a female weapons specialist named 'Alma', A youth minister named 'Father Bill', and a British/Australian rapper named 'Def Money'. Each character plays their own special part in this apocalyptic zombie tale that takes place in the various locales of Canada. There's lots of humor to enjoy, zombie swarms to neutralize, and some major moolah to collect in this RPG driven shoot 'em up.

Friday, October 28, 2011

The War of the Worlds (XBLA): "H.G. Well's Classic Tale Reimagined"

When you have been a gamer for as long as I have you have likely witnessed the change in visual styles, and graphics on gaming consoles through the years. There have been both 2D, and 3D versions of video games released throughout the years I have been gaming. Rarely ever do you see a developer take a gaming concept of old, and significantly enhance it though. This is definitely the case with 'Other Ocean Interactive's (The Developer)' latest reimagining of H.G. Wells classic martian invasion story "The War of the Worlds". The developer has taken the oldschool 2D platforming genre, and has applied it in a way that pays perfect tribute to the classic invasion tale. The graphics are definitely next generation quality, and the soundtrack is truly amazing. To top all of that off, Other Ocean Interactive has acquired the voice-over talents of 'Sir Patrick Stewart'! With all of that combined 'The War of the Worlds' for the Xbox 360 has been brought to life in a way that the newer generation of gamers can experience, and appreciate.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Light Fish (XBLIG): "An Aquatic Puzzle/Arcade Game"

Just when I had thought I'd seen every twist on video game genres possible 'Eclipse Games (The Developer)' goes and creates 'Light Fish'. If you have ever played Japanese import video games then you may have stumbled across some puzzle mini-games (Reveal the Picture Games) that have you revealing pictures by boxing off portions of the screen with lines. The developer has taken this concept a giant leap forward, and utilized that type of gameplay in a whole new way. Instead of boxing in sections of a panel to reveal a picture you will be trapping other types of geometric/aquatic creatures, and reefs in order to score points.

No Pain No Brain (XBLIG): "16-Bit Zombie Bashing Goodness"

It is that time of year again (October) when game developers all start pitching in their latest horror genre releases. I'm actually a huge fan of the month of October, because all of the horror movies are shown on TV and the new horror survival games that are introduced. The indie scene is actually no different from the mainstream gaming scene in that they also add their contributions of horror into the mix. I have actually seen quite a few horror related XBLIG titles released this October, and I was lucky enough to get one for review. The game I speak of is titled 'No Pain No Brain'. It is a zombie brawler that pays homage to those classic 16-bit game titles that many of you have likely enjoyed growing up as a gamer. The game's hero is a tough talking truck driver named Jack Preston who is on a mission to rescue survivors. With his female assistant guiding him over his CB radio he drives to different locales in order to whoop some zombie arse, and save the citizens from flesh eating doom.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Four Winds Fantasy (XBLIG): "A Fantasy RPG That Defies Explanation"

I have reviewed some very "interesting" XBLIG titles in my short time as a reviewer, but none that comes even close in comparing to QuimDung Co., Ltd's (The Developer) debut RPG "Four Winds Fantasy". I'm not even sure I'm going to be able to properly describe what I witnessed when I played this game, but I'm going to give it my best shot ...

Monday, October 24, 2011

Avatar Panic! (XBLIG): "Classic Arcade Fun With Xbox Live Avatars"

When I first started my playthrough of 'Avatar Panic!'I had a feeling of dejavu. I was thinking to myself that I remember a game back in the NES days which was very similar to it. After doing a tiny bit of research I found the answer I was looking for, or rather the game I was looking for. If any of my readers recall a Nintendo game titled 'Buster Bros.' then you'll have a very good idea what this game is all about. Basically 'Avatar Panic!' is a bubble busting game (similar to 'Buster Bros.') that uses your avatar as a playable character, and has you trying to shoot down bubbles with a harpoon. The game is presented in a 2D style with 3D accents/backgrounds. The game features two modes of play (Arcade, Panic!) in which the objective is to pop all the bubbles while trying not to get hit. Milkstone studios, the developer behind this rendition of the arcade classic is well known for their online scoreboard based games. I was pleasantly surprised when I did my playthrough of 'Avatar Panic!', and found out that they included online leaderboards in this game.

Platform Hack (XBLIG): "A 2D Hack 'n Slash/RPG Platformer"

I have noticed what seems to be a slightly growing trend when it comes to XBLIG, and XBLA RPG releases. I recently did a review on 'Dungeon Defenders' which was an RPG/Tower Defense hybrid, and now 'Daydalus Studios' has released an XBLIG hybrid RPG of their own. The RPG I speak of is 'Platform Hack' which is a 2D hack 'n slash RPG platformer. It has it's own unique look with hand drawn artwork/features as wells as a some very involved gameplay mechanics. In the game you will earn points to further unlock your powers, and special abilities as you level up from experience which is gained from the enemies you slay. There are four different levels/worlds to conquer, as well as five different larger than life bosses to defeat in order to save your precious Sophie. Along the way you will also find 20 treasures that are well hidden throughout the maze-like levels. When, and if you are able to defeat the evil character that is behind Sophie's disappearance you will be faced with a final choice that will conclude the game in one of two ways ...

Sunday, October 23, 2011

OtakuDante: "Tales of a Fighting Game Fanatic Vol.1"

After some thought, I decided I would go over my fighting game history for all of my readers here. I have been gaming for over 20 years now, and many of those years have been spent on playing fighting games. My beginnings were modest, and actually began when I got 'Street Fighter II: Championship Ed.' for my 13th birthday. In all honesty it wasn't easy convincing my mother to let me play the fighting games when I was young considering she came from a christian background, but she has been very supportive of my gaming habits over the years. Without the support of my family, and friends I probably wouldn't have pursued the fighting game genre as long as I have. My entire fighting game history spans over multiple gaming consoles, and even in time I spent at the arcades when they were still around in my area. Over the years I have gradually advanced in skill level, and can hold my own even against some of the higher online ranked gamers. Even so I still have a lot to learn, and continue to do so each time I put a fighting game into my console.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Bejeweled 3 (XBLA): "A Multi-Mode Gem Matching Puzzle Game"

In the many years I've been gaming I have played a wide variety of video game genres that include puzzle games. Some of those puzzle games that I enjoyed playing included several 'PopCap Game' titles such as their very popular Bejeweled series. My family has an extremely competitive nature when it comes to gaming, and we would often times try to beat each other's scores in Bejeweled, Bejeweled 2, and Bejeweled Blitz. My Mother, and Father both are actually pros at the Bejeweled games, and have scored in the millions of points during their playthroughs. When I saw that 'Bejeweled 3' was released on the Xbox Live Marketplace I knew I had to do a review on it, because it's one of those amazing arcade style games that should get some recognition. I honestly knew the game was going to be great before I requested it. I just didn't know how much content 'PopCap Games' had included in this installment of the series. That is another reason for my request of the game. I like to keep my readers informed on all types of games even if they are puzzle related.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Bellum Gothicum Orchestra - "Amor Vincit"

Earlier this year I featured the band 'Bellum Gothicum Orchestra'  here on my blog. They are an amazing band with a very unique sound. The band was kind enough to send me an autographed CD by airmail which I have greatly enjoyed listening to. Recently they released another music video of their song 'Amor Vincit'. It was one of my favorites from the CD, and I would like to take the time to share it with you ...

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Techno Chopper (XBLIG): "A Simple Prismatic Chopper Survival Game"

There is actually a method to my madness when it comes to my requesting of XBLIG/XBLA games for review. For the most part I look to see if the game offers a solid gameplay experience. I also tend to go by how visually impressive the game appears to be. On rare occassions I will overlook the visuals, because the gameplay itself looks really impressive. Techno Chopper attracted me with it's visual style as well as the score based gameplay that it offered. I'm definitely drawn to games that are based on high scores due to my very competitive gaming nature. I immediately sent 'GZ Storm' my request (the developer behind this unique game) in hopes of securing it for review. I was glad that they allowed me to review the game, because I thought it looked like something my readers would be interested in knowing about.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Antipole (XBLIG): "A 2D Side-Scrolling Anti-Gravity Adventure"

I always consider myself fortunate, and lucky when a developer contacts me about reviewing their game. It dosen't matter how big, or small the game might be. It's always a nice treat for me, and it let's me know (as I've mentioned before) that I'm doing something right with my reviews. This time around it was 'Saturnine Games' that sent me an email request. In the email they asked me to review their latest XBLIG title 'Antipole'. I wasn't really sure what the game was about, but I was glad that the developer requested me to review it. I ended up playing through 'Antipole' this morning, and it took a little over two hours to complete. For a small indie game it definitely offered quite a challenge with it's anti-gravity concept. It also had an extra mode of play besides the main mode (Challenge Mode). In my playthrough I encountered many unique puzzles, and gameplay concepts that I haven't seen in a 2D side-scroller before.

Dungeon Defenders (XBLA): "A Tower Defense & RPG Hybrid Gaming Experience"

I did a lot of research before I set out on my quest to get the review code for Trendy Entertainment's new XBLA release 'Dungeon Defenders'. Initially I was quite impressed with what I witnessed from watching the 'Dungeon Defenders' trailers, and developer diaries videos. I knew I had to get this game for review, so that my reader's would be well informed as to what the game's experience is like. I also wanted to see for myself how this game compared/differed from other RPG hybrids. I have to honestly say that I was thrilled when Trendy Entertainment's PR sent me two review codes, so that I could experience the multiplayer with someone else that I knew. Often times I find myself missing out on the multiplayer experience, because I have no one to share it with. Thankfully Trendy Ent. realized that the reviewers (such as myself) needed to play their game as it was meant to be played, in multiplayer/LIVE.

Dungeon Defenders (XBLA): LIVE With @CherryRasulka

The developer (Trendy Ent.) of this unique/amazing tower defense hybrid game (Dungeon Defenders) gave me not one, but two review codes. The reason behind this was that the guys/gals at Trendy Ent. felt that it was necessary for me to be able to experience the entire game as it was meant to be experienced. Dungeon Defenders offers the gamer a solid single player/multiplayer gaming experience, but in the end I found that the game was truly meant to be enjoyed with someone else. My someone else (the reciever of the 2nd review code) just so happened to be my good friend @CherryRasulka from Twitter. Her, and her husband have both shared a previous online gaming experience with me, so I knew she would be the perfect teammate for the job. She has agreed to do an interview with me which I thought was quite nice. What follows is a series of questions, and answers between me and @CherryRasulka about her time with 'dungeon Defenders' ...

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Pinball FX2 (XBLA): "Sorcerer's Lair"

Zen Studios, the developers of the Pinball FX2 series have added yet another amazing creation to their pinball table library. This newest table which is appropriately titled 'Sorcerer's Lair' delivers awesome pinball action with more interactive parts/missions than the previous tables. There are many different ways to score points as you take on the role of Jake, and Amanda (A Brother & Sister Duo) along with their ghostly friend Whisper as they try to outsmart the evil sorcerer. The table itself takes place at a magical Citadel that is haunted by various apparitions, and otherworldly creatures. It is up to you (Jake, Amanda, Whisper) to withstand all of the sorcerer's attacks, and beat him at his own game.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Blocky (XBLIG): "Like Owning A Pet Rock, But Much Better ..."

As an XBLIG, and XBLA reviewer I try hard to pick out titles that I believe my readers will be interested in knowing about. I use a simple method of narrowing down the list of choices by using certain criteria. The things I look for in a new title can include anything from the quality of humor, to the overall appearance of the game. In blocky's case I thought it showed a very humerous side as well as some solid looking gameplay. The trailer really drew my attention to this game, and the hilarious narration that was added also sparked my curiosity. This new XBLIG title by 'ThinkFlowGames' proved to be one of the best games that I have reviewed/plyed through this year, but I'll let you judge that for yourself ...

Saturday, October 8, 2011

FITS (XBLIG): "Fishing In The Sea"

LuckySoft is one of the few developers that I know who really appreciates my reviewing, and always asks me to review their latest games. I feel quite honored that a developer such as LuckySoft would think so highly of my reviews that they would personally request me to review their new games. With that being said I do feel a bit bad about falling behind schedule, and getting to their game last. Life happens though, and I'm glad that I'm finally able to present my review of 'FITS (Fishing In The Sea)' to you guys (and gals).

Friday, October 7, 2011

There Will Be Brains (XBLIG): "Barricades, Zombies & A Wide Variety Of Weapons"

Sometimes I really look forward to a release of certain XBLIG titles, and 'There Will Be Brains' just so happened to be one of those games. The game takes a simple concept, and delivers it in a very artistic manner. As the gamer you will take control of Jackie, redheaded girl who has found herself in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. To begin with you are given a gun, and a barricade of furniture to hide behind. With these tools, and weapons that you buy (from a merchant) you must stand your ground against wave after wave of the living dead. The game is mission based, and you must defeat zombies while gathering the right amount of gasoline in order to progess through different points/missions on the map. In a sort of 'Resident Evil 4' fashion the game provides the opportunity to purchase more/better weapons from a traveling merchant with the money that you loot from the undead denizens. If you survive long enough, and purchase the best protection you might just come out of this situation alive.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

SteamSunk (XBLIG): "A Top-Down War Boat Shmup"

Whenever I watch a trailer of an indie game I usually have a pretty good idea of what it's about. If my memory serves me well 'SteamSunk' had a 3D look to it in the trailer. I have been known to be wrong on occassion though ... Whatever the case was I found myself a bit surprised when I realized that the game was a top-down shmup that took place on a massive lake. It was definitely a very pleasant surprise though. Snape, the developer behind this rather unique steamboat style shooter made the game very user friendly. Not only can you access a detailed control layout via the inside of the ship, but you can also access all of the other menu options in the ships bay window as well. SteamSunk features 4 difficulty settings (Easy, Normal, Hard, Godlike) with significant differences (more/harder enemies/bosses). These difficulty settings make the game easily accessible for both those who are new to the shmup genre, as well as veteran players.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Dark Delve (XBLIG): "A Dungeon Crawler/Turn Based RPG"

Dark Delve is one of those games that kind of reinvents a genre. In this case that game genre happens to be RPGs. Checkmark Games, the developer behind this one of a kind RPG brings their game to life in a very artistic manner. Aside from the core turn based RPG gameplay, 'Dark Delve' features hand drawn characters/creatures, and photographic scenery that is showcased throughout the game's entirety. The game begins with an epic, and somewhat poetic tale of a queen who has turned against her people. Generations after being sealed away, a team of heroes (mages, warriors, rogues) must go on a quest to mercifully end the queens life before she does any further harm to her kingdom. As the player you take on the role of 4 customizable characters with different skills (mages, warriors, rogues). You get to choose the look of each character from various drawings. You can even name your band of heroes as you see fit. Once you have your team ready you will be set to go on your way.

Convict Minigames (XBLIG): "A 5 Title Minigame Compilation"

Convict Interactive recently released a compilation of 5 indie minigames. The game's title was appropriately called 'Convict Minigames' since it was Convict Interactive that developed them. The games featured in this set include 'Bop!', 'High Hopes', 'Jurassic Bar', 'Cave In', and 'Triangle Man (which made me think of that 80's song with Triangle Man lyrics ^.^). For the most part the games end really quickly, except for 'Triangle Man' which features more involved gameplay. All of the games can be played alone (single player), or with up to 4 players. Each game features an impressive soundtrack that accents the games rather nicely.

Pixelosity (XBLIG): "A Simple Shmup With Great Replay Value"

Pixelosity is the simplest indie game/shmup that I have ever played. Being the in-depth reviewer that I am it kind of presented a problem, and as a result this will likely be the shortest review I will do ...

Pixelostiy is a simple 1, or 2 player sidescrolling shmup that was developed by 'GLHF Games'. You pilot a ship (that is constructed of simple pixel blocks) as it flys along with a rainbow trailing behind it (kind of like Nyan Cat ^.^). Your goal is to try to shoot down other ships, and get the highest score in the process of doing so. You can accumulate chains (multiple enemies killed without getting hit) that add to your ever-growing score. As you fly through the game your score will gradually rise along with the additional points that you get for destroying ships in your path. Like any shmup you can find power-ups from the fallen enemies/ships that will aid you in your progress. I've actually only found a few of them though. The power-ups I did find included bullet overdrive (rapid fire), double bullets (shoots a wide spray of shots), and a bomb (clears the screen of enemy ships). You have a limited amount of lives in 'Pixelosity', so using power-ups to your advantage will definitely help out.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Worms Ultimate Mayhem (XBLA): "Humorous Turn Based Worm Combat"

Whenever I request a game for review I usually have a good idea what it's about. This time around I found myself in new territory not knowing much about the Worms games. I knew that Worms had been around for a good while, and I even remember seeing a version of it released on the PSN when I had my PS3. I always thought it looked like an interesting game series, so I decided to seek out this latest version for review. I have to say that I've been quite fortunate as a new game reviewer with the support that developers have given me. I was quite excited to hear that 'Team17 Software Ltd.' was willing to not only give me a chance to review their new game, but also to allow me to do an interview with them. It has been a new experience for me, and I hope to do more interviews with my upcoming reviews if my readers like this one. Without further hesitation I present to you my review of Team17's 'Worms Ultimate Mayhem' ...

Exclusive Interview With John Dennis, Head of Design, Team17 Software Ltd. (Worms Ultimate Mayhem)

I'm a gaming blogger who really likes to expand what I do by learning, and doing new things with my reviews. In my recent quest to obtain review codes I was lucky enough to get a code for 'Worms Ultimate Mayhem' from Team17 Software Ltd. I just recently started my venture into reviewing XBLA game titles, and it's definitely Awesome when developers are willing to give me an opportunity to prove my worth in the online reviewing community. Being able to get my reviews out to my readers is also very rewarding. In the process of my request Team17 offered to do an interview with me, and it didn't take me long (maybe a minute ^.^) to decide to take them up on that offer. The following is the interview between me (OtakuDante), and John Dennis who is the Head of Design for Team17. I hope you enjoy it, and that it offers some insight into Team17's Worms universe ...

Monday, October 3, 2011

Astralia (XBLIG): "50% Shmup & 50% Strategy"

Astralia is a new breed of shoot 'em up that incorporates strategy into it's gameplay. I wasn't really quite sure what to expect when I first layed eyes on this unique XBLIG title, but I was definitely pleasantly surprised. Astroboid Games, the developer behind this shmup hybrid brings the game to life with a unique story about materia, AI, and the fall of the universe as a result of it. The game features one of the most visually impressive tutorials I have ever seen. It not only includes a video to go along with the tutorial, but the game also does a nice job of explaining the rules as you actually play. Once you get a handle on the controls you'll be set to enjoy this amazing science fiction adventure as it is told through this indie game's presentation.

Wizorb (XBLIG): "Classic Brick Breaking With An RPG Twist"

During one of my routine searches for new games to review I found a youtube trailer of 'Wizorb' which looked just like the NES games I grew up with. I was definitely looking forward to reviewing this game, and sent my review request in early. I was glad that 'Tribute Games' gave me a chance to review Wizorb. It's not often that a reviewer such as myself gets to review an indie game from an experienced developer who has worked on mainstream games. I found out through an email from 'Tribute Games' that they have contributed to such titles as 'Deus Ex: Human Revolution', and 'Scott Pilgrim vs The World'. I even found that some of the developers that make up the 'Tribute Games' team  formerly worked for Eidos, and Ubisoft which I thought was quite noteworthy. I could definitely tell that the 'Tribute' team knew how to make a quality game by their background, but as a reviewer I had to see for myself ...

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Convict Interactive - Rebecca Fernandez (Convict Minigames)

You can probably imagine that a blogger such as myself hardly gets any personal review requests, but that when I do it really means a lot. It tells me that I'm doing something right, and that I'm connecting well with the gaming community. Recently 'Rebecca Frenandez' of Convict Interactive contacted me about reviewing her new XBLIG game. I had never actually looked into the game until she sent me an email. This morning I took the time to look at the youtube video that was attached to the email letter as well as another video I found about Rebecca herself. I think its definitely cool that new developers are finding their place in the gaming industry. It's always good to see new talent, and new games arise from these new developers' imaginations. I can seriously see Rebecca going far in the gaming industry even if she is only doing indie games at the moment. After watching that video about her attending the E3 convention I can definitely tell she has the motivation for it, as well as the education to make her ideas a reality. I hope to be able to review more of her games as time goes on. I'm going to include the two videos I previously mentioned in this post, so you can see what I'm speaking of ...