Wednesday, November 30, 2011

NanoSquad (XBLIG): "An Anime Style/Squadron Based Shmup"

I'm a guy who loves all kinds, and forms of entertainment. In fact I really like experiencing other cultures' music, and video games. For years I have immersed myself in music from various countries as well as video games from Japan. I never thought I'd see such a diverse cast of developers from various regions of the world contributing to one console like they do on the Xbox 360. Recently during my search for games to review I found an interesting shmup (shooter) that was made by a group of very friendly Arabic game developers (Indie Saudi). The shmup was titled 'NanoSquad', and it was an anime themed game that involved nano technology/research. The cast of characters in the game were represented by some very cool anime drawings/pictures. The plot of the game was deeply involved, and featured a wide cast of characters with Arabic names. NanoSquad is a one-of-a-kind shmup that can be played with friends (co-op), or alone. Either way you play you will use 4 different jets that each have their own unique weapons, and abilities. You're goal is to survive to the end of each stage, and defeat a boss. Between the gameplay action there is a story that is played out through dialogue giving the game a mythology of it's own.

Elfsquad7 (XBLIG): "A Cool Christmas Crisis Co-op Game"

I'm a huge fan of the Christmas holiday, and I always have been. During my childhood it was all about the toys, and video games I would get but as I grew older Christmas took on a different meaning for me. It became a time when family found common ground, and would spend some quality time together. It is definitely nice to spend Christmas with loved ones, but deep down I still enjoy the presents that I get (I probably always will ...). As a new XBLIG reviewer I recently encountered my first holiday themed games when Halloween rolled around this year. I was really glad to see developers producing some good indie titles for that holiday. I've found during my time as an Xbox 360 reviewer that the indie games cover a wide variety of genres, and themes. It's something I've definitely grown to love about the Xbox 360. After scouring Youtube for review material recently I found a Christmas oriented game that genuinely caught my attention. The name of that game was "Elfsquad7", and it was developed by 'Tykocom'. I ended up watching a gameplay video of it, and I decided that even though I could only go solo in it I still wanted to review it. It honestly looked very impressive to me, and I couldn't wait to try it out ...

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

MW3 vs BF3 (Xbox 360): "The Breakdown"

As most of you know by now I own/play both 'CoD: Modern Warfare 3', and 'Battlefield 3' for the Xbox 360. I know that a lot of you are still curious as to which is the better game, and this article will try help explain the differences between each of them. Earlier in the week a friend told me that you can't really do a true comparison of the two games, because they are totally different in terms of what they offer. After considering that I decided the best way to do my article is to give my readers the lowdown on what's good, and what's bad about each game. The article will be arranged out in sections that describe various parts of the games including graphics, sound quality, gameplay, controls, customization, modes, and other features.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

ChainCrusher Enhanced Version Trailer!

Recently I posted details from an email I received about the enhanced version of Mindware Ltd.'s "ChainCrusher (XBLIG)" game. It mentioned a lot of improvements as well as some really cool additions to the game including an online leaderboard, new music tracks, and a stand alone music mode. This morning during my routine Youtube browsing I found the new extended version trailer which I would like to share with you ...

NOTE: If you have already purchased "ChainCrusher" the update is free, but if you haven't the game will cost you 400 msp.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Perkunas' Dragon Episode One (XBLIG): "Slovanic Mythology Told Through Shmup, RPG & Puzzle Gameplay"

I'm a huge fan of any kind of mythology. I remember spending countless hours reading up on Greek, and Egyptian myths at the local library during the earlier part of my life. With that being said my interest in mythology spanned all cultures, and civilizations. I often dreamed of becoming an archaeologist, and some day unearthing the remnants/histories of long forgotten civilizations. Of course I abandoned that dream to become the reviewer that I am today (^.^). While reviewing video games is far from finding lost civilizations, and their mythologies it still allows me to spend time in mythologies of the digital kind. Middle Lands Studios, the developer behind the "Perkunas' Dragon" series kindly allowed me to review their first game in what's supposed to be a series based on a mythological Slovanic tale. It involves The god Perkunas, a prayer from a desperate duke (Duke Radbod), and Zithira the dragoness which Perkuna has sent to him as an answer to his prayer ...

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Xotic (XBLA): "An FPS Hybrid Like No Other"

I rarely ever get excited solely by the looks of an XBLIG, or XBLA game. In this case something about 'WXP Game's (The Developer)' new FPS Hybrid titled "Xotic" really caught my attention. In fact it held my attention to the point that I watched all of the trailers, and videos about it as I sent multiple review requests hoping to secure a code. I was definitely determined to get this game for review. To me 'Xotic' seemed like one of those "next best thing" sort of games. It's not often that someone reinvents a genre in an entirely new way. WXP Games not only reinvented the FPS genre, but made a game unlike anything I have ever seen. The originality I witnessed in 'Xotic' was truly awe inspiring to say the least.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Who's the Daddy? (XBLIG): "A Hilarious Jab At Underage Pregnancy"

A couple of months back my good friend (or at least I consider him to be ...), and indie developer Jonathan F. of 'Silver Dollar Games' posted one of the most funny XBLIG concepts I had ever seen. The name of that video/game was "Who's the Daddy?", and it wasn't actually meant to be released (according to Jonathan F. himself). I had actually got such a good laugh out of the original video that I suggested to the developer that he should release it on the Xbox Live Marketplace. He informed me that he would try to release it which I was definitely glad to hear that. After a couple of months passed my hopes for the release became a distant thing, but I'm glad to say that 'Silver Dollar Games' went through with it and released "Who's the Daddy?". While it's not one of the most involved XBLIG titles out there it's still worth the 80 msp for the laugh ...

Hell's House (XBLIG): "An Interactive Horror Story"

I'm a huge fan of the horror genre. Whether it's in video games, or movies I love the adrenaline pumping scares that the horror genre offers. It's the kind of thing that will keep your heart beating (unless it scares you to death first ...). Halloween 2011 has come, and gone unfortunately. I had sent my request to get this game for review before Halloween had ended, but it wasn't until earlier of this week that 'BM Games (Brave Men Games/The Developer)' decided to reply to my request. It was likely due to the fact that I contacted them through Youtube, so the fault probably lies with me. Nevertheless I was glad to get the game for review. Like many of the indie games I have reviewed here, "Hell's House" offers something unique. I was glad to get the chance to experience it for myself, and share what I experienced with you (my dedicated readers).

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Chain Crusher Enhanced Version *Update/Stand Alone*

I just recieved an email from a developer friend of mine (Micky G. Albert) about an upcoming update on their XBLIG title 'Chain Crusher'. The following is a part of the email I recieved:

Saturday, November 12, 2011

You're All Diseased! (XBLIG): "Saving Digital Lives Shmup Style!"

Earlier this year I reviewed a simple shmup (shoot 'em up) called 'Pixelosity', and stated that it would likely be one of my shortest reviews. The same applies to this review, but don't let that discourage you from getting this game. You're All Diseased is a unique dual thumbstick shmup that was developed by 'PicWin Studios/Dejitaru Forge'. It has you taking on the role of a white blood cell as it travels through veins, and organs. The goal is to simply eradicate all the virus, diseases, and bacteria that try to attack you. As you make your way through the veins in the game you will encounter a wide variety of enemies that look like the cells of a human being. Your only defense against the biological attackers is the bullet spray that you shoot from your white blood cell. As you kill enemies without getting hit you will earn point (saved lives) multipliers. When your white blood cell finally dies off (loses all 3 lives) you will be given a final score letting you know how many points, or lives you have saved. You also create vaccines from power-ups that you collect. This will also be added to your final score. You're All Diseased is a highscore oriented game, so survivng for as long as you can will give you the opportunity to place high on the game's leaderboard.

Invasion (XBLIG): "Comedy, Sarcasm & Solid Gameplay Ready To Invade Your Xbox 360."

Invasion is the second game in what seems to be a series by the XBLIG developer 'Heart Attack Machine'. The first game titled 'Parasitus Ninja Zero' which I reviewed earlier this year seems to be the prequel/sequel to 'Invasion'. In 'Invasion' you take on the role of the 'soldier (Stockton)' character that was unlockable in 'Parasitus Ninja Zero'. The game features familiar 'Contra' style gameplay, and has a 'Castlevania' look about it. While there are some visual similarities to the previously mentioned games, the graphics are much more impressive, and the soundtrack is superb. The story of the game is all over the place though, and is haunted by bad jokes and brief sexual innuendo. I'm not actually sure why the developer went this route with the game, but the mature look of it and the childish humor just doesn't mix well.

Friday, November 11, 2011

CastleMiner Z (XBLIG): "Horror Survival CastleMiner Style!"

I have watched my nephew play 'Minecraft' religiously this year, and I've always been curious about that type of game. I noticed that the Xbox Live Marketplace has had a few spin-offs of 'Minecraft', but I had never actually got the chance to play or review one. When I saw that 'DigitalDNA (The Developer)' had released a zombie version of the game with FPS gameplay mechanics I knew I had to get it for review. I absolutely love horror survival games, and first person shooters! I was definitely wondering how well these two themes would be incorporated into this game. I was pleasantly surprised with what I found, and even stepped into someone's created world to share the experience. I hope that 'GT: FloatingWinter' didn't mind the intrusion, but I was grateful that they offered me a safe place to stay for when the zombies began to attack in 'Survival' mode. It was a fun experience, and a learning one as well. In the end I'm always glad to try out new things.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Flow Rider (XBLIG): "An Affordable Yet Impressive Top-Down Boat Racing Game"

Flow Rider is one of those XBLIG titles that pushes the boundaries between what an indie game offers, and what an arcade (XBLA) game offers. Triple B Games the developers behind 'Flow Rider' have made the game easily accessible to players, and presented it in a visually stunning manner. The game itself features both single, and multiplayer modes that can be played online and offline. The singleplayer mode has 4 racing tiers with 5 races in each tier. There are a total of 19 tracks (Deluge, Laguna, Pipeline ...) to play on, and 4 vehicle types (Behemoth, Cyclone, Scarab, Splitter) to choose from. The boats feature simple color customization, and vehicle specific attributes (speed, boost, armor, agility) that effect how the boat maneuvers within the game. The tracks in 'Flow Rider' feature dynamic lighting, and an ever-changing prism of colors. The game is all about speed, and winning. Getting that 1st place medal in the game will require the proper use of boosts, and track shortcuts.

Monday, November 7, 2011

BurgerTime World Tour (XBLA): "A Fast Paced Fast Food Arcade Game Frenzy"

During my time as a gamer I have never really played a game like 'BurgerTime World Tour'. I do realize that there was a release of BurgerTime for a retro console (The NES I believe???), but I never really got the opportunity to see what it was about. Aside from it's classic gaming roots BurgerTime had previously been re-released as a next generation XBLA game that played, and looked very similar to this one (BurgerTime HD). Monkey Paw Games the developers behind this wacky puzzle/platformer revived the title once more with newly added features that includes an online multiplayer mode, and Xbox live avatar compatability. The offline mode features 4 worlds with multiple levels in which 'Peter Pepper' competes against rival burger makers by completing burgers (layer by layer). His task is complicated by attacks from various enemy foods (hot dogs, Limburger Cheese, Eggs, Pickles, Peppers ...), obstacles, traps, and level sized bosses that constantly block his path to progress.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Escape Goat (XBLIG): "A Truly Impressive Retro Platformer"

I recently reviewed two platformers that were lacking in quality gameplay. The games in question offered a challenge, but unfortunately the challenge was based on avoiding cheap deaths. when I sent an inquiry about 'Escape Goat' I was seriously hoping that this wouldn't be a repeat of one of those 'impossible' games. MagicalTimeBean, the developers behind this retro marvel did not disappoint. I was able to complete the entire game without suffering from too many pointless deaths (there were a few). The puzzle solving in the game took a good bit of thinking, but it wasn't something that you had to be a genius at to solve. I ended up really liking the game. The fact that the developer included a detailed level editor made the game even better.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Professional $tealer (XBLIG): "Sidescrolling Parkour Thievery"

I recently got a request from the PR of this game about doing a review of it. As always I was glad to accept the job, and give my honest opinion about the game. Professional $tealer was developed by 'Aly Ameen/Brush and Code'. It's a 2D sidescrolling platformer that uses a constant running theme mixed with parkour style gameplay. I have actually reviewed a few XBLIG titles on my blog that feature similar gameplay styles, and I enjoyed them. This wasn't the case with 'Professional $tealer though ... In 'Professional $tealer' the player (stick man) takes on the role of a thief who is constantly on the run from cops. The thief in question has to dodge different obstacles in his/her path (jets, satellites, rockets, cops) using simple parkour style moves (jumps, wall jumping, sliding). There are three modes of play in the game that include singleplayer, multiplayer, and a score based mode called 'challenge'. The goal in each mode is simple. As the theif you must keep on the run, dodge obstacles, and make it to the end.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Sins of the Flesh (XBLIG): "A Haunting Story Told With Shmup Style Gameplay"

This year has brought with it some really impressive XBLIG titles from some equally impressive developers. I'm definitely glad to have got to review such creative indie game masterpieces in the short time that I have been doing reviews. Silver Dollar Games is among the most impressive developers that I have had the chance to review for, and they have yet to let me down with any of their releases. Whenever I see that 'Silver Dollar Games' has released a new XBLIG title I do not hesitate in contacting them about reviewing it. This was definitely the case with their recent release of 'Sins of the Flesh'. When I first looked at the cover art of their game it was a serious "WOW!" moment. I wanted to see what the game was like immediately, so I downloaded the trial. What I found was a very cool story driven polarity style shmup (Think 'Ikaruga'). The demo itself didn't even touch base with what the full game offered. I found this out after securing a review token of the game, and doing a full playthrough of it ...

Hope For Jena ... Jena Has Passed Away (Nov. 1, 2011)

You may have noticed by now that I have removed the 'Hope For Jena' banner as well as the original post about the donations. I recieved some sad news this morning on Twitter that my friend @IRGRL's sister Jena had passed away. She died on Nov. 1, 2011 (3am) after a serious struggle with leukemia. I appreciate any donations that you have contributed to Jena's cause as I'm sure @IRGRL is also. It is hard to lose a loved one. My thoughts, and prayers are with @IRGRL, and her family as they go through their time of mourning.

- Brad C. (OtakuDante) -