Saturday, December 31, 2011

OtakuDante's Top 10 XBLA & XBLIG of 2011

This year has likely been the best year of my life. It's the year I started my own Xbox 360 review blog, and the year that I gained great respect from the online gaming community. While the year did start off rough for me with the PS3 hacking incident that ended my life as a Sony gamer, it still finished on a good note. I found something special when I took my leap of faith, and invested in a new Xbox 360 console. It was a hard decision for me, but one that I'm glad I made. As months passed by in 2011 I managed to complete over 140 reviews on my newly made review blog, "OtakuDante's Gaming Inferno". My blog currently has over 17,000 page views which I would have never dreamed possible in my career as a freelance reviewer. I took a chance, and made it big. Without my friends, readers and review code contributions from developers I would have failed miserably. As I mentioned in my "Special Thanks" section I'm a man who is thankful for the blessings I receive, and I'd like to thank all of you who made this dream come true for me. Thank you so much! Without further adieu I give you my "Top 10 of 2011". It's a list that will shed light on those 10 special game gems I have found through my reviews in 2011 ...

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Homeless (XBLIG): "A Story Driven Street Life Sim"

It seems that everywhere you look these days there are signs of bad things going on. The world economy is dangling by a thread, the stock market plummets and rises, and unemployment has become a steadily growing occurrence all over the planet. While 'Homeless' doesn't directly discuss these happenings, it does give you a glimpse into how hard it can be having to live on the streets. This topic has hit home for so many people, and for so many reasons. I think 'Silver Dollar Games (the developer)' did an awesome thing by releasing this game to the public. It's the sort of game that sheds light on a very serious problem. I think the developer (Silver Dollar Games) said it best in their game description which simply stated "Be thankful for what you have".

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Game Type (XBLIG): "The Xbox 360 Dashboard Through The Eyes Of An Indie Developer"

If you are an active part of the Xbox 360 indie game community as I am, then you'll have a good idea what the new dashboard has done for the XBLIG genre. By now all Xbox 360 gamers have updated their consoles with the newest version of Xbox's dashboard. You have probably found yourself lost among the menus in search for new content, and games as well. You are definitely not alone in this matter. It seems Microsoft has decided to go the unfriendly route, and make a mess of things for indie developers. At first I found myself hopelessly lost among the game marketplace sections wondering how much it was going to complicate my search for games to review.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Colonies: NeoCiv (XBLIG): "A Beautifully Rendered 3D Science Fiction Indie"

I had the opportunity earlier this year to review one of 'Guy Galer/Twist-ed Games' XBLIG titles "Bureau Agent Kendall". If I remember correctly Guy Galer was one of the first indie developers I contacted for review purposes. He was a pleasant guy who was willing to give me a shot at reviewing his visually, and mechanically impressive game. At that time I had found the trailer to "Bureau Agent Kendall" on Youtube, and was truly impressed at how amazing the graphics appeared. I knew at that time that Guy Galer was a very experienced developer who knew how to deliver quality games even if they were just indie titles. Recently during my search for new XBLIG titles to review I stumbled upon Guy Galer's latest creation, "Colonies: NeoCiv". I immediately went to Youtube in search for some gameplay footage, and after watching some I knew I had to get this game for review.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

FireFly Vegas (XBLIG): "A Visually Brilliant Arena Based Shmup"

There a variety of game types within the shmup genre including side-scrollers, bullet hell, and arena based games. RockMint, the developer behind "FireFlyVegas" created their game with graphics that truly suited the title. The game is an enclosed arena based shmup full of brilliantly lit neon shaped enemies that are constantly attacking, and filling the playing field. FireFly Vegas features two different game types (Retro & Dynamic) along with two modes of play (Clock & Survival) in each one. Retro mode takes the classic arena formula, and applies some soothing music with fast paced shmup action. Dynamic is an expert mode that allows the player to rotate the arena 360 degrees while fending of approaching enemies. As with most shmups there are power-ups, point multipliers, and various weapon types that can be obtained/used. This is a dual thumbstick shmup that also utilizes the shoulder buttons for shooting, thrusting, and even jumping. While the game is similar to other shmups it is still it's own game.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Pinball FX2 (XBLA): "MARVEL Pinball: Vengeance & Virtue"

Zen Studios, the developer of all 'Pinball FX2' tables have once again allowed me to review their latest release. This time around they created four new tables in the 'MARVEL Pinball" series. This DLC set was properly titled "Vengeance & Virtue". The brand new tables feature 'X-MEN', 'THOR', 'Ghost Rider', and 'Moon Knight' themes. Each table has details that stay true to the corresponding comic book hero's, and villain's stories. As with any Pinball FX2 table there are 3D elements, impressive voice acting, and animated events that accent each table's theme. After playing each table for a while I found them to have a moderate to hard difficulty, and a variety of different features that take some getting used to. I will breakdown each table's pro's, con's and details for you in this review.

Friday, December 16, 2011

They Breathe (XBLIG): "An Eerie Underwater Survival Game"

This is one of those games that takes an old concept, and makes it into something totally unique. If you have ever played the old "Sonic the Hedgehog" games then you'll be familiar with the air bubble concept. The developer (The Working Parts) took the air bubble concept a giant leap forward, and made it into an indie game titled "They Breathe". The game has the player taking on the role of a frog who is constantly diving to the lower depths of what seems to be a flooded forest area. Along the way the frog must compete against other living creatures for air that comes in the form of air bubbles. The game is filled with odd land dwelling, and water dwelling creatures (frogs, moose, giant jellyfish). If you can last long enough to make it to the bottom of the flooded plain then you will be met with a surprise ...

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Nyan Cat Adventure (XBLIG): "A Game Of Sensory Overload Featuring Nyan Cat"

It wasn't until I reviewed "Bloody Checkers (XBLIG)" earlier this year, and found the hidden Nyan Cat easter egg in it that I realized what Nyan Cat was all about. On my occasional hunt for new Youtube videos to watch I would sometimes see Nyan Cat related videos that were uploaded. I passed them up many times thinking that it looked like another silly trend. After a while I noticed that it was seriously becoming a trend, and that other Nyan Cat type creatures were being shown on Youtube as well. One day (recently) when I was searching for review material on I noticed a gameplay video of "Nyan Cat Adventure", and out of sheer curiosity I watched it. After seeing what I saw I just had to get it for review. I realized that it was a score based game, and to be honest it looked really interesting to me. As usual I sought out the developer's (21 Street Games LLC) permission to review their game, and did my playthrough of all the modes before finally sitting down to do this review.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Spartans In Candyland (XBLIG): "THIS ISN'T SPARTAAAAAA! It's A CTF Shmup!"

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to play a shmup (shoot 'em up) that featured CTF (Capture the Flag) gameplay along with a Spartans versus Aliens conflict? Well if you have, Marklund Games (the developer) has an answer for you with their latest dual thumbstick shmup/CTF hybrid, "Spartans in Candyland! This one to four player game features a unique roster of four half naked (according to the developer ^.^) gun carrying Spartans who's sole purpose is to survive the constant attacks of swarming Candyland aliens. You have at your disposal (upon pick up) a variety of weapons that include a flamethrower, rocket launcher, grenade launcher, scout rifle, shotgun, and two special abilities (varies per Spartan). The battlefield in which this games unique war takes place is a suburban setup that is 3D in nature, and features a labyrinth style layout filled with parked cars, buildings, and gigantic sweet deserts. The enemies are plenty, but vary little in design. The longer you survive the game the more difficult the aliens will become to kill. Your goal/purpose in this madness is to capture highlighted areas for points which appear at random locations on the map.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Angry Zombie Ninja Cats (XBLIG): "A Unique Platforming Experience"


I absolutely love it when a developer goes out of their way to make a game that is unique. These days there are lots of clones out there, and definitely a lot of zombie games. Oneksoft (AWWW-NECK-SOFT) Games created a zombie game unlike any other I have seen this year. It's a platformer titled "Angry Zombie Ninja Cats", and all of the words within the game's name definitely have something to do with it. The game is an XBLIG title that has the player taking on the role of a cartoon styled ninja cat, and puts them up against some zombified versions of the ninja feline race. While I didn't really find a story, or plot behind this game I imagine that the character you play as is simply trying to eradicate the zombie infestation while gathering all the loot/gems from within the areas/levels.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Zombie Slaughter Is Fun! (XBLIG): "A Dual Thumbstick Zombie Shmup FTW!"

By now most of my readers know I'm a die hard shmup (shoot 'em up) fan. I absolutely love any shmup that offers unique gameplay, and leaderboards (especially online leaderboards). It actually took me by surprise that 'Frooty Game Studios' would not only venture into making a zombie game, but also that they made it a shmup as well. Their latest game 'Zombie Slaughter is Fun!' takes the overhead zombie shmup genre to a new level, and has gamers punishing zombies who are actually fleeing for their lives (or lack there of ^.^). The game features an awesome array of weapon power-ups that literally cover the playing field as you slaughter the incoming/outgoing zombie attackers. The fact that the game is based on highscores, and features a multiplayer only makes it that much better.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Volchaos (XBLIG): "A Punishing Retro Platformer With Humor"

About a week ago 'Fun Infused Games', the developers behind 'Volchaos' requested that I do a review of their game, and as usual I gladly accepted. I'm not really into punishing games that test your patience, but 'Volchaos' didn't seem as extreme as some other games I have previously played ('Platformance: Temple Death' comes to mind ...).  After dealing with family issues for a while I finally got the chance to do my playthrough of the game. It was definitely a unique experience, and I continued to play even though I died numerous times throughout my playthrough. If you're a hasty player then you'll likely suffer the same redundant deaths as I did. I found that I'm a rather impatient player myself, and I definitely payed the price for being so in this game.

Orbitron Revolution (XBLIG): "A Shmup That Should Have Been An XBLA Title"

I have been anxiously awaiting the release of 'Orbitron Revolution' for quite some time now. It was one of those indie games with a jaw-dropping trailer that makes you want it really bad. I had actually got my first glimpse of the game earlier this year not long after I began work on this review site. It looked as if it were XBLA quality, and the trailer was truly amazing to behold. Sadly when I finally got my review copy of the game family, and health issues came up that prevented me from doing a proper playthrough of the game, and deliver my review in a timely fashion. I am finally here though, ready to give you (my readers) a review of this visually stunning shmup.