This last week, I've taken an uncharacteristic break to prepare for E3 and get a cheeky bit of cheap sunshine thanks to a last-minute deal... but enough lame excuses [I thought we fired you? -Ed]. Whilst I've been separated from my console, my Windows 7 mobile has staunchly stayed within easy reach - so it's time to round up some of the best indie games to have supported the fledgling platform!
Well, after a little rant. Before last year's Xbox.com site redesign that included indie games into the browser marketplace, Microsoft rightfully took a lot of flak for failing to give these titles enough exposure. Unfortunately they've failed to learn from their mistakes, meaning that Indie games aren't hosted in the browser marketplace along with their Microsoft-published big brothers.
The upshot is that you'll need Zune (groan) installed to take advantage of the download links... and it took a fair bit of detective work using Bing's (groan harder) visual search to track them down. Prepare for an longer, angrier rant at a later date. I now return you to our feature presentation.
If Hypership Out Of Control looks familiar, it's because Fun Infused Games' breakthrough indie hit is no stranger to our Game Of The Week roundups. In fact, we rated it as one of the best XBLI titles of 2010... and it's now also one of the best games on Windows 7 phones.Click here to continue our mobile indie adventure! >>
In a break with tradition, I'm going to start this week's column with an appeal for more of you to try out our previous GOTW. Avatar Adventurers Online is the first Xbox Live Indie MMO and is growing into a truly inclusive experience. The small community is extremely friendly and willing to help newcomers get into the groove- but it will need a thriving player base to ultimately succeed.
You owe it to yourself- and the hard-working developers- to give this one a go.
Right, onto this week's two standout games!
By now, you should all be familiar with the concept of Breakout. IonBall appears to be a steampunk clone of the arcade classic at first glance; providing familiar block-busting gameplay along with attractive gritty art design. However, it soon becomes clear that Ironsun's effort is an entirely different beast thanks to RPG mechanics... and boss battles?! Breakout will never be the same again.
The core gameplay remains unchanged from the original formula. Players control a paddle at the bottom of the screen and need to clear the field of coloured blocks by bouncing a ball around. Once a level is completed, though, you'll earn experience to upgrade your paddle in a number of different ways. Simple improvements such as increased width or faster movement will naturally make the proceedings much easier, but a slew of more interesting features (such as being able to influence the ball's movement with the analog stick) provides some more thoughtful options for skilled players.Click here to continue this week's Indie Adventure!