Robert Boyd (Cthulhu Saves The World, Penny Arcade Adventures Episode 3 & 4) and Nathan Fouts (Explosionade, Serious Sam: Double D) have spoken out about the Xbox One's potential for self-publishing, having been heavily involved with Xbox Live Indie Games over the past few years.
The gist? Great idea, but go big or don't bother showing up to Gamescom.Click here to read more...
Developer: Zeboyd Games
When you crave an old-school RPG experience that blends fresh new gameplay ideas with irreverent humour and impressive depth, there's only one developer to call. Zeboyd Games take inspiration from the classic RPGs of yesteryear, poking fun at genre conventions and clichés with hilarious abandon, while imitating the painstakingly detailed sprite art that made them so enduring. But instead of copying their gameplay, Robert Boyd and co. deconstructs them system by system, work out what made them tick, then rebuilds them better than they were before. They have the technology.
Having crafted Breath Of Death VII and Cthulhu Saves The World, Zeboyd were handed the Penny Arcade Adventures by Krahulik and Holkins, and utterly smashed it. The fusion of Tycho's acerbic writing with Boyd's attention to detail produced the strongest series entry in Rain-Slick Episode 3, so after several months of intensive development, they're back with the final chapter in the Penny Arcade saga.
It's brilliant. Obviously.Click here to read more...
Joystiq have scored the first trailer for Penny Arcade's On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness 4, the fourth instalment of the popular indie RPG series based on Krahulik and Holkins' webcomic. Expect demonic talking trains, magical caves and monsters to capture before sending them into battle. Since Robert Boyd is at the helm once again, having delivering the exceptional Penny Arcade Episode 3 and Cthulhu Saves The World, we're rather excited about this.
Episode 4 is out in "Spring 2013" on PC and the Xbox Live Indie marketplace. We've embedded the trailer after the break.Click here to read more...
George Clingerman, one of the Xbox Live Indie Game MVPs (a heroic mix of community managers, tech support and dispensers of invaluable advice to fledgling developers), has spoken out on Microsoft's decision to stop supporting the XNA Game Studio toolkit. Though he wasn't surprised by the move, Clingerman has been floored by the emotional outpouring from the "strong and passionate" development community that XNA helped to foster, and believes that Microsoft needs to "keep some corner carved out for indies" in the next generation.
Hear hear. You can read the full details after the break.Click here to read more...
Summer Uprising III has come to a close, bringing us another four days of intriguing and worthwhile Xbox Live Indie games. As promised in Part 1, it's time to get involved with Week 2's micro-review roundup: which includes Entropy, City Tuesday, Xenominer and Pixel.
Yes, I admit that the article is a bit late - but time makes fools of us all. Especially in the silly season when a relatively quiet week can turn into sleepless Torchlight and Borderlands-powered delirium.
Get Trial/Buy: 80 Microsoft Points
Entropy is easily one of the most accomplished puzzlers I've ever played on XBLIG. From a first-person perspective, you'll manipulate the base physical properties of objects and fluids to solve an increasingly clever series of puzzles. Though things start slow and simple, but build to pleasingly cerebral levels after the first dozen levels. 80 Microsoft Points will net you a seriously good-looking game too, with only a slightly choppy framerate betraying its humble roots.Click here to read more...
If Summer Of Arcade 2012 left you with crushing disappointment and a fat stack of Microsoft Points, the Xbox Live Indie community are on hand with a promotion of their very own. The Summer Uprising has entered its third year of championing quality XBLIG development and the latest selection is already very tasty indeed.
After kicking off last Monday, Summer Uprising III has brought us Qrth-Phyl, Sententia, Diehard Dungeon, Gateways and Smooth Operators: an astoundingly varied selection of different genres, art styles and gameplay concepts.
The silly season may almost be upon us, but there'll be plenty of time to deal with the oncoming AAA tidal wave soon enough. For now, here's a rundown of the first week of Summer Uprising titles, complete with links to the marketplace and brisk micro-reviews for your purchasing convenience.
Get Trial/Buy Now: 80 Microsoft Points
Half Snake, half Blockade and half history lesson, Qrth-Phyl is another astoundingly deep title from Hermitgames. Matt James (Leave Home & Frenze) has proved to be a master of layering deep metaphor and meaning into mechanics and art direction, and this is no exception: an addictive and evolving experience that serves to educate players about classic arcade games and hereditary genetic code.Click here to read more...
Summer Uprising III, the annual semi-official festival of quality Xbox Live Indie development, has kicked off today with the launch of qrth-phyl from Hermit Games.The surreal Snake-a-like is available now for 80 Microsoft Points, or as part of an incredibly attractive PC bundle.
Qrth-phyl heralds the start of an excellent game arriving on the service every single day, including platformers, dungeon crawlers, puzzle games and even a call centre simulation. We've got the full schedule after the break.Click here to read more...
Jet Set Willy 360, an officially-licensed port of Matthew Smith's 1984 Speccy platformer, will be released on Xbox Live and Windows Phone 7 this weekend.
But considering that it was impossible to complete due to an infamous late-game bug, can we expect to see the end this time?Click here to read more...
It's the long tepid summer again, which can only mean one thing: it's time for the Xbox Live Indie Summer Uprising to shake things up. Following on from last year's festival of quality XBLIG titles, Summer Uprising III will be featuring a massive selection of exciting games including an "arcade documentary," a time-bending puzzle platformer, experimental projects and "a game where players will control a man who is stuck reliving the final 5 minutes of his life before a terrorist attack." We've got a trailer and details below - this is going to be a hot one.Click here to read more...
Developer: Tribute Games
When the artist behind peerless modern brawler Scott Pilgrim Vs The World designs an Arkanoid-style brick breaker mixed with 16-Bit RPGs, you've got to sit up and pay attention. As you'd expect considering Tribute Games' pedigree, Wizorb looks absolutely sensational, perfectly channelling the big pixel retro aesthetic and authentic/nostalgic feel of classic titles like Shining Force or Final Fantasy, while also fusing Breakout's gameplay with all the magical powers of a traditional black mage. This is a thing that we want. We like this immensely. So seeing as it first came out nearly ten months ago, you'd be well within your rights to ask why we don't have a Wizorb review on-site already.
Because I suck, basically. Having embarrassingly missed Wizorb when it first graced the XBLIG channel and fumbling the catch, I then botched the opportunity to cover the PC version. Now, thankfully, Wizorb has released on the PS3 and Vita as a PS Mini - so I can correct my costly mistake. And tell you, once and for all, that Wizorb is really rather grand.
Click here to read more...
The Penny Arcade Adventures couldn't be in safer hands. Hothead sadly had to withdraw from the field after their first two competent yet arguably overpriced games hit the downloadable marketplaces, but Zeboyd's Robert Boyd stepped into the breach in a collaboration for the ages. Armed with his impeccable eye for attractive 2D spritework and retro-inspired mechanics, the Indie developer behind Cthulhu Saves The World set to creating another epic quest for Gabe and Tycho's Startling Developments detective agency; taking our heroes into new territories and plumbing new depths. With 100% extra haikus this time around. Bargain.
The combination of Jerry Holkins' writing with Boyd's anarchic style inescapably leads to hilarious consequences. Gabe and Tycho's irreverent journey through the city of New Arcadia to recover the legendary Necrowombicon (for starters) is both witty and referential; revelling in in razor-sharp dialogue, multifaceted observational humour, self-aware parody and funny enemy/item descriptions - the latter being the traditional feeding ground for humorous games. You'll need to be an avid Penny Arcade reader with a degree from Miskatonic University to make the most of the setting, and some experience with the first two Hothead-developed games will come in useful, but new players will still be able to laugh at most of the jokes.
And yet, even if you take humour out of the equation, Episode 3 still manages to surpass both of its predecessors.
Click here to read more...
Controversial (and brilliant) Xbox Live Indie crafting game FortressCraft has sold over 750,000 copies, according to developer Adam "DJArcas" Sawkins. This makes it one of the most successful XBLIG titles of all time, having made Sawkins over one million Dollars in revenue. Though frequently - and venomously - compared to MineCraft, the project packed plenty of creativity of its own, and clearly resonated with the console audience.
In our FortressCraft interview, Sawkins bemoaned the fact that Xbox Live Indie games had failed to produce a "million-seller." Perhaps his own title could eventually prove him wrong, as well as the long-term viability of the XBLIG service? With luck, Microsoft will take notice and attempt to support the oft-ignored scene with better advertising and developer relations.
Magiko Gaming's latest indie title, Platformines, has been playing on our minds for some time. Its enormous seed-generated worlds, massive guns, character customisation and exploration are looking extremely impressive (you can read more in our Platformines Interview), and Magiko has announced that it's now nearly fit for task. Only "a few weeks" of development time remains, which will be spent polishing the experience, tweaking the mechanics, adding content and ensuring that the PC controls work properly.
Platformines will offer procedurally-generated platforming levels that will last up to ten hours, through which players will run, gun, explore and craft their own armaments. You can read their latest update here.
Last November, we featured Grand Class Melee in one of our Xbox Live Game Of The Week roundups; praising the multiplayer brawler's customisation options, smooth action and great visuals. Gigatross Games has now announced a sequel for the PC, "adding online multiplayer and expanding the game in every conceivable way," but will need to secure some crowd funding in order to get the ball rolling.
We've got the details - and their pitch - below. It's a bit like "Bomberman meets Zelda with an RPG job system twist."Click here to read more...
The Xbox 360's Metro dashboard update shafted Indie games good and proper, burying them deep within an arcane list of marketplace menus. But help is now at hand if you happen to own a Windows 7 Phone, courtesy of an sterling effort from developers Dave Voyles and Casey Young. These two indie heroes have created a companion app that allows you to browse the marketplace, view ratings and then queue up trials/full versions to download onto your Xbox 360 directly. It's a crying shame that Microsoft hasn't provided one themselves - considering that the indie marketplace is a massive unique selling point for their console - but it's a fantastic effort nonetheless.
Eleventy-Aught Studios have confirmed that Android and iOS versions are in the works, and we'll let you know when they're available.
Imagine, if you will, my horror at discovering that only three Xbox Live Indie games released this week... and then realising that two of them are zombie games. I screamed and wailed. I ground my teeth into a fine silky powder. I cried and peed.
And then, perversely, imagine my surprise when I played them... only to discover that they're both pretty good. If you're willing to look past the hackneyed source material, we've got two worthy winners this week. So let's do this in alphabetical order.
If you're an avid follower of Xbox Live Indie Games, you may have already heard of Red Tie Miner. Maximinus' original dig 'em up released at the tail end of 2011, and tasked players with excavating their way out of an enormous sprawling mine while collecting mineral resources to spend on equipment and upgrades. It was a fun little game that played a little like an attractive cross between Dig Dug and Minecraft, but was somewhat devoid of threat or purpose beyond simple escape.
The obvious solution, therefore, would be to throw in a bunch of flesh-eating zombies to hound your every move. And that's exactly what they did.Click here to read more...
Another slow week leaves us with only one real contender for our Indie GOTW trophy; standing alone in a small and mediocre selection of also-rans and unbelievably-priced disasters. So without further ado, I bring you the best of a bad bunch... followed by the bunch itself.
Damn, but that's a horrible title. We've gotten absolutely sick of the zombie games infection on XBLIG and gaming in general, and UBERZOMBIE USA does its best to pretend to be "just another" cynical cash-in that attempts to milk an already-curdling cliché.
But don't browse away just yet. Despite what the name and MS Paint box art might have you believe, UBERZOMBIE is actually a great little action/tower defence hybrid; packed with value, longevity and surprising depth.Click here to read more...
Cards on the table: this hasn't been a great week for Indie games.
I've lost track of the number of times that the phrase "well, I suppose I've played worse" escaped my lips over the last few days, and apart from a single standout title, you're probably better off spending your Microsoft Points on EvilQuest, L.A.R.A. or Avatar Grand Prix 2.
Still, at least we have a winner.
Joe Danger: Special Edition costs 1200 Microsoft Points. Trials HD costs 1200 Microsoft Points. And Toy Stunt Bike 2 costs eighty.
Basic mathematics, therefore, suggests that this latest physics-based motocross romp needs to at most 15 times worse than either in order to be worth a purchase - and I'm delighted to report that it's much better than that.Click here to read more...
There's nothing worse than seeing a game fall short of its potential, and this week, what could have been an exciting and innovative contender has been brought low by a basic title that absolutely nails the fundamentals. Execution is king, and imaginative concepts are nothing without raw gameplay to back them up.
As usual, click the links or banners to visit the Xbox Live Marketplace and queue up the trial versions.
First person shooters have met with mixed success on the Xbox Live Indie game service. The small file size restrictions and relatively rudimentary programming tools available have only really allowed developers to create basic arena shooters; functional but no different to any number of dual-stick SHMUPS in terms of gameplay.
However, L.A.R.A. has taken a brave stab at delivering a full-fat, fully-featured FPS experience... and succeeds.
The story, such as it is, proves to be an excuse rather than a premise. Robots are loose. You have to kill them. And then kill more of them. For reasons. But this unimaginative start point provides the springboard for a surprisingly excellent shooter that packs a whole mess of considerate touches.Click here to read more...
Magiko Gaming's latest update for their ambitious procedurally-generated platformer Platformines suggests that things are progressing swimmingly. Speaking of progression, Magiko has implemented a slick new inventory system that will allow us to collect and craft our own armaments in the randomly-seeded subterranean worlds, new traps and increasing difficulty to ramp up the challenge as we explore the dark demesnes. As well as a host of character customisation options, natch.
We've got a new work-in-progress trailer for your perusal, and be sure to check out our previous updates for more details. Platformines is tentatively slated for a Q2 release on PC and the Xbox Live Indie marketplace.Click here for the new footage >>