Oh look. Another twinstick shooter. God knows that we have plenty of those on Xbox Live already... but every so often, one comes along that makes us sit up and take notice. Alpha Squad is one such game, delivering a level of professional polish that you seldom see on the service. As one of four members of the titular team of operatives, you'll explore a number of different environments, see the world and shoot stuff using both thumbsticks.
Crisp visuals, sprites and effects make Alpha Squad a real looker, and hilarious banter between the team members will inspire you to keep playing as much as the solid gunplay itself. Since the four mercenaries are driven by money and profit, collecting loot allows players to purchase temporary weapons and healing items; inspiring massive rivalry in multiplayer. Both splitscreen and online co-op is available, though it's worth noting that there's a nasty caveat.
It's not perfect- and Alpha Squad is a rough gem at best. Inconsiderate enemy placement sometimes rewards players with unavoidable ambushes within miliseconds of entering a new screen, and the multiplayer netcode is still worryingly tempremental. If it works at all. Once fixed, Alpha Squad has the potential to be a massive online smash.
Alpha Squad is a solid, slick and worthwhile shooter that still has a couple of kinks to iron out. Get in on the ground floor!
Lethal Judgement: Origins
Diehard SHMUP fans may have already heard of the Lethal Judgement series, which made a small yet noticeable splash on the PC scene several years ago. Now some of the best levels of the French shooter have now been cherry-picked, spruced up a bit and thrown onto the Xbox Live Indie Marketplace.
The action is standard scrolly shooter fare that revolves around dodging enemies and gradually powering up your ship, but Lethal Judgement: Origins ups the ante with slick HD graphics and an addictive selection of challenges. It's certainly not groundbreaking by any means, but the five stages provide there's plenty of tasty action with a steep difficulty curve.
Lethal Judgement: Origins demonstrates that it's sometimes better to be good rather than innovative. Luscious graphics and responsive controls make it an attractive niche purchase.
- Developer: Jey En
- Get Demo/Buy: 80 Microsoft Points
Giant robots are awesome.
Mechs, wanzers, call them what you will- but there's no denying that there's nothing quite like stomping around in massive war machines and crushing your foes beneath armoured heel. Junk Wars essentially offers an Armored Core experience right down to the in-depth customisation and selection of weaponry. As a Japanese title, the English translation is absolutely appalling- but the surprisingly competent gameplay more than makes up for it.
Junk Field hides a great mech combat game behind some seriously shaky localisation. You'll have a great time if you can forgive a fair few spelling mistakes!