Avatar Adventurers Online
- Developer: Squarebananas
- Get Demo/Buy: 240 Microsoft Points
It's finally happened. Our previous Indie Game Of The Week demonstrated that big ideas can flourish on Xbox Live... and we now finally have a fully-fledged MMORPG on the service courtesy of Avatar Adventurers Online. The mechanics might be a little rough around the edges, but it's an incredibly well-featured experience that weighs in at a considerably lower price than most DLC microtransactions.
After a brief and comprehensive tutorial, your avatar will be loosed onto several huge overworld maps linked by handy villages. Fans of classic JRPGs will instantly engage with the addictive need to fight monsters, earn experience and deck out your character with increasingly-powerful gear. The fact that your avatar is front and center serves to firmly root you in the action, and a slew of abilities allow you to specialise in any combination of attack, magic and healing.
The left bumper brings up a streamlined selection of chat controls that allow players to communicate with their party, as well as to organise raids and trades. Put simply, it's the best multiplayer outing on the Indie marketplace- and the concept makes most XBLA titles turn away in abject shame. Outstanding.
Avatar Adventurers Online offers hours of addictive, grindy fun that's best shared with friends. It deserves a flourishing online community- and we fervently hope that you'll join its ranks.
Trivia Or Die!
No-one can accuse Fun Infused Games of sticking to what they know. After the runaway success of Hypership Out Of Control, the veteran studio have jumped genres into the murky waters of multiplayer party games. The setup is instantly-familiar, providing up to four players the chance to answer a huge range of trivia questions on a variety of subjects.
It's fantastic value for 80 Points and was a strong contender for game of the Week, but the presentation lets the package down slightly. A sarcastic narrator was originally designed to add an edgy vibe to the proceedings, though sadly only succeeds in doling out extreme annoyance thanks to an over-reliance on stock sound bites. Still, it's a cosmetic foible that doesn't impact the experience too harshly.
Trivia Or Die! is perfect for friends or families to throw down in friendly competition... and maybe learn a thing or two in the process. Well worth checking out for 80 Microsoft Points.
Indie games usually get by on substance rather than style (as illustrated by this week's two top picks), but Rotor is the exception that proves the rule. The Soft Image-powered visuals and art design are absolutely outstanding, providing a crisp and colourful backdrop for whirlybird shenanigans. It's an incredible achievement, and one that most gamers should consider investing in.
Unfortunately, controlling the helicopter itself is an absolute hassle even for flight sim experts- but once you get a handle on the proceedings, there's plenty of flying fun to be had here.
Rotor is a graphical powerhouse with an unprecedented level of polish. It's a fantastic precedent, and here's hoping that the technology can be leveraged into more complex projects over the coming months!