First things first: apologies for the brief hiatus in our Indie coverage. I've been hard at work reviewing succulent iPhone apps over at our new sister site Mobot.net, but I've now returned refreshed and revitalised to my old stomping grounds. Let's see what we've missed!
As always, click the links to check out the demos. Try before you buy!
This isn't the first, second or even the third time that Radiangames have graced these hallowed halls. Luke Schneider is nothing less than an Independent legend, and with this latest addition to the series, his plucky studio has delivered another polished take on the twinstick shooter. Ballistic delivers superbly solid gameplay with an emphasis on great big guns... but there's no denying that it's more formulaic than we're used to.
Unless you've been hiding out on the International Space Station for several years, you already know what a twinstick shooter is. One thumbstick moves your ship and the other deploys your weaponry, which you'll bring to bear on hordes of spherical enemies that descend on your ships in voracious, hectic waves. However, holding down the trigger activates Ballistic Mode, which limits your movement while greatly increasing raw juicy firepower. Whilst it still feels overly familiar to fans of the burgeoning genre, the action is slick, beautiful and subtly nuanced. Naturally, it also looks and sounds the business.
In an extra little twist, you can earn and assign Call Of Duty-style perks after every ten waves. You'll need to weigh up the value of increased damage, speed, fire rate and bomb potential to create loadouts that compliment your preferred play style.
Radiangames Ballistic is another pulse-pounding blasterpiece from one of the best developers on the service. Consider this an essential purchase.
Incident Of Dreamy Vale Church
- Developer: Darthcheesiest
- Demo/Buy: 80 Microsoft Points
Oh boy. One look at Incident Of Dreamy Vale Church reveals overtly sexy protagonistes and the ever-popular undead as the enemy of choice... but once you've worked past the blatantly cynical cry for attention, it's actually an astoundingly capable 3D brawler.
Warriors: Street Brawl and the Watchmen tie-in delivered hopelessly clunky melee combat at ten times the price, but Incident Of Dreamy Vale Church is fast, responsive and brutal. There are a huge range of nightstick techniques, kicks and jumping attacks on offer- which can be exponentially improved with a mate along for the ride in the single-screen cooperative mode. The 3D graphics are also fairly shiny, with tongue-in-cheek comic book cutscenes providing some fun backstory.
Incident Of Dreamy Vale Church rivals and shames any number of full price XBLA titles. It's possible to be both cynical and capable at the same time.
Antipole is a true underdog that seems to be having trouble breaking free of the glut of zombies and scantily-dressed maids that are currently dominating the recently-released list. In essence, it's a tough 2D platformer that packs an interesting little gimmick under its bonnet. You'll precisely leap through a myriad of obstacles in the time-honoured fashion, but your character can bend gravity to his will in order to literally walk on the ceiling. It's mechanically solid (especially the jumping which hits a sweet spot between sharp and floaty) and visually attractive in a pleasingly faux-retro way.
Antipole is surprisingly decent and mechanically capable platformer with a refreshing disdain for gravity. Suck it, Newton!