Radiangames Crossfire 2
Radiangames have been a beloved fixture of the Xbox Live Indie scene over this last year, delivering impeccable arcade hits on a monthly basis. Developer Luke Schneider has now revealed that he'll be switching primarily to PC and app development, but Crossfire 2 is one hell of a sendoff for the exclsuive Xbox Live days. Radiangames have topped our roundups before... but this is their finest work yet.
Crossfire 2 is a beautiful Space Invaders homage with healthy lashings of bullet hell shooting. Enemies advance towards the edges of the screen whilst bombarding the player with withering firepower, requiring deft reflexes to dodge and return fire. However, Radiangames have thrown their trademark unique twist into the formula by allowing the player to swap between the bottom and top of the field at the touch of a button. This new dynamic may be subtle, but it's an absolute gamechanger that completely switches up the tired old genre. It's a whole extra degree of freedom that provides plenty of tactical opportunities for flanking and escape! Multiple difficulty levels and modes add plenty of value and replayability.
As you'd expect from Radiangames, the presentation exhibits a profound level of professionalism and polish. The visuals are smooth as silk and deliver orgasmic retinal stimulation without ever compromising the gameplay. You'll still be able to see enemy projectiles coming despite the glorious chaos... and they're so beautiful. The soundtrack is also addictive and capable in its own right.
Crossfire 2 is deeply professional, perfectly polished and eyepoppingly gorgeous. It punches through the top tier of Indie shooters to reach the absolute zenith- all for a mere 80 MSP. We wish Radiangames the best of luck in their future endeavors... but until then, this will more than tide us over.
ZP2KX: Zombies & Pterodactyls
Jason Silva is the (wonderfully-deranged) mind behind the gory XBLA hit Dishwasher and the viral I MAED A GAEM, but it was the ZP series that first made his splash on the scene. This latest sequel takes the frantic brawling action to bloodthirsty new heights.
Imagine a mix of Super Smash Bros with high calibre weaponry and you'll be somewhere near the mark. The gameplay is brutal, cut-throat and exceptionally good fun both offline and over Xbox Live- though now a huge selection of unlockable weapons and skills allow players to create their own classes a la modern FPS games. This is an insane amount of depth for an 80 point release.
ZP2KX is brutal and brilliant. Accessible gameplay and deep customisation make Ska Studio's latest indie hit an essential purchase that deserves a vibrant and bustling online community. Drop the points and get involved!
Soulcaster II appears to be a bog standard dungeon crawler at first glance. Appealing faux 8-bit graphics? Check. A tower with loads of explorable floors? Check. Three characters with different abilities? That's a great big check. However, look a little closer and you'll discover that it actually takes most of its cues from tower defence... and flips the genre on its head.
As a meek wizard with no overt combat prowess, players will need to deploy three powerful heroes (the titular souls) to kill enemies and progress through the tower, with a range of upgrades becoming available throughout the course of the adventure. It's extremely difficult and frustrating in parts, but you'll want to treat each level as a separate puzzle rather than a typical RPG. Put simply, there's nothing quite like it.
Soulcaster II is a refreshing mix of roleplaying, puzzles and tower defence bundled into a delightful retro package. It's not easy by any stretch of the imagination, but invested players will discover immense reward behind occasional frustration. Highly recommended.