If last week was a bit of a dry spell for Xbox Live Indie Games, this week has been a veritable deluge. Competition is fierce, and with the new rating regulations in place, we can start to trust the star rating systems again.
It's been difficult to strim the list down to just three (not to mention picking a winner), but here we go nonetheless...
Cards on the table: I genuinely expected Lasercat to be absolutely awful. After all, the last game to feature feline protagonists and neon weaponry was pretty poor to say the least. Not to mention this one.
However, Lasercat has managed to get the cream by catting out the usual exploitative gimmicks and getting its claws into purrfect catforming mekittens [Seriously, that's enough now- Ed]...
Sorry, I've never been particularly good at creative writing. But I do happen to be skilled at spotting great indie titles, and Lasercat ticks all the boxes necessary for it to become a bona fide hit. It's a retro-themed platformer with a huge amount of levels, floaty yet precise mechanics and a sadistic streak a mile wide. The puzzles and obstacles are tricky yet rewarding to circumvent, and the presentation is top notch thanks to a classic sprite-based vibe and a charming sense of humour. The fact that you'll have to answer silly trivia questions every time you pick up a key is a nice touch, and hell, you might even learn something along the way.
The sheer amount of content on offer also can't be overstated. Lasercat delivers over 200 challenge rooms, which is seriously good value for its tiny price tag.
Lasercat is the best game starring a cat that I've ever played. Not only that, but it's a perfect example of an Xbox Live Indie Game done right; featuring bags of value and polished mechanics for a bargain price. Highly recommended.
We love it when developers think outside of the box to deliver experimental, genre-defying games - and Lighthouse Games Studio have done exactly that. Via Xbox Live, you'll need to 'call' other players in order to trick them into saying a certain word (randomly provided at the start of a mission)... as the other player attempts to get you to say their target word. The winner is the first person to force their counterpart to utter the phrase or word in question, meaning that you'll need to use clever trickery, bargaining, lies and every piece of subtle wordplay you can muster.
As an experimental game, Prank Call relies on players getting into the spirit of things and playing 'fair.' After all, the other players can't tell if they've actually said your word or not -and it's all too easy to pretend to win or simply grief your fellow players mercilessly. Note that you'll need an Xbox Live Gold membership to play.
Prank Call is a successful experiment that encourages players to actually think about what they say. It deserves to attract a strong online community.
Decay: Part 4 (Final)
Escape The Room games are incredibly popular, and the Xbox Live Indie scene has been graced by a truly remarkable series. Decay has ended up in our GOTW lists every time a new episode comes out - so it's only fitting that we give a salute to its final chapter.
Look, I'll level with you: you can play plenty of escape the room games right here in your browser. But none of them will be as creepy, cerebral and downright intriguing as the Decay franchise. Great artwork and fantastic sound design allows it to stand out from the crowd and cement its reputation as arguably the finest franchise on the service.
Go and download the first episode demo already. Do it now.