Erm... how can I put this? Basically, this hasn't been a great week for the Xbox Live Indie scene; with only a trickle of decidedly lacklustre games hitting the service. To this end I'd like to draw attention to five games that slipped through my roundups last year. I'm only human after all!
Remember to click the banners to be whisked into the Xbox Live Marketplace! Try before you buy.
- Developer: Red Wolf
What happens when you mix full-on bullet hell shooting with Street Fighter style versus battles and standout art design? Your brain melts. But before it does, you get to play Vorpal. Essentially it's a 1 on 1 SHMUP, challenging players to choose a character and battle against equally powerful opponents; weaving through their ceaseless firepower and engaging in oblique storylines while you do so. It's familiar and utterly unique at the same time.
Vorpal thrusts an epic new twist onto the classic SHMUP and delights on every level. Visuals? Incredible. Gameplay? Nuanced and subtle. Essential purchase? You bet.
- Developer: Blendo Games
We reviewed Flotilla on PC several months ago- but it's also worth noting that it also made a splash as an Xbox Live Indie title. It's a tactical space strategy sim with an unparalleled amount of depth, but offsets the intimidating genre staples with a hilarious open storyline and tons of bizarre random occurrences. Discovering space cats on the run from the authorities or toucan stowaways means that you'll keep playing simply to discover what happens next!
Flotilla is a hilarious, competent and accessible take on a risky genre. To try it is to love it!
- Developer: Mommy's Best Games
I gave this cracking little shooter a brief mention in one of our earliest embryonic roundups, but it would have deserved Game Of The Week status had my column been running. Shoot 1UP is a short and sweet scrolling shooter from one of XNA's strongest developers, featuring a nifty 1UP system that adds an extra ship to an ever-expanding fleet rather than an extra life! Navigating your epic formation through enemy waves and narrow gaps brings a new exciting dimension to the experience.
Shoot 1UP is obscene, retro and awesome. And if that hasn't piqued your interest, then check your pulse. You're probably dead.
- Developer: Reedake
Creed Arena was critically acclaimed in two Dream Build Play competitions- for good reason. It's a slick 3D shooter that feels like a cross between Unreal Tournament and Geometry Wars, playable in both isometric and third-person view. Kill opponents for money, fans and fame! The Xbox Live multiplayer is truly exceptional and deserves a special mention for continually updating both netcode and features.
Creed Arena puts any number of XBLA shooters to shame. It's the complete package, and deserves your immediate attention.
ADVENTURES Of CAPTAIN Becky
- Developer: Sakura
This is a strange little game. Essentially it's a functional- if clunky- platformer, but packs a graphics engine unlike anything else on the service. It looks absolutely stunning, and the titular heroine (titular in any sense of the phrase) can be alterered using an editing suite that puts Mass Effect to shame. The fact that you collect skimpy outfits for her, tweak everything from bust size to thigh thickness and can make her dance around is... well... creepy. But the technology is deeply impressive for 80 points.
Adventures Of Captain Becky looks great. Please use the engine to make something more edifying this year!