After our brief hiatus at Gamescom, I'm back on the Indie scene to shine the Dealspwn spotlight on the three best and brightest Xbox Live Indie titles. This week brings us a mix of the new, retro and downright cynical!
Monsters (Probably) Stole My Princess
Who do you blame when your princess goes missing? Monsters, obviously. The vampiric Duke naturally suspects that the forces of "smelly" monsters is to blame when hi princess is snatched away (despite a worrying lack of evidence)... and swears to bring them all to justice. His revenge is chronicled by a hilarious (if brief) story mode where you'll need to chase five monsters up increasingly complex levels. The graphics are an HD facelift of the original PSP mini and the music gives the Castlevania series a run for its money.
After quickly completing the story mode, you'd be forgiven for thinking that Monsters seems incredibly short... but the real meat of the game begins once the story mode is over and done with. A robust combo scoring system comes into effect on subsequent Score Attack playthroughs, and essentially increases your score multiplier as you leap between different platforms. Multipliers will continue to build as long as you don't land on the same platform twice, meaning that you'll need to think carefully about where to place your jumps. As your combos (and hence route through the level) become more creative, you'll be rewarded with extra score and improved medal ranking at the end. Let me assure you, this will become an exceptionally addictive part of your gaming life- especially when you realise that the ways in which you dispatch a monster at the end of each chapter gets more hilariously OTT with a higher score.
Gaining high scores unlocks medals and in-game rewards, which in turn grants you access to fun little scrapbook and a bonus level. Monsters may be light on content, but the extra level layouts and awards make for an staggeringly addictive package. It's slick, hilarious and is well worth the 240 MSP.
Jump 'n Bounce
Developer: DeRail Games
It's all in the name. Jump'n Bounce lets you take control of a bouncy (and incredibly happy) yellow ball- and guide him through 50 dangerous arenas that are determined to wipe the smile off of his face. The premise is extremely simple get to the star at the end of the level, but multiple routes and fiendish traps ensure that you'll need a featherlight touch and nerves of steel to circumvent the hardest challenges. The attractive classic arcade art style is easy on the eye, though it does admittedly make some of the hazards fairly difficult to see.
Since the spherical protagonist is constantly bouncing, you'll be able to quickly chain jumps together and use an airborne boost to quickly change direction mid-bounce or gain extra height. Dodging obstacles and nailing tricky jumps will require intense timing with each subsequent bounce, but it'll soon become second nature.
Jump'n Bounce is a lengthy and refreshing platformer with an impeccable retro presentation. It's a steal at 80 Microsoft Points- so consider this one highly recommended.
The Zombie Shotgun Massacre
Ask any non-gamer what we crave from our favourite entertainment medium and they'll tell you three things: zombies, big guns and women with enormous mammary glands. Whilst most of us actually expect a little more from our titles, Zombie Shotgun Massacre has thrown subtlety to the wind and homed in on these three key ideas. As a bikini-clad babe of ridiculous proportions, you'll kill zombies with an outsized shotgun, solve quests for townsfolk and collect baseball cards that feature... you guessed it... more scantily clad lasses.
Zombie Shotgun Massacre is massively puerile and transparently cynical- but that doesn't stop it from being fun. It's a capable sidescroller in its own right with a quirky graphical style and story progression. Plus, let's face it, there are a few specimens out there that will dig its pure exploitation of gamer stereotyping.