The Indie Winter Uprising is still going strong, and we're got it covered. We've been rounding up these games over the last few days... so in the interest of fairness, this week's standout XBLI gem isn't affiliated with the promotion. Though the developer is...
I may have lived a virtuous life... but I'm no stranger to Bullet Hell. I learned many harsh lessons during my nerve-shredding times with Uridium 2, Ikaruga, Tempest and Guwange; but amongst attack patterns and wave formations, I learned a singularly unexpected lesson. Hell can be heavenly- and genuinely beautiful- if handled properly. Which brings me neatly onto Score Rush. Without hyperbole, I can safely say that Xona Games' latest effort is one of the most beautiful SHMUPS I have ever had the pleasure to play.
Oh, and before you accuse me of being pretentious, I should probably mention that it's also badass.
Score Rush is a twinstick shooter- and God knows that we've got plenty of those already. You know the drill by now- dodge streams of incoming projectiles by the skin of your teeth and collect powerups to exponentially improve your firepower. However, Xona's packs a serious gamechanger under the hood: the Duality engine that has won awards for technical excellence. The action is fast and smooth, with perfectly-sized hitboxes that allows bullets to be dodged with speed and precision. As you might have already surmised, it also looks absolutely astounding and runs at a blistering consistent 60FPS. An awesome rock sound track compliments the visceral visuals, resulting in an addictive and brutal experience that's consistently exciting over multiple playthroughs.
Xona Games has delivered an absolute masterclass in twinstick shooter design and implementation. Score Rush is pixel-perfect in terms of both visuals and handling, with an epic rock soundtrack that's designed to get the blood pumping and the adrenaline flowing. Drop the points and get involved!
Drum Studio: Platinum Edition
Is your Rock Band drum kit gathering dust and cobwebs in the corner of the room? Want to squeeze some extra value from your once-loved peripheral? Why not check out the new Platinum edition of Drum Studio.
At its most basic level, Drum Studio: Platinum Edition boasts a huge list of sampled drum sounds that turn the humble plastic plaything into a bona fide electric drum kit! You can sample and record songs- and even jam online with a bunch of mates to produce percussive masterpieces that'd put Phil Collins to shame. Tracks can be shared online, and it's rare to see an Indie title with this level of intelligent Xbox Live integration. Plus, consistently belting out the fill from Coming In The Air Tonight will keep you entertained for hours...
Drum Studio: Platinum Edition transforms your Drum Kit peripheral into a genuine musical instrument. It's half game, half music technology and all-round great value... and I'd urge jaded Rock Band/ Guitar Hero players to check out the dem0 at the very least.
Football Games Room
Remember Subbuteo? Of course you do. I'm sure that many of you have fond memories of flicking balls [work on your phrasing - Ed] and desperately searching for lost pieces down the back of the sofa, and Football Games Room capitalises on this nostalgia to deliver a slick and polished tabletop experience.
A familiar twinstick control scheme provides responsive inputs that genuinely feels like playing a game of Subbuteo, but you'll be surprised by how well-featured the world cup mode is. Loads of teams and formations provide a level of depth that you'll seldom find in avatar apps. The graphics are crisp and clean, and the local multiplayer is as raucous as you'd expect.
Football Games Room is an impressive niche title with universal appeal. You can net an exciting footy game for less than the price of replacing one of the ancient plastic figures- and without the hassle of taping the goalposts back together. An absolute steal in our book.