Indie Games, where the heart and soul is!

Posts tagged “Xbox Live Arcade

Charlie Murder Review (XBLA)


By: Master Blud

Well, it’s been a while since I have written anything.  Nowadays, it takes something very awesome to have me even consider writing anything up.  Whether it be something I think is the bees knees, or something I might be a fan of.  Myself, I love anything that Ska Studios makes.  I have every Xbox Indie Title Ska Studios has ever made.  I now have memorabilia from most of the Ska-Merch.   Ok, enough about how much I love Ska Studios.  I do however have to be completely honest in my review and try to be as fair as possible.

Ok, so you know the whole Charlie Murder thing right?  The whole make believe band thing that happened a few years ago as part of a Ska Studios PR Stunt?  …………There I go again, talking about Ska Studios…….Sh*t!

Well, let’s put it like this.  The story is simple.  Charlie Murder is an Anarchist Ska/Punk Band, destined to save the world from their rival band, or destroy the world (You Choose).  Can’t give away too much detail.  As I write this sentence, I haven’t played the entire game.  The game has secret areas among the rubble walls.  Some Indie Game and character references here and there (For those who really pay attention to it) and some classic Retro Gaming references (I have yet to find some retro graphic type whatever in the game like I did in Vampire Smile)

This brawler/RPG title has a lot of content packed in it for just $10 (Because MS is ridding the Microsoft Points at the end of this month).  Button mashing will not be your friend in this side-scroller beat-em’up.  Instead, you will gain abilities, spells, and special attacks just to name a few.   You will gather up pieces of clothes and accessories to aide you along on your hectic quest.   You can use a, what looks like a Windows Phone to take pictures of QR codes and specific items throughout the game to gain more gear as well as leveling your character and their abilities, using made up social network with a squid as their logo, and of course, your email.  But enough about the content, will this title live up to the hype that I thought it would?

First off, controls are simple but get more extensive as you move along.  Using your specials and playing with friends is more of a way to enjoy the game.  If you are playing the game solo like I did for a while, you will end up rage quitting near the closer-to-end bosses.  Enemies sometimes become bothersome, and even though you earn a counter-attack later in the game, it seems to only work when you’re on the ground.  Aerial blocks are probably one of the moves I would have liked to use, especially if I am trying to set up a combo.  But beggars can’t be choosers. You will encounter areas where you have to avoid the edges of walk ways so you don’t fall off and areas that simply seem impossible to get through.  I can’t decipher whether it’s me, or how to perceive depth in the game along with the level design.   The control scheme will work for some, but for those button mashers, you may want to invest your time in another title.

The sight and sound of CM are grungy and beautiful at the same time.   You will see a lot of artwork from Shelldragon hanging up in the stores, as well as the creations of Jamezila‘s Dishwasher and Yuki.  Like most of the Ska Studio games, the artwork, shown in layers to show depth and detail, making it pleasing to the eyes.  The soundtrack, sounds like something that came out of your usual basement recording, a few tracks seem to give that authentic ska/punk vibe, while others seem to just make want to thrash out and break your controller.  There are interactive concerts and a lot of mini games to give you a break from the bruising and beating of enemies, such as performing a Guitar Hero like concert during a flashback or fighting off Sharks with TNT strapped to them.  These were pleasing to me, and gave CM a little more punch.  One thing that stood out to me, was the dramatic story between CM and their rival band, going through a series cut scenes to present the issue at hand.

Final Thoughts: Part 1 of 2 (Part 2 Coming soon) 

I mean really, CM has that flavor that can only last so long as a solo player game.  You should either invest in some friends, or bring your friends over to play some CM.  You will have a difficult time playing solo.  I only wish that there was a comprehensive AI you could play with, that way, little Robby won’t have to worry about having that social life right?  Charlie Murder has the ups and downs of a brawler/RPG and some balancing needs to be made if you are playing single player.  You will more than likely get overwhelmed with the amount of enemies on-screen and it will feel like your character is moving in mud pudding, even though you have something that is supposedly to make you run faster.   When you see a mummy and 4 mages, and you’re playing solo, don’t attempt that area unless you are Level 25.  At this point, I still have yet to beat the game, and when I do beat the game, I will update my final thoughts as a part 2.  Right now I give you my part 1 of the final thoughts and leave you in suspense.  As of now, Charlie Murder gets a 7.8 out of 10.  It needs balancing, and a possible AI buddy system.  Who knows, maybe we will see it!  Charlie Murder is recommended to those who are completionists and love a great challenge.


Slender: The Arrival Review


PC Game

$10

Website

Twitter (Blue Isle Studios)

Twitter (Parsec Productions)

 

 

By: Daizoren

Perhaps the most anticipated horror game of the year, Slender: The Arrival has to fill the shoes of the original Slender: The Eight Pages in an attempt to scare players in a way that the original never could. With Blue Isle Studios and Parsec Productions working in conjunction, do they achieve this hefty feat? Or does Slender: The Arrival lose it’s effect in a market that is saturated by wanna-be clones? (more…)


My Sister and I play Slender


Happy Halloween! As a special bonus video, I decided to grab my sister (Who scares easily) and have her play the viral hit Slender. I am personally terrified of Slenderman and she’s easily scared, so together we are the perfect victims for this game. Watch us get tense and try to find all 8 pages.


Black Mesa Review


PC Mod

Free

Website

 

 

 

 

 

By: Daizoren

As time slowly ticks away, we don’t seem to be getting any closer to any information regarding the release of Half-Life 3, but to help ease some tension, a fan made remake of Half-Life has just arrived on the scene after years of development. Watching as this project has been completed has felt like forever at times, but was the wait for this ambitious remake worth it? (more…)


Rock Band Blitz Review (XBLA)


Review by: Master Blud
As most know, I am addicted to rhythm based games such as Guitar Hero and Rock Band. Both of them hold a special place in my heart. Both are equally fun and challenging. As a musician, I found these games a great step out of the actual ability to play “real instruments”. Sometimes, a break from reality is what we need. Some of us use video games to channel anger and aggression if one is feeling like sh*t that day. Rock Band Blitz brings you more of that rhythm music to your living room. The only difference is that you don’t use 1 instrument and don’t use the peripherals (Microphone, Guitar or Drum Kit). Instead you are to use your controller, and choose the tracks you want to play.

Immediately when I started playing, I didn’t even bother playing the tutorial. I felt so comfortable playing the way they wanted it to be. I did however, ended up visiting the tutorial the just see what I am supposed to be doing. I am glad I did, I had more fun after doing so. The object of the game is to get the highest score you can get. You can even challenge your friends to a score war……..I am still to finish a few. There is even an option to use a community based challenges through Facebook. The Facebook application is a nice touch, I didn’t feel it completely needed to enjoy the time you will have playing.

There are Overdrive powerups, Note power ups and track powerups. Each of these powers help increase your score and multiplier. My personal favorite power up is using road rage…..just the road rage. If I got the overdrive meter up all the way, I could clear the highway ahead of me a great deal. Rock Band Blitz still plays the same, but with a controller. There are different control schemes for everyone. I ended up using “Freakish” control scheme, seemed the most energetic when it came to playing the game. Rock Band Blitz supports all earlier Rock Band DLC and anything from the Rock Band Network. So I proceeded to download I MAED A GA3M W1TH Z0MB1EZ 1N 1T!!1 from James Silva. Totally rocked that song for 13 minutes.

Much like the other Rock Band Games, the game play area is a highway of notes set in a rhythm motion and you must hit them in a timely manner. Make sure to head on over to the calibration to get that achievement too. This way you will stay on beat with your songs. The visuals are a little trippy, as it is not a straight highway of notes. Instead, it is an actual “Highway” of notes. You play on a road where all the notes are laid out with each instrument. There can be up to 5 lanes at a time covering all Rock Band instruments. Don’t always pay attention to one track, rotate with each verse or break down. Look at your highway ahead and see if you can grab the next multiplier to boost your score at the end.

I had countless hours of fun with Rock Band Blitz, I ended up almost playing all of my previous DLC that I had purchased when I started playing Rock Band. The soundtrack of the game has some memorable hits and some I didn’t really care for, I am more of a classic rock/metal/punk lover. Don’t let the soundtrack stop you, there is over 3,000 songs now on the market and I am pretty sure you’ll find something you’ll like. Altogether Rock Band Blitz gets a 4.8 out of 5, it could have had an option to use the Guitar at least, using Red and Green and the primary buttons and the strum bar to change lanes. By the way, I spent 14 hours playing this game in one sitting the 2nd time I played it. This title is recommended for those music lovers.


SOLLOMAN working on new 3D platformer?


By: Daizoren

New footage released by “Happy” developer, SOLLOMAN, shows some platforming stage in Unreal’s UDK. Could this mean a future 3D game? We’re not sure, but it looks like it’s something to be looking forward too. We’ve contacted SOLLOMAN for further information. You can check out the footage from his “Floating Windmill” level below.

*Full disclosure: Kyle (Daizoren) worked on SOLLOMAN’s last game, “Happy”*


Babel Rising Mobile Review


Android Mobile Game

$4.99

Website

Google Play Store

Developer – Ubisoft

 

 

 

 

 

By: Daizoren

Hoping to bring some fun and entertainment to the idea of being your own god, Babel Rising gives you powers beyond that of mere mortals in order to bring down fury and spite against your defiant creations. Does this god simulator end up being all it’s cracked up to be? Or is being a god more than one mortal could do?

Graphics

For a mobile title, Babel Rising does a decent job of showing you all that is going on. Your enemies can be small at times and hard to pin point, but when you have abilities that hurt multiples, it doesn’t make much of a difference. The environments are well off enough that you can grasp where you are and what you’re doing. Special moves have a special aesthetic to them but none of them seem to be very overwhelming in their appearance. Babel Rising isn’t trying to wow the player with it’s graphics. It merely presents wat it needs to get by.

Gameplay

Starting out, some of the powers you’ll receive might get you excited for what is to come. Lightning strikes, fire abilities, boulders and other attacks make it seem like you have control over anything you want. As time goes on, however, you’ll find yourself resorting to a very set number of abilities and techniques to get by and nothing seems to ever progress except for the length of each gaming session. Timed levels ask for a lot when you’re playing something that is meant to be a mobile, pick up and play type of title. Other levels ask for a high number of kills before you are done and this can take a long time as well. If you’re looking for something to have short spurts of gaming sessions, you should probably look elsewhere.

Sound

There’s nothing really special to the sound of Babel Rising. The music is pretty mundane and most times you’ll never even notice it. Effects like lightning and fire all sound pretty normal and nothing special about any of them. The only saving grace to the sound is when you kill a character. They’re tiny voices can garner a laugh or two from time to time, but even that enjoyment seems to fade after time.

Replay Value

For as long as the campaign is, Babel Rising doesn’t seem to hold a lot of replay value because the campaign itself can be a hassle just to get through. Each level seems to be a lot of the same thing, despite some new abilities being unlocked as you go. To think that you might want to play the game over again seems hard to fathom with a title that is this repetitive.

Recap

Pros

  • Decent Graphics
  • Funny voices
  • Fun at first

Cons

  • Mundane gameplay
  • Bland environments
  • Same thing over and over
  • No replay value

For a title that tries to put the powers of a god in your hands, you feel more like you’re just doing a chore by smiting characters over and over again. With a lack of new abilities and branching them out into greater powers (Only 3 per power) this title seems to fall short of something that could have been a lot more fun.

Graphics – 7.5

Gameplay – 5

Sound – 5

Replay Value – 2

Overall – 4.9

*Note: This review was based on playing Babel Rising on a Samsung Galaxy S II*


Community Replay: The Series Finale


By: Daizoren

And so the end begins. Welcome to the Series Finale of Community Replay. It’s been broken into 2 parts because of rendering issues, but part 1 is up and part 2 is currently uploading.

In this episode we go through and play some of our favorite titles of our gaming history and we talk about some of our favorite moments from the past 2 seasons. It’s been a fun ride and we’ve enjoyed every moment we’ve had with you guys. You’ve been an amazing community (Albeit some dramatic times as well haha) and we certainly couldn’t have done it without you.

To all of editors, we’d like to thank you for the inspiration to create and maintain this series for the past 2 seasons and we always look forward to watching Replay from you. If you have a chance, we hope you’ll enjoy this special finale that includes a special message to you (As well as everyone else) at the end of part 2.

I would like to personally thank Ben Hanson for encouraging me to create the series in the first place. His encouragement and admiration for the idea is what has kept it going for as long as it has.

But now we say goodbye to this series in place for something that we hope you’ll enjoy much more in the future. Thanks for the memories and the wonderful moments, and thanks for getting myself (As well as I’m sure everybody else) back into retro gaming. I forgot how fun it could be.


Jeremy McGrath’s Offroad Review (XBLA)


Review by: Master Blud

I love most racing games, particularly Offroad.  I don’t like the intent of drifting, and street racers.  Although only a select few actually gained my attention.  Jeremy McGrath’s Offroad has some good points and some low points. The fact that 2XL games makes this game at a 60fps confuses me.  Some of that graphical power could have been used for something else within the game.
(more…)


Indie Spotlight: OCD, Penny Arcade and Lightning/Thunder!


By: Daizoren