Monday, February 1, 2010

24 games - 1 afternoon

Alright, I just downloaded a backlog of 24 games from the Xbox Indie Games Creators Club. All are full versions, but not necessarily final builds.

In an effort to not spam my Twitter feed to death, I'm going to do a quick round up right here.

Let's begin...

1. Fish Listening to Radio - Cute, hand-drawn graphics and twee acoustic guitar music. Your fish must eat worms on hooks as they lower into the sea, and avoid the hooks as they rise from the water. You also must protect the radio at all costs (though inexplicably). Despite the fact that I suck horribly at the game (my high score is 520), its a cute game, and quite a bit of fun. I want to try the multiplayer as I think my wife may enjoy it.

2. Omoti - I downloaded this because the cover looks like the Japanese cover of 'Ico'. Ok... I have no idea what the hell is going on. The game just ended. I was looking at oranges and octopuses (octopai?), like I was selecting a character, but then it ended. Needless to say, the game is in japanese. Ok, so I was able to stack junk and if I stacked matching items, I received 5 points instead of the 1 point you get for stacking randomly. Pass...

3. Bacterio - So, it looks like a mix of Cubivore and Intelligent Cube. Your cube can eat other cubes, and the goal it to reach a blue cube within each small level. Fairly clever, with nice options and difficulty settings, but not enough to make me want to keep playing.

4. MatchingPair - The title says it all. Flip over cards to make matching sets. it's fun as a minigame in Super Mario Bros. to earn powerups, but it doesn't make for an exciting experience on its own.

5. Phono Alliance - More hand drawn animation. Kind of like a bad R. Crumb vibe. You play music in time with the beat to attack, defend or speed up. You are supposed to 'protect someone on each level', but the level just loops unless I attack the protected myself. Then a crazy butcher comes out an kills me. The instructions are misspelled, lengthy, and confusing.

6. Samurai vs. Zombie - Weird soundtrack. Everything from quiet acoustic jumbles to bad rap beats and modern techno pop. Cel shaded button masher that pits your player against a horde of zombies armed with only a samurai sword. A potential multiplayer hit, but a bit of a dud solo despite several gameplay options.

7. The Cruelest Day - A maniac has kidnapped you and put you in his basement. You have two minutes to escape each level. It's a platformer in the most basic sense. You jump from platform to platform, over a bunch of cobras that look like sliding turds, collecting jewels while you seek the exit. The entire time Buffalo Bill is standing at the top of dungeon singing an awful, looping, Nickleback-esque song about 'everyone dies'. I kind of like how the platforms are indistinguishable from the background, and there are some clever shortcuts. Not very compelling though. Oh, and the main character is a blur in a dress with two large round blurs on the chest area. A Code 4 error ended my game. The Cruelest Day indeed.

8. Masters of Belial - I don't know what its about yet, but the title is kind of awesome. Hot pirate chick... looks promising. Ok... taking forever to load with bad Celtic looping audio. Alright, so this is a multiplayer arena game. It looks Diablo-esque, decent graphics, you run around with a group of people and try to kill the leader of the opposing team while collecting treasure and attacking minions. The enemies are alright, the 'creeper' (ie. giant hand) is kind of cool. So, now some dude is talking like Jack Black over the bad Celtic music about lore and ancient realms and whatnot. Time to move on...

9. Kong360 Gorilla Warfare - This one gets big points on the box art and name alone, but let's see how it plays. Very cool! Like a cel shaded Ikaruga Warriors or Assault Heroes, or a top down Serious Sam game, but with monkeys. Looks to be a multiplayer combat game, single player vs. bots. The weapons are fun, the graphics are nice, the controls are fluid... the only bad part is that the bots are kicking my ass!

10. Zulu Hour - Shoot 'Em Up with a story. Weapons are waaay underpowered. Competent, but boring.

11. Avatar Plays Basketball - I throw de ball 8 times. I make de 1 basket. I never play de game again. Terrible. I do dig the incredibly over dramatic soundtrack however.

12. Yet Another Zombie Defense - The title pretty well says it all, except that these zombies aren't after brains! No, they prefer to go right after any fences you put up and focus on destroying those. Not bad, but Smash TV and iDracula did it much much much better. At least this guy knows what he's got, and knows his market given the Marilyn Manson soundtrack.

13. Word Duelist - Like Boggle, but faster paced, with changing objectives and including almost only words you've never heard of. I think there was some Portuguese in there as well. Early build I think, because even when I was losing, I won. What's a Peipald?

14. Hang 'Em High A Hangman Game - How you screw up a Hangman game? You don't. It's a decent, if unspectacular Hangman game with varying difficulties. My only knock is that it doesn't display the letters you've missed.

15. Avatar Avenue - Like a Mii parade, but from a distance, and without using any of your avatars. Just generic avatars. Maybe that's because it's in beta, but I can't imagine it would pull your friends avatars if no 'official' xbox games do that. I could be wrong. It literally advertises itself as 'a complete waste of 80 points'. No more glowing review could be made.

16. Demo Durb - Demolition Derby! Pleasepleasepleaseplease be fun. Gah! Code 4!

17. Rate My Avatar - Done and done. Might be decent if my friends played it. Or if anyone actually cared what their avatars looked like.

18. Pwned - Chess on the 360. Multiplayer only, and I do not have multiple players who know how to play chess locally. No online matches found.

19. ToyBorgs - Multiplayer only deathmatch sidescroller with toy robots... would have been a great title for this game.

20. Murder on Snake Road - Silver. Dollar. Games. If you're familiar with Xbox Indie Games, you know this 'developer' and need not read any further. It took one, ten minute playthrough to beat the game. It's a murder mystery where someone feeds you clues and you move the suspects around the crime scene, trying to pinpoint the killer. Fun for highschoolers who want a pretty girl to 'talk' to them, but the mystery falls flat.

21. ItsSayOnSet - 'Traditional' Japanese game kind of like 'Rock/Paper/Scissors'. You guess how many thumbs will be raised from a group of eight hands. If you are the first to guess correctly twice, you win. Actually, pretty fun! Very well done game, as far as features and graphics go. I'm trying to figure out how this would be played in real life... like... do you write down the number of thumbs as your guess before each round or what?

22. ToyBox Racing - Race little cars around tracks made of toys. This one is from some local boys. Cel shaded graphics, decent controls, boring gameplay. Did anyone else play 'Toy Commander'? That game was awesome! The bar was set pretty high... TEN YEARS AGO. I demand a good toy game to be made ASAP. I guess Katamari is close enough.

23. Boom Chick Chick - Silver Dollar strikes again! This time it's a zombie defense game where you fight multicolored meatballs against a terrible metal soundtrack. Oddly compelling, but maybe I'm just getting worn out on Indie Games.

24. Party Boat - The title screen hasn't even shown up and I'm already in love. I just named my ship the SS Boner. Hop Aboard the SS Boner, Gals! I see boobies and some guy just said 'a slap in the nuts'. My love is true. He now said 'I love the titties!'. I'm now smuggling guns to Cuba! This cruise ship sim is the bees knees! A swingers party on the C deck, and clothing is contraband on the A deck. I vow to never cease playing this, the greatest Indie game of all time!


In summary:

- Party Boat is the greatest game of all time.
- Fish Listening to Radio, Kong360 Gorilla Warfare, Bacterio and ItsSayOnSet are all pretty decent.
- 80% of Xbox Indie Games are crap. Edit: I only downloaded games that I thought looked decent or interesting. There are over 700 Indie games. I've played over 100, about a dozen of those were ok or good. So that puts the percentage... at like 95% of Xbox Indie games are crap.


  1. I think you've found your blog's niche. :)

  2. screenshots would have totally made this article, though. :)

  3. The Partyboat Crew likes this article! Thanks Don :)

    I posted the Partyboat portion with a link to this article in our "PARTYBOAT!" group on Facebook. I hope you are OK with that.

  4. Toybox Racing was made by students at UNM.

    & You still update this?!

  5. Fish Listening to Radio dev here. Thanks for the review! (and it's a ukulele)