For those new to the grumble supplement, or those like me who will have forgotten, all these are shamelessly unprofessional reviews based (unless stated) on the trail versions of the game alone. A game has 9 minutes maybe more if I replay the trail to convince me of its quality or lack of. Also due to recent things I must now say all prices listed are correct only as of the publication date and the actual price may now be subject to change.
Game Name: 10 amazingly awful games vol 2
Long ago in the Mists of time forgotten by this generation lies a very old game released here in the blighty basically for everyone to make fun of, a compilation of the worst games ever programmed at the time it was called “Five of the Worst games ever (Don’t buy this)” no seriously if you’ve never heard of this you need to go watch Guru Larry talk about this now, no stop reading, go to youtube and look it up.
This game is probably the indie game spiritual sequel to it and when I first looked at this game considering the quality of indie games I’ve reviewed in the past I expected great things from this, great and terrible things as for an indie game to now make me think it’s awful really will be a true effort.
So the only true way to judge this like with so many other games is of course for me to slog through all these games which in the end managed a respectable 27 minutes for me to do.
Viper wing: So this is one of those scrolling shooter games, and what can I say it’s a pretty competent space shooter, it doesn’t excel and at points does become bullet hell but I’d probably say on its own it rates higher than perkuna’s dragon
Bloody bobby: Ok I don’t get this game, I really don’t you play as the red packman ghost stoping on actual ghosts while collecting baked beans and trying to avoid falling in tomato sauce, the game has very nice controls but its ruined by, hit detection as theres seemingly 1 pixel difference between you hit and kill an enemy and they do the same to you, add in some rather tough jumps that seemingly can only be made if the game glitches on you when you jump and you have something that’s quite bad.
Fruit defender: Its DDR almost but with fruit and moving background that disorientate you more, it works better than most Simon says esc games and holds up better than Wacky Waving Inflatable arm flailing tubemen.
Terror Tunnel: Its missile command but with faster moving everything and a moving background to add confusion, also there are sections of the tunnel ceiling that fall causing chaos and non linear enemy descents (ooohhhh look at me with me fancy words).
Storm Wheel: Probably the strongest game of the lot here, which is something I shouldn’t be saying about any game in this collection as it’s meant to be awful games. This one could on its own if I’d been handed it have struggled to a 2 star. It’s a spy hunter esc game but plays far more like a twitch shooter. You simply have to run the length of the level to the goal in the time limit and it is oddly fun to play.
Seeker: A sci fi procedurally generated dungeon game where you play as a robot ship trying to shut down the planets malfunctioning computers all the time trying to stop your energy being stolen by enemy ships or shorting out your ship with water. It plays well despite the lack of after hit invulnerability (Which I still suspect the developers actually coded the game to not have this as it seems deliberate somehow)
Nastyroids: What can I say its Asteroids but kind of more clunky, it works
Grid warrior: Possibly the most imaginative, original and playable game in the collection, its like the evolution of space invaders and not into a stupid 3D shooting game. Enemies pour in from the two top corners and advance down the grid rows towards you sometimes shooting, you can move anywhere even up and down and have a shield. The game gets more interesting in the second level when an enemy is added existing on the left, outside the grid so you can’t kill it, however it can fire into the grid adding an enemy moving vertically in the game giving you a reason to leave the bottom of the screen. The enemy even seems to have some near modern level AI with the ability to follow you, pick its shots and even sometimes predict where you will be and fire there first. Another game which on its own could have made 2 stars.
I Madez a clone wiv zombie innit !: Not as you’d expect a direct clone of I made a game with zombie in it (I refuse to use its stupid name ok). You crawl through a sort of lab complex with a pistol shooting zombies trying to reach the exit, the annoying fact being theres lots of zombies, your pistol fires slow and it’s not 1 shot kill sometimes not even 2 shot kill. Meaning most of the game you are running and trying to kite zombies and get through gaps add to this the fact it almost looks like you can explore a bit only for this to be shown as an illusion and this is possibly the one game in this collection where the title holds true, it is an awful game.
Lame Invaders: A side scrolling space shooter, a few enemy varieties, a few power ups, it works its not great but it does something.
Verdict: Possibly a triumph for ironic humour as it fails to showcase 10 awful games only managing to showcase mediocre games for the most part, this may be testament to the developers actually being ok programmers and as such having to deliberately sabotage their own games or it might be more of a show of how awful some indie games are managing to be so much so that it makes these look passable. Either way the game work out to be 8MSP each. It won’t hold you for long but its something I’d say people should look at even just on the trial where there’s 2 levels of each game to play.
Game Name: 1 v1 soccer
Review bit: A long time ago in school the craze used to be to vs people at slime soccer, if that game still even exists on the internet it’s worth trying even once just to say you have. 1 v 1 soccer is an attempt to modernise the idea of slime soccer essentially. It’s a simple 1 vs 1 match, however with slime soccer it was about skill and timing this game however made the mistake of making the pitch longer and the game less precise. In my time vs the computer I was being consistently out run and out jumped with the computer being able to sort of stun lock you by jumping on your head however for you to do it to the computer seems to be a 3:4 chance it won’t work. The problems the game have would be fine if they didn’t completely break the game.
The matches turn into a first to hit the ball will get the goal for the majority of the round due to having to jump over the ball to kick it back meaning you have to have a clear lead over the opponent going for the ball to prevent a goal. Having finally
finished the first match I tried a second, during which the computer ran twice as fast as me everywhere despite me pressing the so called sprint button. I thought something was wrong and it turns out I was right, the game lets you upgrade your which you pretty
much need to do to stand much of a chance even against the average AI.
Verdict: Just like England will / already have crashed and burned out of Euro 2012 (depending on when you’re reading this) This game deserves to do the same. Avoid it like saying “You know what I think Tim Henman could win it this year.”
Game Name: Action Arcade wrestling
Review bit: I will first say I am or at least was a fan of pro wrestling and before someone decides to make a remark about that it is pretty much the new age version of coliseum matches in Roman times (No seriously you think if every match were to
the death they’d have been able to keep putting on so many matches ?). Back to the topic basically I did like wrestling, I had plenty of the games right up until Smackdown shut your mouth I think it was. I have dabbled with recent wrestling games but lack
of interest in the new characters or knowledge of the storylines have put me off a lot (Hence why I hope the new attitude era WWE game does something good). For the most part though wrestling games have been crap.
I went into this game expecting well a very poor Atari era esc wrestling game. I came out kicking myself for not knowing of this game before hand. It has a unique aesthetic, and by that I mean the characters do have that special “Just folded out of paper”
look to them with the ring being ok and working. On a technical level its probably more simple than the N64 era of wrestling games (Excpet WWF attitude) theres no real corner move or that I could spot a finisher system. The game relies on a health system,
however you can rest to replenish this. I was impressed by the variety of the grapple moves as there are at least two moves and irish whip for characters to use.
The only main letdown mechanics wise for the game was the lack of corner things such as the 10 count punch or other such wrestling staple moves.
The game also much to my surprise had a create a wrestler system, though fairly basic pick from standard parts I really enjoyed being able to customise different aspects and should you wish you can change the wrestlers a bit from the pre-built version to
get round the licensing stopping the game having certain superstars from the get go.
Verdict: This is a fine solid wrestling game, very fun and sitting on a technical level somewhere between the SNES and N64 eras in terms of its technical level. If there were more mechanics in the game such as running grapples and the grapple system made to be less temperamental I would be yelling about how this should have been 240 MSP. As is this games a real knockout......... crap thats boxing ...... um something good and wrestling related.
Game Name: Adamant Ants
Review bit: Remember Lemmings, remember what made it work ?
If you answered a mix of chaos and yet possibility then you’re right. The problem with Adamant ants is it is quite obviously a PC game, the settings and even the in game cursors, this isn’t a native XBLIG game and from the get go it shows. My time on the
trail other than messing with the setting to try and break the game like a psychopathic school kid was spent hating the fact I failed at crashing it and ended up trying to play. I use the phrase trying to play because without the speed and precision of a mouse
this game becomes a problem. While I’m quick with a controller often I was checking one side of the screen when on the other all my ants were killed off in one giant bird suicide bombing ...... no I’m serious. The Big issue I found in the game was having to
be precise, something the 360 controller isn’t too great at and quick which again it’s not too great at. The Trial level puts you on level 5 and it requires some precision. The concept is you have to move forward, use the available powers to capture the flags
and advance on worm territory guiding your ants to victor. The problem is the powers just don’t cut it. With Lemmings if you came to a drop you could bridge it or you could if there was a floor parachute down, with Adamant ants you have to build a ladder up
at the correct spot so your ants can jump across the gap essentially abusing the physics engine. Now the issue with the powers manages to continue further by having the shield only work in a very localised area so if birds are dive bombing you have to get
the shield up at the exact moment. But by the time you’ve seen the birds and selected the shield unless you were right over where you need it, its too late and you lose all the ants in the area around it.
Verdict: Weirdly the only good part was the music played during the intro static cinematic thing. This is less a Prince charming and more a case of Feed Me to the Lions...... what you try finding another track title to finish this poorly conceived joke. For this game I would refused to deliver or even stand.
Game Name: Ambient water
Review bit: I have no idea where to start other than. It has a picture and then plays a looped audio recording of the kind of water, that’s it. It’s billed as a relaxing game but the recordings are so poor sounding and seemingly off task its more annoying, with rain sounding less like falling rain and the static of a TV being left on.
Verdict: It failed to relax me, in fact it managed to infuriate me more with its poor quality recordings and the fact someone was selling this rubbish on XBLIG. Avoid like going to a blind acupuncturist
Game Name: along came a spider
Review bit: Ah I dug this one out and I remember why I have failed to manage to delete this game. You play a spider and your aim is simple, to eat all the flies on the level. The game is solid in its execution, very stylised and colourful and with
interesting mechanics such as letting you climb threads as well as spin your own. Spinning your own is mainly used as a safety harness to be able to try possibly deadly jumps and get back up as well as swing. This game I’m about 90% sure has the same swinging
physics as Spiderman 2&3 very smooth, enjoyable and allows the maintaining (to a degree) of your momentum. The level design from what I saw was very enjoyable with the flies serving actually more as checkpoints than collectables, which added to the games fun
Verdict: Short of being an arachnophobic there’s no reason for people to make excuses as this game is quite possibly one of the early and still very good examples of what XBLIG devs can do to make an enjoyable game that’s both simplistic yet very enjoyable and very nice to look at.
Game Name: Argh Aliens
Review bit: There’s just been something about recent aliens games rubbing me up the wrong way and it’s not the lack of blue alien Bazookas. This is a 3D moon taxi alike you take off from a sky scraper and fly your UFO in the 3D city to the roof tops
to presumably the people you’re abducting. Some levels require you to make extra stops to pick up fuel to help you complete the level. I’ve been avoiding mentioning something here, like a shady government agency this game has one big nasty thing unfortunately
it’s not too good at hiding it has a serious camera problem with the camera being at a very weird angle, you can change it but it seems most attempts don’t help give a better camera angle. It’s almost like the games developers know of this issue hence why
there’s a nice visible shadow to help guide you to your landing spot.
Verdict: Avoid like Hollywood has hopefully avoid the TMNT film remake where they are teenage aliens.
Game Name: Auxillium magi
Review bit: It’s hard to describe Auxillium magi other than to call it a Twin stick defender game, your character remains static and it’s up to you to block them with the appropriate magic shield. The basic idea is you play as a team of mages doing
missions. Other mages are trying to stop you so you have to shield from their magic, so fire shields block fire and ice shields block ice. It does try to add to this formula with flaming ice requiring both to block and necro which if it hits a shield it stops
you moving it for a time leaving you more vulnerable. From what I saw of the plot it tried to have a buddy comedy esc feel between the characters, however I couldn’t enjoy this due to the really annoying cutscene music.
Verdict: Its unique ish and its trying but it’s just not that good. In magical terms this games a bit of a squib. Avoid it
Game Name: avatar Fart
Review bit: One of possibly the most fun times was watching a flatmate of mine at the time play “Try not to Fart” it’s a story based game with some very 4th wall breaking comments and dialogue, the game itself is genuinely funny as is watching your flatmate in desperation and confusing smack his controller into his face to press down the Y button because both his hands are in use. Then they try to add their foot to that equation. Avatar fart (and I never thought I’d say this) is puerile and stupid and not a patch on “Try not to Fart” which is still possibly the best game Silver Dollar have ever managed to release Avatar Fart however is just poor, it’s the same concept but the controls don’t even appear to work as while holding down right trigger at one point I was asked to hold down X, then let right trigger go. With my hand pressing firmy down on the X button I let go of right trigger only for X and all the other buttons I was holding to be considered released to by the game, racking up the failure marks.
When the whole game is just your avatar farting and you have to try and hold down buttons you have to wonder where the game is meant to go and what the incentive is to carry on.
Verdict: This is proof that not all fart jokes are funny, nor can or should they be the sole source of humour in any game.
Game Name: burning fist of rage
Review bit: A side scrolling beat em up with quite good 3D graphics, its rather a shame the game world seems to empty with none of the normal destructible things you’d expect in a side scrolling beat em up. Most items are simply dropped by enemies
and heath is rare, possibly too rare. The game is passable with a few moves and super moves to do, it doesn’t force you to always super move and it does seemingly have an interesting plot of some kind involving corruption.
Verdict: A Passable enough game, nothing really sensational other than fairly nice graphics but still worth a look in.
Game Name: bytown lumberjack
Review bit: Oh I’m an indie game reviewer ....... and I think I’ve done this joke before so I won’t recycle it. Bytown Luberjack is a side scrolling beat em up that revels in its own warped style. You play a lumber jack living in a house in the woods
when a giant goat monster decides to do its business in front of your house, oh and it steals your favourite log. The obvious response is, pick up your axe and go on a rampage through the forest killing everything in your way. The game has some issues mechanically
with the ability to easily stunlock most enemies even boss characters meaning most enemies pose no real risk, apart from the worryingly accurate rock throwers and near unavoidable hedgehogs.
Verdict: Still better than playing a Cabella’s game as at least in this one it knows it’s being stupid and over the top with all the butchering. Not a great game but still looks to be a fairly solid entry.
Game Name: detect
Review bit: You’re inserted into a street, a neighbourhood you’re given a feed of the target. It’s up to you to find them and.... I honestly don’t know as this isn’t some spy, stealth assassination game you just find the person then have to find someone
else. The street / neighbourhood isn’t that great either its quite basic with no surrounding effects to give the illusion this is anything other than a small box plot. I can’t even say the skybox looked good.
Verdict: The game just feels slow clunky and without purpose.... very much like life does a lot of the time, I play games to the drudgery of normal life not to simply transfer it to another level of drudgery. Avoid like this game is a contract killer you know has been sent to get you.
Game Name: Firing Range 2
Review bit: Firing Range 2 surprised me by being a really quite good gun game. Firing Range 2 improves upon this in nearly every way. This really is the definition of what a sequel should be. Not enough weapons before ? Fine here’s 2 more weapon types oh and you can unlock different weapons to use in each of the 4 classes, along with adjust their camo patterns and many other aspects of the game. The Bland grey firing range is gone switched out for an outdoor desert range. The small and large targets have been joined by new multi shot targets, human cut out targets, multishot targets. Secondary weapon targets and even knife targets all to test you planning and adaptability. If ever there were something designed as an FPS trainer this game is it.
The two new weapons in the sniper rifle and **** rifle work very well and the sub machine gun has received that much needed tweak to its sections with some parts creating a scenario where you can spray it as the weapon seems intended to do. The Game has
had a overhall pretty much everything feels more refined and better even the targets now give extra score based on speed and the position you hit them. Add to all this, the multiplayer aspect and the game is a superb piece of work.
Verdict: A true show of how to make a sequel and a game I have to recommend. Honestly I don’t expect to see a Firing Range 3 but if it comes it might well be the best game ever made, if that is it steps up as much as this game has. Milkstone Studios have redeemed themselves with this game for Avatar Farm and then some by showing just how good a game they can make.
Game Name: FPS trainer
Review bit: If you’re reading this after the Firing Range two review all I can say is oh dear.
This game advertises itself as a “Professionally used training device for FPS gaming” I hate the pro gammer wanna be culture so this game immediately managed to raise my anger levels. Then I played it and wow its quite dire, the crosshair movement feels
stiff, the game doesn’t reward accuracy as much as speed in shooting the targets, there’s no Iron sight shooting, no different weapons, no adaptive scenarios and no recoil when you shoot. Oh and the trail limits you to a single test your skill mode and shows
you none of its supposed exercises to help you improve and even locks of the progress graph, leaving me at least with no idea what the exercises might entail or if its worth it.
Verdict: If you want to train, play FPS games, if you want something to help you train play Firing range 2. This game is like most MLG wanna bees. Completely irrelevant, annoying and should be ignored.
Game Name: Jetpack rapture
Review bit: Jetpack Rapture is almost a concept too obvious to have not been done before while also being an amazing idea. The rapture starts and you’re one of only a few people not being lifted up. However you have a jetpack and decide to take your
revenge by flying up knocking people out of the light and preventing them being raptured (Is that even a verb ?). The game is rather simple though also rather well made with your character throwing insults, other rapturees (?) throwing out some controversial
yet classic religion lines including “Told you Evolution was a lie”. Every so often you’ll have God yelling at you while his angels try to stop your rampage.
Verdict: A very enjoyable if shallow little game, it does get a bit boring fairly quick but it’s a nice little diversion worth a look at.
Game Name: old spice racers
Review bit: Remember Uni rally on the SNES where you couldn’t name a character Sonic because Nintendo made it block the thing and come up with a stupid message. If you do then let me cut this review short for you. This game is Uni rally without the physics, they even rip off some parts of the old courses and the entire stunt course. This game is broken it seems at random points the forward control switches directions now you’d think this is fine as you change directions, but it’s not the game could seriously do with and accelerate button so you can just go and not have the forward direction work fine right up to the middle of a hill then keep switching. With uni rally the physics seemed to work, the bikes felt they had weight, momentum got conserved and look the loops worked. With Old Spice ripps off Uni Rally it doesn’t on one loop I died because I went airborn and the game didn’t resister me as being behind part of the track so killed me at least twice. The stunt course doesn’t work because the bikes seem to have issues conserving momentum so you have to rely on the turbo boost, which is the only new feature added to the game.
The rest of the game is a poor man’s reskinned and broken uni rally one course ws litereally me going in a straight line for 3 minutes with nothing else. The courses are simply small copied sections of uni rally tracks annoyingly repeated over and over without the rest of the variety from the tack.
When I saw it was an old spice game I didn’t hold much hope it would be good as the past 2-3 games haven’t been exactly brilliant but I had hope it might manage the meh level of enjoyment gentle macho managed but no it even falls short there.
Verdict: The most disgusting thing I’ve seen in indie games for a long while this is a 240 msp advert being sold to you. A 240 MSP advert that’s tacked on a brand to a clone of an old and far more functional game. If this were trying to sell a product it should have been free , if this was trying to be a legitimate game it should have been 80 MSP at once. If I take this game as the product it’s trying to sell then I can only say that Old Spice is an overpriced product that doesn’t work.
Game Name: Parrot paradise Lorikeets
Review bit: So pictures of Lorikeets and info about their colouring and size. There’s 5 of them. What you think there’s much else I can say about this game ? there’s nothing in it unless you’re obsessed with Lorikeets and must own everything related
to them there’s nothing here for you, and even so you’ve probably already got all this information and pictures in other books.
Verdict: This isn’t a game it’s a psychological experiment to see if people are stupid enough to pay for games like this, I’m sure of it, no one in their right mind could really want this game.
Indie game news
For those who don’t know Penny Arcade on the rainslicked precipice of darkness 3 is due out soon, however as well as being an indie game its managed to cause another stir and not for a good reason. Under XBLIG policy if a game fails its peer review then it must wait 7 days to be resubmitted, the idea being to stop XBLIG devs using peer review to avoid doing playtesting themselves. However Penny Arcade 3 failed and re-entered peer review after only 1 day. While there been no clear response from anyone, rumours are than MS stepped in and broke its own rules to try to make sure the game shipped on time.
I’ll leave it up to you as to if you think MS were right to break their own rules to help a well known liscenced game get released on time.
This month there was a huge amount of buzz from XBLIG devs as ms announced in 24 hours achievements carrying gamerscore would be coming to XBLIG, most devs were in shock as it was an announcement so sudden no-one was expecting it and no-one would have been able to implement the achievements that quick. Tales of games being pulled from playtests and chaos in the XNA forums filled the tweetwaves that was until late-ish afternoon when MS pulled a U-turn and said achievements weren’t coming.
So who knows what the future might hold for XBLIGs and gamerscore and who knows if this really is something that should happen, again it’s all for you to decide.
The Price is at last right
Ms have finally done something amazing for XBLIg by finally letting people change the price of their games and not just for special sales, now games releasing at too high a price can drop it. Though it will still be after the initial high sales period so releasing at the wrong price is still a costly thing though if you’re game is good enough you might see more sales when you drop the price.
For previous reviews I'm sure you can find them