Well another week and another unprofessional look at whatever indie games managed to do enough in their listings to get me to download the trial and write a highly unprofessional review of them. Its been an oddly a slow week for the indie marketplace (thankfully
as I'm still recovering from a good night out here) so heres whats got me to try them out this week that I thought intresting enough to trial.
Game Name: All The Bad Parts
Review bit: I really don’t know what to say here, the art style is interesting and I’m sure the plot if I had got to see more of it would be good. My only major issue is that I couldn’t tell if the enemy was blocking or not
Verdict: May or may not be worth the points the trial doesn’t give you time to tell as it feels like you only get to play “All the Bad Parts”
Game Name: Speed Runner HD
Review bit: a nice comic book art style with suitable over the top plotline, kinda like a 2D mirrors edge style game, it plays OK and the stuff works but I have a major issue with the camera position as it feels too far away to properly enjoy the game, it does offer 4 player co-op but that’s local only. Also the damn game cut me off, it reached a point and said ok trials over *** you way before the indie games trial timer kicked in.
Verdict: 240MSP is too much for this, 160 or 80 and I’d have said its worth a try but 240 just seems greedy here.
Game Name: Train Frontier Express
Review bit: There once was a game on the Dreamcast called Coaster Works, a game by a humble small time developer made as a bit of a laugh that became huge for its innovative take on a simple thing. Why am I bringing it up ? Because this game does the exact same thing. It is an amazing game it does what I never thought possible and brings the model railway to people who don’t have the space, money and time to make their own real life complex track, in fact the game improves upon the idea of the model railway 10 fold by having the track pieces automatically fit and adjust together to make the track, it allows landscaping the levels and will automatically adjust the landscaping to allow the tracks to go over it, it even includes a huge range of props that any Enthusiast could want. The thing is though I couldn’t think of anything more boring in reality that making a model railway setup but in this game it’s fun to do, with numerous train models available and the option to customise the trains and add the coaches you want. The games not done yet though you can play conductor and ride the train controlling it with multiple views, from a fairly classic 3rd person model railway approach to a very cool in engine cab view, then once you’ve made your layout you can even get friends with the game to join you and take a ride or I believe join you in building the layout. The only thing it can’t do is shunting on a model railway
Verdict: 240MSP is a serious under sell for this game, 400MSP would still be a bit under valuing it. I really could see this game as a full XBLA retail title. It’s simple enough to keep the kids amused and complex enough to keep uncle norm the train spotter happy.
Game Name: The Avatar Connection
Review bit: Now I really don’t know how to review this one, its blind date but as an XBL indie game that’s the best way I can describe this, I’m really not sure if I can really say if this game is revolutionary or an abomination, so let’s start with what I can just about say. As a single guy the pursuit of happiness / a relationship is a seemingly hopeless quest most of the time. You guy to a bar or club and suddenly you go from being average height / taller amongst your friend group to suddenly wondering where people have been getting the growth hormones from as seemingly the club scene is occupied by 6’7 giants who you’ve never seen before even at your schools / uni you might be average height / taller yet in clubs suddenly you’re not and the concept of attempting to pull in a club is daunting at best as firstly unless you can somehow get a girl to come over to you then you have to convince friends to join you going over to them. Or there’s speed dating where lonely singles go to drown their sorrows and die, or was that just me at the charity speed dating I got roped into ? These seem almost as shallow as clubs and are pretty strange events as it requires you and the other person to be able to hold a conversation. The problem being even if you are versed on a range of well everything from Jane Austin novels to who the shadow MP for carrier bags is you’ll, no doubt run into someone who is into just one thing you know nothing about resulting in 5 minutes of silence after saying who you are / what you do waiting for that bell to move on. I could go on but let’s just say finding a date in the reality conventional non social coupling ways is a tough one.
So let’s look at the alternatives, internet dating which can be done on free sites though can cost up to £80 or more a year (Guessing the John Lennon calling for Free love was missed by a lot of people) now online dating is much like applying for a job, you’re required to put forward the idea you, to blag about how great you are, now if you can’t blag or want to be accepted as you are not some super Omega guy then you’re a bit stuffed there (not saying you won’t get some interest as even a barely human Sasquatch like me gets some) but with online dating sites having questions such as “what do you prefer to do in your free time” and options such as “Go to the gym and other places to better myself physically and mentally” it makes you wonder if some sites are designed for total Quantum singularities and women who are shallow as hell , gullible , unrealistic or total gold diggers. Though admittedly that might again simply be me there. This indie game is a great idea in that it makes the idea of blind date accessible to everyone and not just those few mad enough to do some charity version (yes I’m mad enough, no it didn’t go well and in fact made the inbetweeners version look tame).
Now to point out the blatantly obvious flaws with this thing in a handy list;
1) Very few people buy indie games so to even manage to have two people using the match making at once is enough of a problem meaning getting into a show will be to say the least, tough
2) Live is disproportionally male though it’s getting better it’s still 60 -70% male so finding a girl in this game will be tougher
3) And this is a big ethical issue, As far as I know the game has no age restrictions meaning anyone ay age could be matched with anyone else which means guys could be matched with a significantly older women (maybe some peoples cup of tea but not mine) or the other way round, which brings up the possibility of it being used for grooming and cause some more than slightly inappropriate meetings which could have parents groups up in arms with torches going to burn down the developers office even if there isn’t an incident occur.
So my feeling on this game is it’s a good idea almost, it might lead the way for something that works on this if the developer managed to get one of the many dating sites to work with them and then also manage to get Microsoft to play ball resulting in another social integration idea which wouldn’t have the quite sickening possibility of it being very open to abuse as though people can and probably do avoid age filters on dating sites most require people to be 18+ bar a few which are 16+ also they work to match people with their preferences so it would make the “shows” a lot less hit and miss affairs as well as managing to pull in the people as its associated with an actual dating site.
I wish I could give a verdict but to give one would be wrong as the trial doesn’t let you play the “real” game and I don’t know if I’m curious / desperate enough to pay up the 80MSP for something that most likely won’t work as its meant too at all.
Verdict: [Verdict cannot be given as I’m still baffled by it]
Game Name: Chester
Review bit: A very ambitious if misguided indie game, with multiple characters and art style which you can switch between, the game is a platformer and does the job ok, with everything you’d expect from a platformer, moving platforms, jumping from platforms, wall sliding / jumping, collectables and hidden areas, the problem is the game has forgotten to not push its limits, it’s also an RPG esc game where characters earn EXP and here,s where the game major problem is you level up and get longer / better extra abilities (I only got to see time slowing in the trial and I’m dubious as to if it even worked) the issue being your attacks level up too meaning there’s a major balancing issue in that enemies can take 3-5 hits in the start and even the enemies from spawning machines take 2 shots and when you can only fire 3 shots at a time and apparently have limited ammo then it is a big problem.
Verdict: 240MSP is a pushing it 160MSP would have been better, ideally 80MSP. I feel like the games wants to be the next splosion man game but what it sees in the mirror isn’t what the rest of the world will see.
Game Name: Air Combat Desert Aces
Review bit: Loading Loading Loading menu Loading Loading Loading Mission starts, then it’s still loading while in the mission, the controls feel jump and unresponsive and fiddly at best, the game feels like it has very little fun value. If you want a dog fighting game the Air superiprity mode ofn Battlefield 1943 is far superior
Verdict: its 80MSP you get what you pay for in the dog fighting genre and with no multiplayer this is a very dull outing.
Game Name: Jellyfish MD
Review bit: I went in expecting a simplistic Bejewelled rip off I came out feeling I’d just played the new rubix cube, the games tutorial alone will outlast he Microsoft trial timer and the game is very fun to play, this game feels like tetris 3D while playing with various shift methods, it’s fun to play and I can see it being very hard to master.
Verdict: Move over Dr Mario for 80MSP Jellyfish MD is taking over your practice and will have yur patiencs back to full health in ½ the time, a big one for puzzle fans be it casual or hardcore.
Game Name: Moe Mekuri 2
Review bit: Every Week I seem to have one of these appear on the indie market place, a game designed round the concept of *** selling, it’s a very weird concept where you fire a ball into a field and have to turn all panels round, each round bringing a more provocative shot of the anime esc girl. The game feels a bit like chu chu rocket with the same sense of WTF do I do to finish this level and sense of confusion. The trial is very limited so how nude the girls get I don’t know though as xbox live indie games rules mean you can’t have a game showing nudity based on turning / breaking blocks (not meaning some cunning individual couldn’t make a non block breaker turner with nudity etc) I’m going to guess at very little actual nudity maybe some teasing shots etc.
Verdict: some nice music selection options for the full version but with another puzzler of arguably better calibre released this week you have to ask yourself is it work paying 160MSP more for a game just for some “tantalising” pictures of anime esc girls. I’d say no as the internet exists to save you those 160MSP but it’s up to you in the end.
Game Name: Blockt
Review bit: Not long ago a similar game was released on steam to rave reviews, this version is almost as good only let down by some dodgy camera controls meaning that you sometimes have to adjust the camera just to see the level and as you can’t quite adjust the level to the angle you want meaning though you move diagonally you have to press left right up and down making it feel slightly off. More one for the serious puzzle addict than the casual player
Verdict: to a true hardcore puzzle fan it might be worth the price but due to the errors etc I can’t recommend it to anyone but a true hardcore puzzle fan.
Game of the Week: Train Frontier Express
Honourable mention : Jellyfish MD
Did I buy anything: No not this week again nothing quite managed to get me to spend the cash for the full game but its more due to personal games preferance than anything else.