Monday, February 7, 2011
Weekly XBLIG Picks - 1/31-2/6
In this week's installment of Weekly XBLIG Picks (just imagine I stretched that out and used a deep, booming voice), there really weren't too many games that evoked the jump up and scream response. Well, some did, but not in the way that will make you rush to enter your 16 digits and buy more Microsoft points. When the week ended, I really only found three games that I felt comfortable recommending. And here they are, in no particular order:
Baby Maker Extreme 2 - Yeah, you know it's a slow week when I'm starting off with this. To be honest, though, games like this, its predecessor, or Avatar Cannon are really worth the asking price of a buck. Willing that you only buy one or two, of course. Baby Maker Extreme 2, much like the first one of its namesake, is XBLIG's version of Nanaca*Crash with a bit more of an, er, interesting theme. Mash the A button and cause a soon-to-be mom to shoot her newborn out of the business end of her lady parts, trying to get said baby far as possible through using and earning boosts and dives, avoiding obstacles, and hitting certain people and objects. The trial ended with your newborn leaving the hospital (and hitting Upsell Bear, who is now my personal hero), so I imagine you'll be smacking food vendors and nuns while you're flying through the air. Each game lasts an incredibly short amount of time, but considering you'll probably launch a few thousand babies while trying to unlock alternate children, outfits and modes, you'll get your dollar's worth. Scrubbing the shame off every time you hear the woman breathing through labor, however...that gets a bit awkward, so try before you shamelessly buy.
Timeslip - I won't tell you the presentation of this game is anything amazing, though it is better than most XBLIG titles. I also won't tell you that the controls don't feel just a little off. Because those would both be lies. What I will tell you is that the idea for this game is both frustrating and awesome at the same time. You guide your time-echoing snail along your normal set of platforms, collecting your normal set of coins and hitting your normal set of switches. Everything we've seen before. Until the little clock runs out, and in addition to the snail you're controlling there's also an echo of what you just did. And then another one. And another. And so on and so forth. Essentially, you'll be using these echoes to open doors, activate switches, and pretty much turn the platformer into a puzzle/platformer. Did I mention that you create a time paradox if you hit one of your echoes, thus killing you and starting the level over? It's challenging but definitely worth a look.
NYAN-TECH - From Dot Zo Games, same makers of Ninja Bros, comes a game that...looks nearly exactly like Ninja Bros. Thankfully, though, it isn't. Nyan-Tech is a platformer that has you struggling with the controls as a legitimate part of the game itself. The premise is simple: grab key, reach door, ???, profit. To do this, however, you'll have to activate switches and platforms by pressing or holding one, some, or all of the face and shoulder buttons, which may or may not include the A button, also known as the button you'll be using to jump. It's like playing N+ while your fingers play Twister, and though many games have required some complex button presses and holds I can't think of another platformer that's straight-up more physically demanding of the player. At 80 MS Points, it's something most any platformer fan should try out and easily something I'll be reviewing soon.
Well, that's it for this week's recommendations. There were more than a few games that just had way too many problems or screamed "I WANT MONEY TOO" for me to say that they're worth the time or money, but I'll go over a couple anyway. "Run!" is decent, but you're better off playing either of the Blazin' Balls XBLIG titles as they're the same thing with more intelligent level design and less avatars. Phibian is a vertical scrolling shmup involving a frog and a lot of spears, but controls feel too loose and jumping over the terrain ends up being an obstacle in the way of having fun rather than enhancing it. Avatar Ragdolls is worth a look for fans of Avatar Drop and kid-friendly gaming, but I was bored before the trial ended. And, finally, All Out Of Bubblegum had a good idea mixing the Rampart-style defense construction mixed with twin-stick survival, but the game itself wasn't fun at all and didn't hold a candle to most any other zombie twin-sticker on the market.
That said, reviewers like myself only say things as useful guidelines. Free demos are free, so don't hesitate to try out everything that catches your eye or even throw a few MS Points out there to support your local starving indie developer. The More You Play. *ding*