XBLIG Fridays: Cthulhu Saves the World

Well, I missed last week’s XBLIG Friday.  I’m so upset with myself! But don’t worry, I still have plenty of weeks of Indie Games ahead for you… so let’s dive right into the good stuff!

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You might recognize the name Zeboyd Games from one of my earlier Friday posts: Chtulhu Saves the World is the spiritual successor to Breath of Death VII: The Beginning.  As you might expect, you’ll get lots of laughs, and fast-paced gameplay that’s a parody of the role-playing genre itself.

But, at least to me, everything about this 16-bit style game is just… better than its predecessor.  The graphics are updated and cleaner, the battle theme is completely rocking, and the story better facilitates for the lulz (I mean, it’s Cthulhu saving the world, with the tagline “Save the world to destroy it!”, what more could you want?).  In addition, everything that was good about Breath of Death is still here, such as the battle counters and the branching level-ups.  It’s practically better than Breath of Death in every way.

But, this edition of XBLIG Fridays comes with a special cause… Zeboyd Games is running a pledge-donation-thingie to get an enhanced version released on the PC (and 360 too maybe?) with new modes and other fun things.  I really like the idea of one mode, where Cthulhu is too lazy to go and save the world, so he enlists angels to do his dirty work for him.  Of course, that leads to new story stuff, so it sounds pretty awesome.  The developer wanted to raise $3,000, which he’s really done, and the more he gets, the more cool things that’ll get added to the enhanced version.  If you like Zeboyd Games and want more cool stuff, then it’s helpful to make a pledge if you can!

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That’s it for this week.  There’s plenty more Indie Games to go through, so make sure to stay tuned!  I won’t forget to post next week.

XBLIG Fridays: Epic Dungeon

It’s Friday, and you know what that means:  Time to show you another Xbox Indie game to suck away your weekend boring-ness!  This week’s gonna be a shorter entry -homework and Minecraft are ruling my life- but this game doesn’t need much explanation… it just rocks!  So let’s get to the summary.

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This week’s XBLIG Friday pick comes from the Indie Games Winter Uprising, a community driven promotion to show the general public that the Indie Games section is full of more than just crap.  The first game to come out  for the Uprising was Epic Dungeon, an interesting and fun rouge-like.  I picked it up the second I could, and it was only a buck (or 80 MS Points, if you prefer), what was I to lose?

Now, don’t assume the wrong thing: I hate most rouge-likes.  The random luck of finding items combined with the genre’s typical insane difficulty makes me more frustrated than entertained.

But Epic Dungeon is different.  Way different.  Sure, there’s still the random luck with the items, and it’s still a bit on the tough side… but it’s so fast paced!  The action doesn’t wait patiently for you to take a move: Enemies will run up and start hitting you while you’re standing still.  It’s just injection of the Action RPG aspect that makes Epic Dungeon so much fun; it’s frantic, you kill fast and hard, and it feels like you have a chance.  Of course, like in all rouge-likes, you really are bound to die quickly, but unlike most where that ‘quickly’ is a few hours of careful planning gone wrong, dying in Epic Dungeon only takes about 15 to 20 minutes.  Even though I died three times in the course of an hour, I still found it a blast.  This game it great for bite-sized action.

With this fast-paced gameplay and five different classes to choose from, this game will surely be a hit with rouge-like fans… and even if you’re not, it’s worth downloading the demo and trying it out!  You just might find you like the genre more than you thought.

XBLIG Fridays: Breath of Death VII: The Beginning

Hello, and welcome to the first XBLIG Friday of 2011!  You’d think, with such a momentous occasion, I’d pick a game that came out during this year and show it off… but I didn’t.  Yeah, I’m boring, so this’ll just be a good pick in general.  I didn’t want to throw up a game I wasn’t somewhat sure about, and really, most of the new year’s games don’t look too hot right now…

…Oh, but I did see a New Year’s Countdown game that maybe I should have featured last week!  Although, I’d think no one would appreciate that very much… and now that it’s the New Year, I wonder how it works?  Oh whatever, onto the pick of the week…

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Push the questionable art aside for a moment; Breath of Death VII: The Beginning is a good RPG for a platform that has few and far of them inbetween.  The indie game art states that it’s a ‘retro parody role playing game’, and for the most part, that sums the game up very nicely.  It’s certainly a parody of not only role-playing games, but gaming in general.  It parodies old 8-bit RPGs like Dragon Quest in its overall presentation, though the battles and traveling are set at an intentionally fast pace.  This makes Breath of Death an unusually quick RPG to play; it’s a nice breath of fresh air from the genre.  And yea, I meant that pun.

Oh, and while Breath of Death VII rips off of retro RPGs, it does incorporate a few different mechanics.  First off, every time a character levels up, you can choose between two level up options; for example, our skeletal silent protagonist Dem’s first level up had you choosing between two versions of a technique.  You get to choose one or the other, and you can’t ever get the other version.  There’s also choices between what options of stats to level up as well, so you can somewhat customize your heroes.

 

It's either that, or something that focuses solely on Sara's magic. It's a tough choice.

In addition, random battles work a bit differently.  After fighting a certain amount of battles (as indicated in the menu), you wont’ have to fight any other creatures on the area, which is nice is you get lost/want to explore a dungeon fully. Of course, you can call enemies to you if you want, but it helps in the favor of it being a ‘fast-paced’ RPG.

I do have a few problems with the game, mainly with the overall graphic design (they could have tried a bit harder for a better looking 8-bit aesthetic) and the sometimes uneven difficulty.  But the good far outweighs the bad, and is only 240 MS points, or $3.  I know, more pricey than my previous entries, but I think it’s the extra two bucks for most people.  If you’re a fan of RPGs, it’s well worth wasting a Sunday afternoon with.

XBLIG Friday: The Impossible Game

Alright, it’s Friday, so it’s time for another edition of XBLIG Fridays!  This one’s gonna be short and sweet, since I have a headache and I want to get some sleep.  Regardless of that, don’t think that the pick is shabby and not worth your time!

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The Impossible Game is very simple.  You’re a block, and you jump over spikes and other blocks, and don’t die.  That’s pretty much it.  Even though the graphics are simplistic, the gameplay is completely solid.  It’s also hard as hell, as there are NO checkpoints whatsoever (unless you’re a pansy that plays on Practice mode), and dying means starting back over from the beginning.  The game becomes a test of patience and memorization, which obviously isn’t up every gamer’s alley, but is worth looking into for the 80 MS points for those who are.

Oh yeah, and the music’s pretty awesome, too.  You actually jump somewhat with the beat of the track (though which particular beat it is won’t be the same throughout the level), and is something I found a bit helpful to combat my terrible timing.  Of course, relying on a trick like that would get you killed quickly, as the timing’s not always right, but that adds to the challenge.

It’s good to note as well that The Impossible Game Level Pack (it’s really just a sequal as opposed to DLC) recently came out on XBLIG, which gives you two harder new levels with some crazy effects, all for a buck as well.  Of course, as the developers warn, it’s best to play and beat the original first.

XBLIG Friday: Garden Gnome Carnage X

Oh, would you look at that.  A title with the word ‘Friday’ in it?  It must be a new blogging series!  For XBLIG Fridays, I’ll take an Xbox Live Indie Game every Friday (obviously) that you should play, and well… show it to you.  The Indie game area of the Xbox is horribly ignored, and have some really great games hidden under all the shovelware.  They’re usually pretty cheap, too (the highest that can be charged for a game is 400 MS points, though a game rarely goes that high), and the games I’ll be highlighting are worth wasting an afternoon or weekend on.  So, let’s begin.

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For the first edition of XBLIG Fridays, I scoured the library for some kind of Christmas themed game to feature.  Is IT Christmas Eve, afterall.  And much to my surprise, I actually found one.

Garden Gnome Carnage X (or GGC X, as it’s called in the Marketplace) does not seem like the kind of game that’s… good.  Nor does it seem like a Christmas game in the least.  But bare with me, and I’ll show you why this game is worth your 80 MS Points (or a dollar, if you prefer).

So, you play as a garden gnome.  And garden gnomes apparently hate Christmas.  And… well, that’s all I knew before downloading the demo and booting up the game.  But when I saw a garden gnome semi-parody of the beginning of Mega Man 2, I knew this simplistic castle defense game had something going for it.

Uh... yeah.

Anyway, as I said before, you play as a gnome, and you want to defend the roof of your building so that the nasty elves and Santa can’t deliver their presents.  You’re not as powerless as a gnome as one might think, either.  First off, the gnome is apparently a bungee freak, and he spends the game flailing about the stage, knocking elves off of the building and Santas from out of the sky.  While the gnome’s flying around, you can grab bricks from the building and throw them, causing a lot of splash damage and allowing you to hit elves you couldn’t reach yourself.  Bricks aren’t unlimited, though, and you can only get more by allowing your cat friend to make it to the top.

What, you say it doesn’t make sense?  Oh, did I mention the building is on wheels, and you move it about effortlessly?  How about that you can control the elements themselves, and control the way the wind blows, affecting the gnome’s bungeeing area?  To top it all off, you can call in airstrikes, too.  Yeah, you should have know this game wouldn’t make sense in the first place.

The gnome's always chillin' with his shades

However, the sheer insanity of it all is what adds to the fun.  GGC X is simple fast-paced, completely nonsense fun.  Sure, there are better games out there, but for a buck, there’s not much to lose with this one.  So download it and share it with your family this Xmas.  You’ll be sure to get some laughs and ‘WTF’s from it.

Humble Indie Bundle #2

This is pretty awesome.  ‘Pay what you want’ deals are becoming more frequent in the indie scene, but this one really takes the cake.  The Humble Indie Bundle #2, hosted at humblebundle.com, has five awesome indie games (Braid, Macninarium, Cortex Command, Osmos, and Revenge of the Titans) for WHATEVER price you want.  Yes, you could pay only a penny for all five games.  Better yet, the games come with Windows, Mac, and Linux compatibility, and can be downloaded as many times as you want.  Talk about an awesome deal!

Finally, you can choose how your payment is spread out: either between the developers, the charities that the bumble is helping to support, and to the coordinators of the Humble Bundle themselves.  So, it may be worth paying more than a penny… but regardless, it’s worth at least a look!

UPDATE: Great news!  Now, when you buy the bundle, you even get a code to get the games in Steam!  Cortex Command and Revenge of the Titans currently are unavailable, but when they are released on Steam, you get them automatically!  That’s certainly something to sweeten the deal.

The Indie Games Winter Uprising

It’s a pretty well-known fact that the Xbox Indie Games section… well, isn’t doing too hot.  While the section has a lot of room for potential, it’s plagued with numerous avatar crapfests and just terrible games.  Oh, and don’t get me started on the massage games.  Seriously, what the hell is with those?

Well, um… regardless, there are some good games in the Indie Games section, but that requires research on the Internet or going through the entire list yourself and trying what you think is good out.  It’s a somewhat painful process, and it’s likely chased many users away.

However, for the first week of December, gamers will have little to fear, because the Indie Games Winter Uprising will pump out some pretty awesome titles for everyone to play.  The Uprising was organized by Indie developers that want to show the world that the Indie Games section has some pretty awesome games, and that maybe Microsoft should give the store a little more love and publicity.

You can check out the site here, with the big list of games coming out and information about them.  Sure, I could list it myself, but then no one would check the web page!  If any of these games interest you, you should really try to by them when they come out:  The more support for good games and how useful publicity for the Indie Games section is, the better!

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