Oozi: Earth Adventure Episode 2 Review


Oozi: Earth Adventure Ep. 2

Game: Oozi: Earth Adventure Ep. 2
Genre: Platformer
1 player
Creators: AwesomeGamesStudio (Facebook) (Blog)
$1 (80 msp)
8.75/10

All right, time to come clean.  I do not really play a lot of platformers.  By platformer I mean get to the end, restart at checkpoint if you die platformers. Games like Super Meat Boy and VolChaos being a different breed of game in my opinion (Which is all that matters here, and if you think otherwise haha de haha). Platformers have just never really appealed to me in the ways that other games have. Oozi is different. The game had me clamoring for more all the way until the final boss fight. I feel like every thing was polished and fine-tuned to make a great platformer. There are positives, and there are negatives, but that doesn’t stop Oozi 2 from being a must play for all people who are at least indifferent to platformers.

Let me start out with this warning. Oozi is not meant to be played like a fast paced game in the main story. The game is perfectly laid out so you can leisurely stroll through the game and take minimal damage. For some reason the speed crazed, suicidal maniac in me decided that going  through the game as fast as humanly possible was a good idea. It is not a good idea at all. Take the game slowly and enjoy the ride. If you want fast paced, check out Arcade Mode, which is basically a time trial of every level.

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Image from Oozi: Earth Adventure Ep. 2

Standard Platforming Procedure: Dodge those rocks

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How about we discuss level design? Sound good? Well since you have no objections… The level design in Oozi is solid to say the least. There are plenty of little side paths and treasure holes to seek out. One issue I did have was the length and difficulty between checkpoints. Rarely you would come to a difficult part in the game, and that part always seemed to be right in front of a checkpoint. Frustration tends to occur when you do the same two minute sequence over and over just to die at a very hard part. Maybe if I would have been on normal mode as opposed to Hardcore I might not have experiences these troubling experiences. Because I am such a thorough reviewer, I completely forgot to check and see what the difference between Hardcore and Normal is. I assume it has nothing to do with the level or enemies and has all to do with the amount of health you start with from the beginning of the level and after each checkpoint. In the end just know that the game is completely playable and fun on Hardcore, so playing on Normal should be no different. I seem to have gotten off of the topic of level design, which is what the topic sentence of this paragraph is about. Put that in your pipe and smoke it english class, I don’t need your fancy rules.

All right, now onto my favorite portion of the game: star collecting. Each map houses 5 hidden stars that you must track down and recover. Apparently these stars went to Harvard or something and are more important than the other bajillion stars on each map. If you manage to collect all 5 hidden stars on each map, you will unlock a special challenge map. I found all 5 stars in three out of five levels on my first playthrough, and then went back to pick up the ones I missed. I found searching for the stars on each level to be my main motivation to continuing the game. Don’t get me wrong, everything else is solid, but I am not a big enough fan of platformers to have finished the game without the stars. The bonus missions you receive from said stars are great additions to the game, For example, one level has your main goal to get to the end, but your secondary goals are to kill all enemies and not take damage. The little things like that are what make this game truly enjoyable.

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Image from Oozi: Earth Adventure Ep. 2

Those bats look so menacing

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Now time to talk about the graphics and audio. I usually spend next to no time on graphics or audio or anything else in that department. Here is where I break the rules. The graphics in Oozi are some of the most polished graphics on XBLIG, if not the most polished graphics on the entire service. The completely hand-drawn artwork is pretty incredible. The animation is flawless, the character models are great, and the environments are well put together. Basically this game has everything down in the visual department. Check out the trailer down below or the images scattered throughout this article if you do not believe me. Also the audio is pretty awesome. I have the main menu music playing in the background right now as I furiously type this review.

I should probably cover controls at some point considering this is a game. It is solid and polished in almost all departments. My only two complaints in that department are the fact that wall jumping feels clunky and that your character does not turn around fast enough in mid-air for my liking. The other things you can do, like jump, ground pound, punch, etc. are all very fine-tuned.

One element of the game I was worried about going in was the progression of the gameplay. How would the levels change? Well early on there was not much difference and the obligatory ice level was the weak point, and that level was still pretty good. As the game moved past the ice level it just continued to get better and better. There were “puzzles” added into the mix, as well as new objects to use and enemies to deal with. The progression throughout the game was very well done in my opinion. It was so well done, I did not notice it until I forced myself to think about it for this review, so obviously it is doing its job. The entire game felt cohesive and… just right I guess. The constant addition of different level layouts and puzzle types made the game feel fresh all the way until the end.

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Image from Oozi: Earth Adventure Ep. 2

I apologize if you have already played the boss battle

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The extra stuff thrown into the game like challenge mode and arcade mode are just icing on the cake. The main game took me maybe 90 minutes to finish, plus 15 minutes to back track and find the stars I missed. There are 11 challenge maps, which is more than enough to tide you over until Oozi Episode 3. The challenges range from evading lava to just finishing the level, but with secondary objectives. Only a true Oozi master will 3 star all of the challenges. The arcade mode is just a speed run of the main game, but you have to get a certain amount of points to get 1, 2, or 3 stars. Arcade mode is insane because you have to beat the whole level without dying. Not for the faint of heart. It should also be noted that the challenge maps are completely different from the main game maps.

Now we get to the end of the game… the boss fight. Quite possibly the worst boss fight in a game I have ever played. If at all possible, just do not play the boss fight. Unless you have some physiological need to torture yourself with terrible boss fights. It is not necessary for anything. It might unlock another bonus stage, so it might be worth it if you need another bonus stage. Honestly the boss fight is what leaves bad memories of this game in my mind.

In the end, without the boss battle, Oozi is one of the most polished platformers on XBLIG. But as the guys over at GameMarx said in their trail of the game, it just feels like it is missing something. That unidentifiable something is what is keeping Oozi from being one of the best games all around on XBLIG.

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DLC Quest Review


DLC Quest

DLC Quest
Platformer
1 Player
Creator: Going Loud Studios —— Twitter: (@benkane, @goingloudstudios)
$1 (80 msp)
8.5/10

Who doesn’t love a good satire? Heartless people you say? Yup, that covers it. No matter how you dress it up, DLC has become ridiculous in at least 50% of all cases, and DLC Quest creator Ben Kane knows it. And instead of complaining to the forums, crying home to his mommy, and buying the DLC anyway, he decided to do something about it. Make fun of it. Not only does DLC Quest openly mock the concept of DLC, but it openly mocks a lot of game concepts we have come to recognize as commonplace and unavoidable. The sheer hilarity of everything I had to do to continue on with the game made me play from beginning to end all in one sitting, which is rare in an indie game. Even though the game is 40 minutes to an hour long, I still see that as a compliment. In the end, you will play DLC Quest once, and maybe fire it back up for the awardments or the alternate ending, and then never play it again. That could be anywhere from 30-90 minutes of play. Yet the game still managed to entertain me the entire time I was playing it, which is hard to do.

The concept of the gameplay itself is very, very simple. You run, jump, and attack your way through the game to get to the final boss. Eventually the potential of the game is smacking you right in the face. I found myself at the end of the game wondering “What if there were puzzles?” Honestly I felt like this game deserved puzzles of some kind as well as side quests. Nothing necessary to the completion of the main game. I believe there was so much room for side quest satire, puzzle satire, dungeon satire, etc. How cool would it be to buy side quest DLC or expansion pack DLC with extra coins that you have at the end of the game? Super cool. Maybe that would have taken away from the overall satire of the game, but I believe in Ben’s abilities to not do that.

no spoilers here

The controls are great 95% of the time, but the other 5% you might get a bit frustrated. Nothing that will make you throw your controller, or quit the game forever, but the controls could have been a bit tighter. The learning curve of this game is interesting because it is based on buying DLC. You can all of your abilities besides moving to the right from buying DLC. This is cool because even the most casual of gamers will be able to stay on track with the learning curve. Anybody who has ever played a Platformer will have no issue though.

The story of this game is where it really shines the brightest. Satire is such a difficult type of comedy to pull off without being annoying or being too “in your face”. DLC Quest pokes fun at literally everything I can think of. I really do not want to list any of them here so I don’t ruin your experience either. Believe me, you will enjoy all of the jokes that the game makes, DLC related or not. Something that really compliments the story is the awardments. You know, achievements some indie developers put into their games just for their game? The awardments add extra incentive to explore the whole map and find all of the DLC packs. They won’t take but an extra 10 minutes of your time once you beat the whole game. It is not often that the awardments of an indie game are so in-tune with the game itself. They do not require much extra effort, and are quite fun and make you feel accomplished.

In the end, you will enjoy this game a lot more if you have a sense of humor. If you don’t have a sense of humor don’t bother, we don’t want you here anyway! The game is easily worth the price of admission, and leaves you longing for more.

Other Reviews:

Indie Gamer Chick (aka Kairi “I will suck out all developer’s souls” Vice) reviewed this game and said “just get it”. So listen to her, or she will come find you and probably laugh at you.

Geoff over at Two Fedoras gave this game a 7 out of 10 and admits his darkest secret, he finds main character’s attack motion cute. Then proceeds to tell you to shut up. Juicy stuff.

There are other reviews too, but my laziness kicks in after 2 links. Just go buy the game. Now.

PLATFORMANCE: Temple Death Review


PLATFORMANCE: Temple Death

PLATFORMANCE: Temple Death
Platformer
1 player
Creator: Magiko Gaming
$1 (80 msp)
Rating: 8/10

The title PLATFORMANCE: Temple Death does not have a great connotation to it, but it does let you know exactly how the game will go. The game’s title is telling you that you will die and that your death will involve Platforming. Yup, that sums it up. This game promises you that, and it delivers in a very good way.

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The whole game is right up there^

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Basically you are a man with a spiffy hat and a whip. A “Princess” seems to have gotten herself trapped. Naturally it is your job to… come on, you have played this concept through before…

“Kill her?”

…. no ….

“Ummm…. –insert sexual comment here–”

What kind of games do you play?!? Try again.

“Save her”

No you id… wait, no that is right. You have to save her. The whole point of this game is to rescue this girl who has managed to get herself chained up in the middle of a trap laden maze. You must run, jump, die, drown, impale yourself, swim, bounce, die, and get crushed on your way to do so. The deaths are optional, but will probably happen if it is your first run through of the game. So it is clear you will die many times, but you will have checkpoints. Sometimes there will be a checkpoint right after 1 jump, and sometimes after a bunch of jumps and climbs, but in my opinion (which is the only thing that matters here) the checkpoints are laid out perfectly throughout the whole game. I never once found that a checkpoint was too far away, so therefore I never got frustrated, so therefore I had fun. And that is the whole point of gaming, fun. Some people seem to have forgotten that in their pre-pubescent rants in the middle of a CoD or Halo match, but that is a topic for a different day. Temple Death was a lot of fun, and that is more than enough reason to buy it.

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That rock is probably bloody for a reason...

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Magiko Gaming also added in to this game what they tend to do with all of their games, replay value. They do this is the form of 3 difficulties, awards, and online leaderboards. The only problem with the leaderboards now is that since they are peer to peer the chances of you getting a full leaderboard to compete against is really low.  The awards in the game are very cool because they challenge you to finish the game with less deaths and eventually no deaths on any difficulty. These are a bit ridiculous, but hey, you get an award for it. You also get rewarded for bad things, like dying a certain number of times. These flop awards are pretty funny an lighten the mood after your 1000th death.

The game may be a bit short, seeing as it is only one level, but it is fun all the way through. With the added goodness of awards to shoot for and scores on the leaderboards to overcome, you will easily get your dollar’s worth.

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Dark Delve Review


Dark Delve

Dark Delve
RPG
1 player
Creator: CheckMark Games
$1 (80 msp)
Rating: 8.5/10

Honestly I am not sure if I can call this a review. I have not completed the game because I played 4 hours, and then made the decision to start over my file. Plus this is really just an explanation of the game’s balance. I have loved every moment of Dark Delve because of its balance. From skill points to chains and weapons to armor everything feels balanced. Maybe the only thing that is not balanced is the price of weapons. For example one weapon might cost you 45 gold and do 30 damage. The next weapon up on the weapon food chain might cost you 60 gold, but only does 25 damage. This does not happen often, but it made me scratch my head. Heck, why am I complaining? Cheaper, more powerful weapons? Yes please.

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Character skill screen

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The single player view of the game is very cool and makes the world feel more lifelike than if it was a top down view. While dungeon diving you have to balance the endurance of your party, and the health and mana of each character. If your endurance runs out you will no longer gain health and mana after each battle. Your endurance can be recovered by consuming certain items or going back to town to rest in the town inn. This makes endurance crucial to keep track of. Battles usually leave your characters at least a little hurt and a little of their mana gone. Depending on your effectiveness in battle you will get a grade from D to S. The more effective you are, the more health and mana you will recover after a battle. Talk about incentive to be involved at every point in the battle. I truly believe that this addition makes battle a whole lot better.

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The first person view is pretty cool

 

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You can have a party of up to 4 people with any mixture of three classes you want. Is it your inclination to have three mages and a rouge? Have at it, it is your funeral. The classes themselves all have three skill trees you can put points into. Through this you will teach your character new skills or add on new abilities that compliment your skills. There is a nice balance here that I really appreciate. You have to not only take into account the effects the skills you pick will have on the character they are for, but how that skill will affect the party as a whole. It truly feels like a party based game. Also who says you need a party of 4? You can go into the game with 1, 2, 3, or 4 characters. The less characters you have, the more experience you get per battle. Since there is an awardment for beating the game with 2 characters, I assume it is possible.

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The combat screen is clear and serves its purpose

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Ah awardments, Indie Games attempt to pull in the achievement addicted customers. The awardments in Dark Delve are varied and entice you to make multiple playthroughs or play challenge levels in ways you never thought of. Speaking of challenges, they are pretty cool. Imagine you are tired, but you really want to play some Dark Delve. You do not want to think about everything that is involved in the single player experience like distributing skill points or buying weapons. Go into the challenge mode to find pre-made characters with a goal for you to accomplish. These are built to be finished in one sitting and are very cool. I believe the developer has promised more through free updates as well. Challenges really show all of the best attributes of Dark Delve.

The battle system is something I have saved for last because it is so good. The battle system is my favorite part of the whole game. Yes there are a lot of misses when you try to attack, but it does not affect the gameplay that much. While deciding who to attack you can hit Y and see the description of the enemy. Resistant to magic? Resistant to physical attacks? Special Abilities? All listed. This is extremely useful for planning your whole attack. You also get a point added to your chain for every hit you get on the enemy. At any point when a character has a chain, you can use a Break ability. This breaks your chain and lets you use a useful, 0 mana attack. For my mage the one I used was his healing power and for my warrior I used a super attack that was usually a one hit kill late in the chain. The battle system is a cool, modified take on the RPG battle system of old, and it is a great addition to the game.

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Overall Dark Delve is a great RPG and deserves your time and 80 msp. It is a fresh RPG experience with all the feel of the RPGs of old. This game does a lot of things very well, and only a few things poorly. With new challenges coming in the form of updates, any RPG fan will love this game. If you do not like RPGs, this really will not make you have a sudden realization that you love RPGs.

BloodyCheckers Review


BloodyCheckers
Adventure/Checkers
1-2 player online
Creator: killroyfx
$1 (80 msp)
Rating: 11/10
Similar Indie Games: None

I have been playing BloodyCheckers for the past 2 months, and I can honestly say it is the best indie game I have ever played by a long shot. I have a love for strategy in games, and checkers strategy is so much fun to figure out. The game literally teaches you checkers in the training missions. These were a great addition to the game and can turn a checkers novice into a seasoned novice. There are intense online matches against friendly people that always end in you learning a new technique, or getting some money back from your traps. Also this game has the best multiplayer system for a 1 vs. 1 game I have ever seen, just to add to the list of accolades. What exactly makes this game the best indie game on the micro level? Read on.
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Welcome to your new home

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Oh yeah one more thing. If you hate checkers, you will hate this game. Sorry. I was impartial to checkers at first, but now I love it. So if anything just try the trial and check and see if your general feeling is wrong.

You may have noticed I gave the game an 11/10. This is my grade for a game that not only succeeds at everything it promises, but does way more than that. This extra point will rarely be given out, if ever after this game. Basically it is me acknowledging that the developer went above and way beyond what he had to do. He is going to update the game constantly until at least December. The next update is a lot of extra gameplay, not just bug fixes. The extreme amount of polish the developer has painstakingly added to the game makes it such a joy to play because you notice something new every time. The dedication the developer has to his fans is amazing too. What other developers  play people online to get their true opinion on the game? I have played my fair share of games against him, and he always makes it fun. (I will not deny I have won a few games, but also lost a few games) There is a reason this game climbed from the 150th top rated game on the marketplace to number 18 (and still rising). Everything about this game is well done, and done with a passion for making the best game possible.

Now that we are passed that, it is review time:

Let us start with the story. The entire premise of the game is that you find yourself in front of a castle that is on a big hill. Naturally you decide the best idea is to walk right inside. First you find your candle, which you will use the whole game to light the castle, with torches are treated as save points. Of course there is no just strolling through the whole castle to start with, there are gates in your way. In order to open gates that lead on to more parts of the castle you must defeat portraits in checkers. The portraits are members of the royal family who lived in the castle, but all of them died. The portraits tell of their deaths and some of them are very funny. Before you battle a portrait it will be dirty, usually in a way relating to how that person died. After you beat a portrait it becomes clean with a golden star on it. You can choose to battle portraits again for money if you wish, because sometimes you will need more money to fun your trap and spell buying sprees. As well as secret keys.
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The castle isn't just made of all castle

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As you go deeper into the castle you will find treasure, locked doors, and Creaky. Creaky is a roaming shopkeeper who will follow you around, tell you about paintings and floors, or explore where you tell him to. Helpful Hint: Let him explore, or else he will never have any money for you to get by selling him stuff. Creaky sells useful items such as items that keep your candle lit or that can relight your candle if you are careless. Also if you get lost he will lead you to a torch, or when you want to see his key shop he will take you. Creaky is a great twist on the traditional shopkeeper character by being the go to guy for help if you need it. Helpful Hint 2: If you haven’t found Creaky by the time you have defeated Chef Butt Beef (real name), you should go search for him because he is very important to have on higher levels. There are also a ton of secrets throughout the game. Like entire extra floors full of treasure.
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Creaky is awesome. Period.

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Now to talk about the game within the game, checkers.

The game gives you 90ish training missions to do within the game. These range from forcing jumps to breaching, to winning the game with a quintuple jump. These are fun, and if you get them first try with no hints you get a gold bonus. These training missions are a great way to learn some hidden checkers tips and tricks. The normal rules of checkers apply in this game, so force jumps are active. That means you have to take a jump if you have it. This leads to more strategy than I expected or ever experienced while playing checkers. I play on the hardest difficulty because it makes for such a great challenge, and I suggest that to anyone who finds normal too easy. The difficulty setting is in the audio menu if you are looking for it. The difficulty is the one thing that will get people. As you go higher in the castle the enemies get craftier and craftier. I would highly suggest playing normal as far as you can (unless you are a checkers master) and then lower the difficulty if it gets too hard. It took me awhile to beat the final person on the easiest difficulty, and it was such an accomplishment to beat him. Oh yeah and you get a lot of treasure for beating the last few people, to the point of being too rich at the end of the game.
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The sight of your victory!

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The thing that separates the checkers within BloodyCheckers from normal checkers is traps and spells. These have no affect on the actual game of checkers, but they are great ways to make gold/get experience. You buy traps from paintings or Creaky and set them before the match. Then, during the match, if your opponent places a checker on a trap square, their checker gets beat to a pulp, sawed in half, eaten by a bear trap, etc. This makes the piece spit out money and become bloody. This does not destroy the piece or anything, but it still adds a lot of strategy to the game. You want to make your money back on your traps, so you will sometimes force an opponent towards a trap cluster. Traps last for 3 uses before they disappear. Some traps will give you a lot of gold and low spell points, while other give you a ton of spell points and not a lot of gold. Three of the traps also give you experience as well as gold and spell points.
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Spells are always fun

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If you have spell points, you can use spells. If you cast arrow barrage for example, when you hit a piece (friend or foe) you get experience. Not a fan of experience and prefer money as payment for landing a hit? Shoot cannon balls to get a ton of money, or fire axes at your enemy for a mix of money and spell points. Since spell points do not add up outside of the match you earn them in, it is always wise to fire them for a chance at extra experience. TIP: It is more effective to fire one cannon ball at a time then to fire them all at once. I do wish the controls for firing spells were a bit better, but I got used to it fast. Spells and traps add a layer of strategy I didn’t think possible with checkers, plus it also adds excitement and a lot more fun. Knowing that you might lose the game, but still make money is an enticing factor to online play. Or, if you are not careful, you could win the game, but lose money overall.
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There is no such thing as overkill

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Online play is also very fun, and easy to play. Now you may be saying “Wait, indie games are pretty dead online, I don’t want to wait an hour for a match”. Well fear not! Instead of waiting in a lobby for an hour you can just start up single player and hit B. This will activate your lobby (make sure messages are turned on). This will allow you to play single player, but if someone joins your lobby you will be told and you can hop straight in to play them. It is an ingenious solution to a generally broken system. Make sure to save before you hop into a match though. In online mode you place your bet before the game, and so does your opponent (these can be wildly different, it is just up to you how much you want to bet). The higher you bet, the more bonuses you will have. Like more money from traps, more exp, more spell power, and even a rare item if you win. This is a very cool way to encourage higher betting. Be careful though, the money you bet in online correlates to your single player account.
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The Pits are a terrible place to be, unless you have a certain item

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The Graphics and Audio in this game are perfect. The music and sounds of the castle go so great with the visuals. There is an element of mystery and suspense to the game, but no horror. The graphics are great, especially the graphics of the checkerboard. When a trap goes off and bloody and money spills out, it is a great sight to witness. Same thing when spells are cast and things are flying everywhere. I always get tired of graphics in games and find myself skipping as much as possible, but not this game.

All in all this game is a must buy for adventure fans, checker fans, and anyone who wants the best deal on xbox live. Even if you aren’t a huge fan of either adventure games or checkers (I wasn’t a huge fan of either) you will love this game.

If you love the game, check out Killroyfx’s and I’s BloodyCheckers Guide. If you really want to help with it, send me an email. (about me page)

Future Update Information:

Where I will post update information once I get a hold of it. This game was reviewed on the game with the first 3 updates.

Cute Things Dying Violently Review


Cute Things Dying Violently
Puzzle
1-2 Players Local
ApathyWorks
$1 (80 msp)
Rating: 8.5/10
Similar Indie Games: None

Finally, the game I predicted to be best in the IGSU is here! So far it has lived up to my goal and is the best in the first 4 games of the summer uprising. It will have some tough competition among the rest of the games, but lets not focus on that right now. Let me explain the gameplay of CTDV. The whole idea is to get at least one (better to get all) of your critters into an elevator. You do this by slingshoting them like some birds with a certain disposition of anger towards life that everyone knows of. The critters bounce, float, spring, and walk their way through the levels. The critters move around by nature, so sometimes that requires a little bit of speed in some puzzles.  Most of the time you have to hit a button in order to open the elevators. Throw in sawblades, spikes, fire, electricity, and explosive barrels and you have challenging, yet fun, puzzles. The critters can bounce off of springs, or float across the level in bubbles. Also a few of the items can be shot across the screen like the critters. This adds a whole new aspect to the game.

The game is broken down this way in my opinion:

55% good puzzles
35% great puzzles
10% frustrating puzzles

Now this is a bit unfortunate, because frustrating levels pop up frequently, but most frustration comes from getting 100%, not beating the puzzle. So you should be able to beat the game with little to no frustration. The puzzles that were just flat out ridiculous were ridiculous because they required fast reactions or ridiculous precision over and over again. These puzzles really detracted from the game as a whole because it was super frustrating to try to save all 7 critters from the same predicament. I wish that the number of critters in those puzzles would have been reduced to 2 or 3 because I saw no point in having to do 14 ridiculously hard flicks of critters in one level. This might sound bad, but only if you are going for 100% on a level will this come into  play. The last paragraph sounds like it would make the game a ton worse, but it doesn’t, only a little less great.

Who knew they could bounce so well?

Let me discuss the thing in gaming that very few game developers appreciate or pay attention to, the learning curve. The best example for a learning curve would be Valve’s Portal. That game had a great learning curve, always throwing in new things while you mastered the old. CTDV also has a good learning curve. I never once felt like the puzzle was too complicated for my knowledge of the game. Some of the puzzles did feel way to easy to be so late in the game. The bosses you had to beat in order to progress were usually challenging, but relatively easy. I feel like this was a great design choice because no one likes to be stuck on the same level for 30 minutes because there are no other levels to play. Speaking of great design choices, the variety of levels is great, I never felt like I was playing the same level over and over again, which is hard to say about most games like this.

At least he died cute

Also, as the title of the game suggests, the deaths in this game are violent, but hilarious. The first time I set fire to a critter I almost fell on the ground laughing. As you can see in the picture above, the graphics are very well done, yet simple. This was a great style choice for a game like this. This game does not take itself seriously at all, and that is a great aspect of it. All of the menu options have an aspect of humor, the in game instructions often taunt you, and the entire game the critters will either applaud you with compliments, cuss at you, or plead for their lives. The music is so calm and almost soothing, which really contrasts the sound of a critter getting torn in half. This contrast, cuteness vs. goryness, and calmness vs. crazy death, makes the game all the better. Also there are things called “Achieve Mints” that unlock special levels. There are 7 special levels that can test your skill. Whether it be aiming or keeping your critter alive, these games are fun and a great diversion from normal gameplay. The way to earn achieve mints is specified on the bonus levels page.

Puzzles like this require you to think before you act

The complexity of some of the puzzles was astounding. For example take the puzzle above me (skip this section to avoid a puzzle solution). You have to shoot the explosive barrel up into the crevice on the right in order to spread the fire. This fire will spread all the way along the top of the screen until it blows up another barrel, which sends the spring down onto the blue button, opening up the elevator while destroying the bridge your critters are on. This requires you to flick them onto the first half on the platforms in the middles at the right time so the critters will stay alive, but not get to the elevator before it opens.  (SPOILERS OVER)

Complexity like this makes you think, but also makes you feel like a genius in the process. Those moments are what make CTDV so great.

Speaking of making CTDV great, let me enlighten you on the level editor. Every level you see in the single player game can be remade in the level editor. Period. This allows you to create your own puzzles for torture of critters, or to test your own skills. Unfortunately there is no online level sharing system yet, but ApathyWorks is being un-apathetic and working on that for a future update. In the level editor you build the scene, add the critters, add the items, add the elevator and specific buttons, etc. This is a very well done level editor with many things to learn about it. Go to ApathyWorks’ level editor tutorials to find out all the cool things you can do.

A genius level

All in all, CTDV is a great game that requires a little patience, but is completely worth it in the end. The fact that this game is 80 msp makes it even more appealing. It is so uncommon to find a game that I can pick up and play for 20 minutes, laugh hysterically, and have fun no matter how much progress I make. The fact that you can make your own levels to challenge yourself and your family is great. CTDV is one of the better deals on the Indie Game Marketplace, and is definitely one of my top 10 indie games. This game truly shows what indie games should be about, fun.

Goals


Goals

Goals
Soccer
1-4 Players Local
The Game Creators
$1 (80 msp)
Rating: 7/10
Similar Games: None

Ah Soccer, a national past time of almost every country in the world. I personally love it, but that didn’t have any affect on my enjoyment of Goals. Goals has an easy to learn control scheme with a few twists. The main twist is after you kick the ball you move the control stick to put spin on the ball. So if you are running straight and hit pass the ball will go straight. But if you run straight and hit pass, then angle the control stick to the right fully it will put some spin on the ball and make it go right. This simple addition makes the game so much more fun. You don’t auto pass to people, so it actually takes skill to run down the field and pass at the right time to the right place. You can also back pass, lob, or hit a long pass/shot.

When the ball hits the post you will get more mad then you thought possible at yourself

Now let me explain the uses of all the buttons so no one thinks this is a standard soccer game.

Offense:

A – Will do a short pass (can also be used to shoot, but not recommended)
B – Long Pass/Shot (since you control it, you can long pass from the other teams goal line backwards if you wanted to)
X – Lob (Useful to pass over defenses, or chip a keeper from the far corner of the box)
Y – Backpass (Pass it directly behind you, useful because turning around is a waste of time sometimes)

Defense:

A – Slide Tackle
B – Switch Players

Seems simple, but some people seem to think B is for shooting. Technically yes, but it is the long pass button as well.

I suggest rushing like a mad man.

Penalty kicks are handled well for the kicker as well. When you hear the whistle of the ref a ball icon will move across the goal line. You have to hit A when it is in the goal in order to kick it on target. I haven’t had a ball shot on frame miss yet, which seems odd. Apparently the goalie jumps when you hit it almost directly at him. Ok literally right after typing this the CPU blocked 5 straight PKs. Only one was right at his feet. Odd that my xbox reads my reviews and acts accordingly. This leads to one of my minor complaints, lack of goalie control on penalty kicks. Your goalie will just jump any direction he wants, which is very odd to me. This is a minor complaint considering a shouldn’t have slide tackled someone from behind in the first place.

This leads me to my main complaint about this whole game gameplay wise. While on defense the characters you control automatically switched to the closest person on your team to the ball. This seems like a great idea, but it really throws off the gameplay while defending. If you are running behind someone, but then out of no where you are controlling someone in front of the ball you can lose focus for a second and allow a shot or through ball. This also happens when the ball is loose. This really throws the game off and sometimes makes it very frustrating. My other complaint is how once the opponent gets inside your box, they pretty much automatically score. This is annoying because I have tested it on lower difficulties and it remains true. This could really frustrate everyone. Also the AI is very dumb on free balls, but its not that big of a deal. While I am asking for stuff, online multiplayer would be pretty sweet.

Someone is a bit away from the play...

The main idea of this game is to play in a Cup Tournament. You play all the games you want (change the number in settings) in a row, trying to win the whole thing. The difficulty system is also something I admire about this game. There are 5 difficulties for the AI, and 3 speeds. This means there are 15 different settings to play on. Playing the fastest speed is fun, but that is when the problems really shines through. This is a great addition by the developer and made this game a lot more playable by everyone. There is also the cool system by which you edit the teams. There are 16 teams for you to play with, and as far as I can tell, there are no differences between them. The reason there are 16 teams is that you can edit them to a certain extent. You can edit their home and away colors, as well as all of their names. This is a cool addition that not many people will use, but it is nice to have. You can now create you own version of the English Premier league on your xbox! Whoooo! My only problem with this system is that it is kind of hard to tell what colors you are picking for your team, but that is probably just my old tv.

See what happens when you listen to me?

The graphics on this game are simple and the music is kind of cool. There are sound effects when you score that make you feel like a beast.

Multiplayer seems like it would be very fun, too bad it is only local. I can see me and my friends having some heated Goals matches in the future. Overall this game is very well done and addictive to play. There is really no depth besides the different difficulties, but Goals still manages to be a fun pick up and play game. There are some non-ignorable problems that are a huge pain, but once you get used to the game they will become less noticable. I always play a game or 2 every night before bed.