Cute Things Dying Violently was developed by ApathyWorks. It was released on August 24, 2011 for 80 Microsoft Points. A copy was provided by the developer for review purposes.
Despite its bloodthirsty title, Cute Things Dying Violently doesn’t require the death of walking smiley faces–Well, not exactly. Instead, it requires the sacrifice of some of these nameless optimists so that the others may live and have baby smiley faces of their own. Of course, you’re always welcome to dismiss the goal of the game and kill all of them but then you must welcome us dubbing you a genocidal maniac.
The goal of the game is to fling (let’s call them the walkers) the walkers into a black door that for all we know sends them into an inferno of fire and spinning spikes. You use the left thumbstick to control the cursor which you place on the walkers and the right thumbstick to flick them in any direction you please. The more you pull back on the right thumbstick, the more powerful the fling. But any number of killer obstacles will try and prevent this from being a smooth transition.
Train Frontier Express was developed by Team Train Frontier and released on August 30, 2011 and retails for 240 MSP. A copy was provided by the developer for review purposes.
So many of us have a childhood love of toy trains. We let our imaginations run wild with our train sets. As the train moved along the tracks we would make choo choo noises with our voice. Sometimes we created fictional disasters that would throw the train off track and have it burst into imaginary flames, but hey, it was all good fun. If you were one of those kids (including the bout of destruction) then boy is there a video game for you!
Train Frontier Express is one of the titles in the Indie Games Summer Uprising promotion and deservedly so. Although there really is no “game” here or set of definable goals, it is the closest thing you’ll ever have to a model train simulator on the Xbox 360, and the freedom to share your creations with friends on Xbox Live places this into the top tier category of XBLIG.
SkyDrift was developed by Digital Reality and published by Namco Bandai. It was released September 7, 2011 for 1200 MSP. A copy of the game was provided for review purposes.
Any fan of arcade racing games loves the Mario Kart series, and any fan of Mario Kart knows and loves Diddy Kong Racing as well. It introduces planes into the racing combat genre, something that more experienced players fell in love with. Others tried to take plane combat to new levels: in 1998 Inner Workings released Plane Crazy, a visually realistic take on the genre. Unfortunately nothing ever met with DKR‘s level of success–that is until now. SkyDrift is the perfect combination of Diddy Kong Racing‘s combat system, Plane Crazy‘s realistic art style and visuals on par with Hydro Thunder Hurricane. It’s beautiful, action packed, and frankly a complete blast.
BloodRayne Betrayal was developed by Wayforward Technologies and published by Majesco Entertainment. It was released on September 7, 2011 and retails for 1200 MSP. A copy of the game was provided for review purposes.
You may not have heard of BloodRayne before so let us fill you in. The BloodRayne series consisted of a pair of fairly average action games on the last generation of consoles. There were also a pair of incredibly bad movies, helmed by noted video game movie-murderer Uwe Boll. BloodRayne gained at least a little attention for it’s somewhat unique premise of a sexy half vampire fighting nazis using her arm mounted blades. As the name implies, there was also a lot of blood.
So it came as a surprise when it was announced WayForward were working on a new BloodRayne game for Xbox Live Arcade. BloodRayne was known for it’s over the top violence and scantily clad protagonist Rayne. WayForward’s last notable console game was A Boy and His Blob, a game which was downright adorable, to the extent that it had a button just for hugging! It didn’t seem like a particularly good match, but once we saw some trailers of the game and got a glimpse of the art style and animation we were left wondering. Now we’ve played through BloodRayne Betrayal, we are still left wondering…
T.E.C. 3001 was developed and published by Phoenix Games. It was released on August 24, 2011 and retails for 240 MSP. A copy of the game was provided for review purposes.
T.E.C. (Telsa Energy Collector) 3001 is a fast paced platformer, but unlike most T.E.C. 3001 is not a side-scroller of any sort. It is actually a fast paced, third-person running game where you must traverse different obstacle courses by dodging, sliding, or jumping. With the camera locked in the air behind you as you travel forward into the distance, T.E.C.3001 immediately sets itself up to look and feel different then everything else in its genre. Will this be enough to set it apart and stand out in one of the most crowded genres on any console?
Doom & Destiny was developed by Benjamin Ficus and HeartBit. It was released August 25, 2011 and retails for 240 MSP. A copy of the game was provided for review purposes.
Chosen as a finalist in the Indie Games Summer Uprising promotion, Doom & Destiny is a turn-based RPG. It’s the first game created using RPG builder software to be given a commercial release and anyone familiar with Super Nintendo era JRPGs will feel right at home. The story revolves around a group of Dungeons & Dragons nerds up for some good clean role-playing fun only to find themselves transported into a real fantasy realm with magical creatures and bad puns.
Ugly Americans: Apocalypsegeddon was developed by Backbone Entertainment and co-published by 345 Games and Comedy Central. It was released on August 31, 2011 for 800 MSP. A copy provided for review purposes.
Ugly Americans: Apocalypsegeddon is based off of the hit series on Comedy Central, Ugly Americans, where they seemingly take every horrific devil spawn, mythical creature and odd ball and let them all coincide in New York City. The game is based around this concept; the idea is that the devils daughter is getting married, which is going to cause the end of days. It’s now your job as a member of the Department of Integration (D.O.I.) to stop this marriage and the impending doom of the world before it’s too late. You will join Mark, Callie, Leonard and Frank in this twin-stick adventure across New York to battle demons, man-birds and the devils daughter herself.
Crimson Alliance was developed by Certain Affinity and published by Microsoft Studios. It was released on September 7, 2011. The game is a free download, but characters must be purchased. One character costs 800 MSP, while all three can be purchased for 1200 MSP. A copy of the game was provided for review purposes.
Isometric cameras come with a whole myriad of expectations and memories for many gamers. Most jump straight to Gauntlet, the quintessential isometric beat stuff up game. Well Crimson Alliance is no Gauntlet. Granted, those enjoying the first minutes of their virgin voyage into this game will call blasphemy, but by the end of the first level the differences will be very clear. Crimson Alliance can, however, play like Gauntlet if allowed to, but it would take a lot of effort to ignore the awesome aspects of Crimson Alliance that make it such a different game.
Crimson Alliance has a slight flair for the retro in that it is very, very much about score. There is a story, and there are characters, but the real meat is in the mechanics; Crimson Alliance thrives on good gameplay. The game has three classes, Direwolf the Wizard, Moonshade the Assassin, and Gnox the Mercenary. Each class has its role, especially when it comes to co-op, but each has its offensive and defensive capabilities, none of them rely on each other necessarily, though they can assist each other. Each class’s ability to deal with the decent variety of enemies in Crimson Alliance varies greatly, so the game will play very differently based on which class is being used, and which skills of the class are being focused on. While it’s an action-RPG, Crimson Alliance isn’t so RPG-heavy, the stats are simple and easy to manage as they’re based off of the equipment and there aren’t too many permutations of skills. It’s easy to jump into, it’s easy to understand, but mastery is a different story. Living through a level of Crimson Alliance is pretty easy for the most part, but the multiplier mechanic used to get awesome scores is what really sends this game above and beyond. Every kill, every combo, every streak adds to the multiplier, but one hit, just one, will send the multiplier down one whole notch (it maxes out at 8). That whole mechanic is what Crimson Alliance hinges on and is why people that love to top leaderboards will be all over this game.
Penny Arcade: On the Rain Slick Precipice of Darkness Episode 1 and Episode 2 were developed by Hothead Games. They originally retailed for 1600 MSP and 1200 MSP respectively. They now both have been permanently reduced to 800 MSP each.
The Penny Arcade games are both fairly traditional RPG’s put together in an episodic format. With the third episode finally having been announced this is the perfect time to revisit these titles. Episode 2 makes some improvements over the first but they are largely similar except as far as story is concerned. With that in mind this will be a joint review for both episodes. The theme of the games is difficult to define. Seemingly set in the past it also contains a great deal of futuristic technology. But those up for an interesting mix of themes will be in for a treat.
Battle High: San Bruno was developed by Mattrified Games and retails for 80 MSP. A copy of the game was provided for review purposes.
Battle High: San Bruno is a one-on-one fighting game akin to classics such as Street Fighter 2 and The King of Fighters. It was originally released in February 2011 but has since undergone a revision and has been named one of the finalists of the Indie Summer Uprising. Battle High is the sum of years of fighting game tropes put together. What it lacks in originality it makes up for in playability. It even benefits from the classic story of competing high school students ripped straight from Rival Schools. The inspirations for this game are many. In fact Battle High really reminds us of classic Neo-Geo fighting game Rage of the Dragons. But does this game have enough to excite fighting game fans?