Shield the Beat was developed by MBrio and was released on the XBLIG marketplace on April 4, 2011. It originally retailed for 400 MSP. The price has since been dropped to 240 MSP. A copy of the game was provided for review purposes.
Some would argue that rhythm-based games are no longer fun, and for the most part they’d be right. The Guitar Hero series has gone stale and luckily fizzled out, Rock Band 3 — as great as it is — can only have so many good songs each week as DLC — and games like Parappa the Rapper have long since been thrown in the bargain bin at your local used game store.
But there’s something about Xbox Live Indie Games that bring a fresh take on tired genres. Shield the Beat does just that. It requires no plastic guitars, but instead prefers a set of thumbs that spend their time playing dual stick shooters. The premise is simple: the on-board computer is trying all sorts of crazy maneouvers to evade four enemy ships while it prepares for a hyperspace jump. You control the ships defenses. In addition to overall shields your fighter is equipped with large red and blue defensive spheres. Catch enemy fire in them to keep the main shields from failing. The barrage is all set in time to an electric soundtrack that makes it an absolute blast to play.
Fluffy Operation Overkill was developed by So SO Dev Games and released on June 22, 2011 for 240 Microsoft Points. A copy was provided by the developer for review purposes.
As gamers, we often feel desensitized to violence — something politicians in Washington like to mention when introducing legislation aimed at our favorite past time — but if they played a game like Fluffy Operation Overkill and benefited from its offering of stress release in digital form, only then would they begin to appreciate an industry not defined by violence but free enough to include it.
The premise is simple: an unnamed disease has devastated the peaceful tendencies of your neighborly animal folk, including yourself it seems (if harnessing a rapid-fire machine gun is any indication), contributing to their blood lust and an unabashed hatred for you (a squirrel, a beaver, a squirrel-beaver?), and you’re stuck having to defend yourself against them. Controls are that of a traditional side scrolling shooter. A to jump, X to shoot, right trigger to kick nasty animals off your body before they eat you alive, that kind of thing.
QuadSmash was developed by Creative Patterns and retails for 400MSP. A copy of the game was provided for review purposes.
QuadSmash is a 2D car combat game. You drive around in quads and, not surprisingly, your goal is to smash them, or at least smash your opponents. This game is pure multiplayer madness. It is one of the rare games that actually defaults to the multiplayer content on the opening screen. The gameplay consists of driving very fast through insane obstacles and using the terrain and special moves to beat your opponents to a pulp.
TIC: Part 1 was developed by Red Candy Games. It was released on June 21, 2011 for 240 Microsoft Points. A copy of the game was provided by the developer for review purposes.
TIC: part 1 is an stunning example of what the Xbox Live Indie Marketplace was made for. This simple, beautiful game is amazing from one end of the spectrum to the other. It’s got bright vivid colors, a simple story line, a unique art style and most of all it’s tons of fun. You control TIC, a robot who needs to save the world from oil stealing aliens. To do so, you must fly, collect and drill your way through the stages.
iCandy is developed and published by Dandysoft. It was released on the Xbox Live Marketplace May 3, 2011 and cost 80MSP. A copy of the game was provided by the developer for review purposes.
iCandy is a board based, puzzle style game. This concept is a little different and makes for quit a challenge, you must place a candy square on every block of the board. This sounds simple enough, but the challenge comes in when you have to start matching the color and candy style of all blocks. You can complete a straight line, which makes the whole row disappear, but you have to keep in mind to keep all colors on the board and playable. 25 levels, 9 pretty girls, and trophies await you in this candy packed puzzler.
Avatars Don’t Bleed was developed by SoGameSoftware and retails for 80 Microsoft Points.
Drawing upon the mechanics and minimalism of games like N+ and the floaty physics of Super Meat Boy, Avatars Don’t Bleed is a running, jumping, wall-clinging, avoid spike-based-deathing platformer. As with a growing number of solid XBLIG titles, Avatars Don’t Bleed features the player’s avatar as the main star of the action, and for only 80 Microsoft points. For fans of the genre, it would appear that Avatars Don’t Bleed should be a no-brainer of a purchase. Alas, appearances often find themselves impaled, repeatedly, on the sharp spike walls of reality.
Gerbil Physics was developed by Beringela, now known as Pencel games. It was released on Xbox Live Marketplace December 7, 2009 and cost 80MSP.
Gerbil Physics is a simple block and physics puzzle game. The premise is simple: use a set amount of tools per level to get all blocks below the red line. With bombs, ropes and a disintegrators at your disposal, it’s your job to beat all 24 levels of gerbil mayhem.
Super Sequence 2 was released by DanDySoft Games and retails for 80MSP. A copy of the game was provided by the developer for review purposes.
Super Sequence 2 is a simple game with simple and effective execution. It’s a memory game that challenges you to remember increasingly long sequences of button presses, similar to the old Simon electronic game. There’s a visual cue on screen and a specific tone for each specific button press to help you remember the sequence. It’s a brain exercise for sure, and likely to make you feel rather stupid too. But despite the solid execution of the base premise, it is still just a game about pressing sequences of buttons.
Blocks That Matter was developed by Swing Swing Submarine and released on May 12, 2011 and costs 240 Microsoft Points. A copy was provided by the developer for review purposes.
Sometimes our only salvation during times of need are the products of our own intuition — creative outputs that have lagged behind because of the brevity of our attention spans — in Blocks That Matter, this is a lowly driller-robot that is tasked with a mission to finally repay its Swedish creators that have been kidnapped by a shadowy duo with sinister intentions.
You are Tetrabot, a robot that resembles a washing machine with arms, legs, a drill and a spin cycle that crushes blocks that do in fact matter, because they are not only obstacles in Tetrabot’s adventure, but also the solutions to the game’s complex puzzles. You “collect” blocks by drilling into them, and then pause the action to place them into the playing field, providing pillars to jump off and reach higher terrain. The catch is that you can only place four blocks at a time and they must connect to each other. This one-of-a-kind gameplay element will make Braid veterans scratch their heads in delightful confusion, but also make them appreciate one of XBLIG’s most remarkable titles.
The Last Pod Fighter was developed and published by Fighter9 and was released for Xbox Live Indie Games on May 9th, 2011 for 80MSP. A copy of the game was provided by the developer for review purposes.
The Last Pod Fighter is an arcade style 3D space shooter that throws players into battle against several other space ships. It features four different pods (the game’s powerups) at your disposal to help you defeat the waves of enemies. There are two styles of game play at your disposal: arcade, in which you fight enemies round by round trying to get to the capital ships (bosses), and survival mode, which is self-explanatory.