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.

Here’s what we liked:

Concept – TIC is such a well thought out game that proves you don’t have to be an Xbox Live Arcade or retail game to do it right. You are a simple worker bot, who has set out to save the Molepeople (who have retreated underground) from the EvilCorp (alien race of oil-mining capitalist robots). Along your journey you will collect acorns, avoid bad robots and destroy oil drilling machines, all while making the acquiescence’s of other friendly robots and Molepeople. Aliens, oil, robots, acorns, moles and world domination – this is imagination at its best.

Artistic style – Everything in the game is so simplistic, yet still manages to achieve so much depth. All the colors in TIC just pop, creating eyegasm after eyegasm. The characters are all uniquely designed and stand apart from each other. Each world/society is breathtakingly beautiful, but widely different.

Controls – So many retail games for the 360 suffer from downright poor controls; it’s always nice to find a game, especially an Indie game, that feels spot on. It’s especially nice here since control is everything in this game; you’re constantly trying to dodge enemies or land on something. It is delightful to be able to stop on a dime for once, instead of floating or sliding just a hair to far, inevitably resulting in numerous and frequent deaths.

Replay options – TIC only has three stages, which isn’t bad for being ‘part 1’ in the series. You can beat these levels in 30 minutes or less, so you definitely need more. No worries, Red Candy Games is ready to deliver. There are three challenge modes: Collect 100 Acorns, Don’t Die! and Clock of Doom. These unlock once you complete a level. Don’t Die and Clock of Doom both require you to rerun the stage, either to finish the level in one life or under a par time, forcing you to completely rethink each run. Collect 100 Acorns on the other hand is a completely different beast, focusing on flying through the sky collecting purple acorns. It’s not as easy as it sounds, you only have so much power before you stop hovering and fall like a rock. You have to maneuver around enemies, collect your acorns and snag red acorns to refill your hover gauge in order to stay a float. What a great addition to the game; basically it turns your three levels into six. Just in case that wasn’t enough, they also placed 30 silver and 3 gold acorns on every stage to collect. Just a hint, all silver are needed to collect all gold, keep that in mind.

Here’s what we didn’t like:

Lack of multiplayer – This game could have gone so much further, simply by allowing more then one player, even if only locally. Playing through story mode would be a little more challenging and probably funnier, if you were playing with your pal. Heck just the Collect 100 Acorns mode would have been a blast with two people racing to collect their acorns first.

No leaderboards – Anytime you create a challenge that has a rankable outcome, people want to be the best. The Clock of Doom mode could easily have leaderboards showing the amount of time left at the end of a stage. Yet there aren’t any online or local boards to challenge yourself.

TIC: part 1 was a welcome surprise. We enjoyed every second of it. There are so many things to love about this brilliantly fluid game, that the two missing features are easily and quickly overlooked and forgotten. At only 240 MSP TIC: Part 1 is a steal and worth well more than that on so many levels. The best part is that this is only the first part of a series, which means more breathtaking adventures are on the way.

Score: Buy it!!!