So for those who like indie games and want to see some of the less well known stuff thatís come from the soon to be shut down XNA development system I thought Iíd shamelessly plug this bundle put together by a fellow Xbox Live indie game reviewer Indie Gamer Chick, who has put a lot of work into getting this bundle†up and together and you can read about all the issues etc on her blog here.
Yes itís a shameless plug for the bundle but honestly for the work thatís gone into this by Indie Gamer Chick I feel it only right to plug it not least as this is designed as almost an early goodbye to XNA before it shuts down in less than a year. This bundle means I can also say a little about the games that Iíve played in their original form on Xbox 360 that are in this bundle (though I havenít played many at only 3 of the 8 in the bundle, damn you steam summer sale!!!).
Dead Pixels Ė a game I recently bought in the steam sale and will set you back £1.99 on steam at present. I still count this as one of the best titles to come from XBLIG in a while as itís just fun to play but hides more complex systems to it. If anything Iíd say it feels like it could be said to be a de-make of DayZ (The good one not to be confused with the shitfest game formerly known as War Z). It very much feels like a survival game where you have to balance your †spending, get the right ammo type for your weapons and make decisions such as do I carry two guns running on one ammo type and go ammo mad or do I have two guns on two ammo types in-case I run out of one ammo type ? †The trader system is pretty cool too as while you scavenge for supplies you can often find in demand items which certain sellers will pay top dollar for, like toilet roll. Note: in the zombie apocalypse Iím sure toilet roll will become a highly valued item fairly quick.† I particularly loved the grindhouse stylings added to the game which very much gave the feeling of playing something a grindhouse film in game form. oh and one final thing I'm very glad to see the PC port auto detect my graphics card and recommend settings based on it rather than me having to spend ages working it just right (looking at you thirty flights of loving, looking at you) along with the option to turn the film grain effect off and change hud element placement. If every you wanted to dip into a zombie game with a bit more depth to it but not so much its horrifying then Dead Pixels is the zombie game for you, it will definately scratch that zombie game itch well enough to stop you buying Sniper elite Nazi Zombie Army any time soon and is a game you'll find yourself coming back to to play a little bit every now and again because its simply fun.
Chester Ė Um, I played Chester, I really didnít like Chester, itís an indie platformer with multiple characters and variable art styles. My major issue was the control felt pretty loose and not very enjoyable to me personally. But hey some people like loose controls and can accept that as its definitely deliberate. It also has some RPG like elements for those who might want some RPG in their platformer. My main objection I remember way everything felt crap without levelling it up so it just seemed to grind on me. From what Iíve heard the game might have changed quite a bit from the version I played but for me its ones of the few games I canít go back too because the taste of a good idea gone sour just lingers with me so much.
Little †Racers Street Ė Oddly me and Milkstone studios have a love hate relationship. I will love one game and sing its praises then the moment Iím doing that they slip out a stinking pile of shit based on another popular game in the hopes I wonít notice. I then try said new game, hate it and point out how when theyíre being original or delivering quality its actually something Iíll praise. Little Racers Street is actually a game I really think deserves praise, itís going to be completely in a way Milkstone probably didnít anticipate but itís because it feels like playing Micro Machines. Yes those old Micro Machines games where the handling wasnít hard but it was just weird enough to be fun without slipping into being a simulation level racer. The game is meant to be based round the idea of simply street racing and upgrading your car, working your way through the races and classes and just progressing. Car customisation is fun and the initial car choices doo feel like they handle differently, with you customisation actually feeling like theyíre making an impact on how the car performs. Little Racers Street is the kind of game where you get a bunch of friends together tell them on a certain date youíre going to play some races so play it and get your cars ready, then you go in all with customised cars and play an insane party game where youíll be swearing a lot for people cutting you off or slamming you into the wall using their cars. Itís a party game where screwing one another over is a big but fun part of it and that makes it the perfect party game to drink to. Itís a very good game, its surprisingly deep and well what better praise can there be than it reminded me of playing a Micro Machines racing game, but without the whole giant real world stuff this is racing through scale models streets etc now. I did actually play this in a Multiplayer match with Indie Gamer Chick, Alan Charlesworth (another indie game review) and others and honestly it was damn good fun and PC doesnít have that many racing games not really cheap party like ones anyway so with online play I can see this being a blast for PC gamers as much if not more than console gamers.
So is the bundle worth its present selling price of †£2.79 ($4.29ish) well yes because the whole bundle is 8 games thatís £0.35 ($0.54ish) a game. If youíre fine with getting windows or Desura download codes then itís great as unfortunately not all of the games are on steam, though many are trying via greenlight, then you should be getting this bundle. The XNA and XBLIG games are honestly a whole different level of indie games these are the one man teams making little games, many of the teams put a lot of heart into their games and so few people really recognise or care about indie games on xbox at least not the XNA ones. Essentially at its present price youíre buying all the games with each game individually being cheaper than the cheapest game indie game in the steam summer sale. Even looking at Dead Pixels which is about £2 on steam youíre buying Dead Pixels and then spending £0.80 on 7 games.
These may not be big name developers yet, but many of them might well be in the future and with XNA being shut down soon this is them branching out to the strange world of PC. If you've ever wanted a look into a different indie scene the honestly trying this bundle gives you a good varied selection of what's on offer on XBLIG and what will hopefully soon be making its way to steam more once the XNA closes its doors finally.†
Thank you for bothering to read to the end, and incase Iíve convinced you to buy the bundle hereís the link again to save you scrolling back up to the top. As of writing this you have about 2 days to get this bundle still