Archive for the ‘Game Recommendations’ Category

Check out these Awesome XBox Live Indie Games

Saturday, December 11th, 2010


I’ve been playing quite a few XBox Live Indie Games (XBLIG) recently and there are some really awesome games on there selling for virtually nothing (e.g. 80 points). Sadly not many people hear about them because they are a little bit hidden away in the Game Marketplace and XBLA gets all the attention.

Here are the cream of the crop of the ones that I’ve played:

Epic Dungeon


I’ll start with Epic Dungeon because a) it’s brilliant, and b) I’ve always wanted to make a game like this since I started programming nearly 30 years ago. I used to make mini roguelike RPGs on my 8-bit and 16-bit computers back in the day and when I heard about this game via the Indie Games Winter Uprising, I just had to try it out. Within about 30 seconds I knew I had to buy it, especially as at 80 points it costs less than a bus fare! If you like RPGs, just go and try it immediately, you won’t be disappointed.



I tried out Soulcaster on a whim, and boy, am I glad I did! It looks like a Gauntlet-style game at first but you soon realise it’s quite unique. You control a wizard (well a summoner, I guess) who must summon different souls to protect himself as he ventures through a bunch of interesting environments. It plays kind of like a mobile tower defense game in that the summoned souls are your towers and you run around placing them and using the scenery to protect yourself. It’s just really well done and was quite frantic at times. I bought it one afternoon and just played it straight through to the end. Loved every minute.



Crossfire is one of several excellent high quality games for only 80 points by Radiangames. I’ve bought pretty much all their games because they are so well done. They have a unique signature look and feel which really helps with the branding. Crossfire is like Space Invaders with Geometry Wars-style graphics, except it’s way better than that sounds. It also has a unique twist of being able to flip up to the top of the screen to fire down onto the aliens. Anyway, it’s a fantastic game that’s fun to play more than once for sure. Check it out, and all the other games by Radiangames, you won’t be disappointed.

Decimation X

decimation x

If you looked at Decimation X and said it was Space Invaders on steroids, you’d be about right. It’s really well done, fun and addictive and you can play it with 4 players at once (I play it with my two boys). It also has great music by Imphenzia that really drives the experience along. I’m a big fan of Imphenzia’s modern trance-style tracks – go and check out the site for downloads! Also a heads up that Decimation X3 is now out, and it’s also excellent.

Arkedo Series – 03 Pixel


Pixel is a cute platformer about a cat with a unique art style. It’s a well made platformer that gets quite fiendish later on. Also worth checking by Arkedo are Jump (another great platform game, different from Pixel and with a cool art style) and Swap (a casual puzzle type game) – both are very high quality games.

Retrofit – Overload and Score Rush

retrofit overload ScoreRush

Yes, I like shooters OK? Especially awesome modern ones.

Retrofit – Overload is a Galaxians-style game (like Space Invaders except after they’ve all lined up, the aliens begin diving down at you, and there are challenge stages). It’s fast-paced, looks great, and plays well. Try it out.

If you think Score Rush looks insane, you’d be right. It’s a frantic bullet curtain shooter but it’s done really well. Screenshots don’t do it justice as they look too crazy (almost put me off) but when everything is moving it makes a lot more sense. Watch a video, or better still, try the demo. Oh and it’s by the people who made Decimation X too!

My game!

Also, some exciting news, I’ve been partnering with an existing XBLIG developer to bring one of my existing IPs to the XBox! It should be out before Christmas, stay tuned. I’m stoked!

What XBLIG do you recommend?

15 Games that have influenced me

Friday, October 1st, 2010

jumpingjackimage: Jumping Jack

A few days ago some game designers started posting 15 games that have influenced them, and not one to let a bandwagon pass me by, I’ve done the same! These are more-or-less in chronological order. Of course I could have added many more but the aim was to make the list quickly without thinking too much.

1) Jumping Jack on Spectrum 48K. This was the first computer game I ever saw! Not long after I got my first computer and the rest is history.

2) Horace Goes Skiing on Spectrum 48K. This game came with my first computer and it opened my eyes to what was possible. It wasn’t particularly great but it made me want to play more games and make games too! The Spectrum had tons of great games, and early on I played things like Manic Miner, which I’ll remember forever.

3) Ghosts ‘n’ Goblins on C64. This was such a well produced (and hard!) game with excellent music. There were so many fantastic C64 games I could put here like Cybernoid, Ikari Warriors, Bounder, Commando, Paradroid, World Class Leaderboard, Tetris, Arkanoid, Bubble Bobble, Wizball, Way of the Exploding Fist…you get the idea.

4) Gauntlet arcade cabinet. Need I say more?

5) Laser Squad on C64. This was my first introduction to tactical squad-based combat, and it was amazing. Later on Xcom, created by the same designer really hooked me.

6) Turrican on Amiga (and C64). This game simply blew my head off, and so did the sequel. Amazing use of the technology and a great varied platformer shooter.

7) R-Type on C64 and Amiga. Loved this game, although it was bitchin’ hard. Nearly put Flying Shark or 1942 or Battle Squadron or Slapfight here instead.

8 ) Dungeon Master on Amiga. As soon as I heard the first footsteps and moans of mummies in the distance, my love affair with RPGs began. There are a zillion amazing Amiga games I could list but I’ll stick with just a couple for now.

9) Golden Axe arcade cabinet. When I first saw and heard this, I could hardly believe how good arcade machines had got. It’s still classic today.

10) Doom (I’m not even going to link to this one, because if you haven’t heard of it, what are you doing reading this blog!?) When I saw Doom, I build my first PC (a 486 DX4 100MHz with 4Mb RAM) to run it. Then I played pretty much every decent FPS since, so I’m not going to list any more of those. Although an honourable mention must go to Hexen which I feel really expanded upon Doom in a good way.

11) Screamer on PC. I never really liked racing games before this (with the exception of Buggy Boy on C64 ad some top down racers), but Screamer got me into them. Later on I played things like Gran Turismo 3 which lead directly to me buying a Subaru Impreza Turbo 2000, which was an awesome car.

12) Tie Fighter on PC. Played with an analogue joystick, this space shooter was similar amazing. I’ve never played anything in that genre as good since although there have been some notable efforts such as Rebel Strike on Gamecube.

13) Tomb Raider on Playstation. I just really dug the 3D exploring aspect that hadn’t really been done as well before.

14) Ultima VII Part Two: Serpent Isle on PC. This is probably one of the best RPGs ever and the others in the series rock too. Other notable RPGs are Baldur’s Gate II and Planescape Torment, and more recently the Avernum series.

15) Bejeweled on PC. When I played this back in 2005 I really liked it and thought “I can make a game like this” and so I did. It was called Xmas Bonus and it was my first commercial game! It didn’t do great, but it did sell and make some money, and it taught me a lot. The rest is history.

Wow, making that list took a while and was really hard. Most of those games are pretty old, but maybe that’s because in those days when something new came along, it really was new and influenced a lot of people! There are some amazing games around now of course, and I could probably list tons but I’ve ran out of list numbers, bah!

Also, I feel sad not to have included some classic older games like: Dizzy, Double Dragon, Rolling Thunder, Space Harrier, Streets of Rage, Xenon 2, Rainbow Islands, Populous, Archon, Sim City, Sonic, Monkey Island (and all those point and click adventures), Alien Breed, Stunt Car Racer, Speedball 2, Gods, Flashback, Worms, IK+, Earthworm Jim, Ecco the Dolphin, Desert Strike, Crash Bandicoot, System Shock 2, Silent Hill 2, Zelda Wind Waker, Metroid Prime, Mario Galaxy, Tekken Tag, Wipeout, Resident Evil, Jak and Daxter, Rachet and Clank, Ico, Devil May Cry, Metal Gear Solid, God of War, Ridge Racer, Burnout, Beyond Good & Evil, Final Fantasy VII/X, Super Monkey Ball, Viewtiful Joe, Paper Mario, Prince of Persia, Elite Beat Agents, Hotel Dusk, Advance Wars, Half Life, Portal, Call of Duty and last but not least Farmville (OK not old or classic, and not great, but certainly influential).

OMG I could easily keep going to 100 games no probs, so I’d better sign off for now.

What 15 games have influenced you?
Post links to your lists!

Hidden Object Adventure Games Rock

Sunday, September 26th, 2010


If you say “Hidden Object Game” to a “gamer” they’ll either groan or say “what’s that?”. If you say it to an Indie developer, they’ll probably ask you to leave the room. However, I wonder who many of these people have actually played a good one and how many are just parroting a standard response?

There are two types of Hidden Object Games as I see it:

1) Straight hidden object games like Mystery Case Files: Ravenhearst. This is the type that most people think of when they hear “Hidden Object Game”. I happen to enjoy playing them with my family, but I can see why many people find them boring.

2) Hidden object Adventure games like Azada: Ancient Magic and Drawn: The Painted Tower. These are basically point and click adventure games like from the old days, except that they have high production values and aren’t fiendishly hard. Sometimes these games contain a combination of adventure and hidden object elements such as Dire Grove.

I personally prefer the second type of HOG as they are more like the old-skool point and click adventure games and there are some REALLY good ones like Treasure Seekers: Follow the Ghosts. Many non-casual players don’t know what they are missing!

So if you get a chance, join the millions of casual players who love these games and check them out sometime.