With Summer of Arcade over, and the Fall releases beginning to pour in, one aspect of the 360 experience is being harshly neglected: indie games. Let’s change that.
Let me preface this: there are a lot of bad games on indie games. A lot. From blatant rip-off’s to flat-out broken games, there’s so much to wade through. Instead of continuing to ignore the section as I have been up until recently, I decided to start digging for gold. Here is the criteria I set up for myself:
-Nothing with a user-rating of less than three stars.
-No rip-offs or similar versions of pre-existing titles (yes, I realize this leaves out indie game darling I Made A Game With Zombies In It, but seeing as how I’m not a big fan of dual-stick’s to begin with, that one wouldn’t have gotten far anyway).
-Of what was left, I had to of course have an interest in the genre.
-Game play first. Regardless of how interesting a premise, if the controls or design were impeding my enjoyment, said game was cut.
Out of about 25 games, here’s the cream of the crop…
You’ll like it if you’re a fan of: Rez, Bubble Bobble, games for couples.
2win Ghosts is a fun maze/puzzle title that’s better played with a significant other sitting next to you. Each analog stick controls one of the ghosts, and you must maneuver them to the end point of each level. At 200 Microsoft clam shells, it’s a great hour-hour and a half distraction, and could also serve as a good introduction for your significant other to games if they’re not already into them.
You’ll like it if you’re a fan of: Wii Golf. That’s about it.
Avatar Golf is a solid substitute for Wii Golf. 360 Owners looking for a similar experience, but not necessarily interested in picking up a Wii, will find close to the same game play (minus the motion, natch). It’s great playing a 2-player set when a friend visits, and you’re looking for something smaller and shorter than a bout in SF4, Madden, and the other co-op culprits. And hey, 400 Microsoft jelly beans is still really cheap.
You’ll like it if you’re a fan of: Minesweeper, Super Puzzle Fighter, Lumines.
Filler does just about everything right… from presentation, to game play, and everything in between. You fill a confined area with ever-expanding circles while dodging red dot enemies. That’s it. However, in that simplicity lies a great deal of variation and compelling game play. It’s about as addicting a title you’re likely to find on XBLA, and a good deal at 240 Microsoft yeti nuggets.
You’ll like it if you’re a fan of: Schizoid, Pac-Man, Gauntlet.
Halfbrick Echoes is a hard one to easily describe. At first, it may look like a dual-stick shooter, but that’s way off-base. If anything, Halfbrick is close in spirit to Pac-Man. It’s a top-down title where you race around a confined area collecting gems. Once you’ve collected a gem, an “echo” of yourself starts chasing you around the level, and it gets harder and harder to collect the remaining gems. It’s great fun, and well worth it at 200 Microsoft whale bits.
You’ll like it if you’re a fan of: Super Mario Bros., Strong Bad, Don Hertzfeldt.
Johnny is a classic platformer painted over with a crude, yet charming design aesthetic, replacing gold coins and goombas with coffee and robots. It’s a good time if you’re looking for a no-frills platformer, and the best deal on this list at 80 Microsoft points (see what I did there?).
So there you have it, Platform Nation… go out there and support the little guys!
All box art taken directly from www.xbox.com