Goblyn Stomp review

A review for XboxHornet by Christopher Ellis

If Mario has taught gamers anything over the past twenty-five years, it’s that if strange creatures start moving toward you, it’s best to jump on them. Goblyn Stomp takes this lesson to heart, but does so in a silent-film setting that is seldom seen these days.

You play as Mr. Chap Scaliwag and must clear the street of goblyns, creatures that I think look a bit like wingless chickens. With your fancy bowler hat and cane, you rain down death to the goblyns by jumping on top of them, stomping on them, planting remote ‘mynes’ to blow them up, and even use your cane as a rotary blade.

The game is set in a single screen. Goblyns will slowly begin to walk in. While you only begin with your basic jump, killing certain numbers of these unlocks the abilities I’ve mentioned above. Likewise, as you kill them, more and more will begin to march in from all directions. You do have to be careful as you only have so much health. The townsfolk will aid you though, dropping bottles of tonic for you to regain health. Once you lose all your health, you die, but then it takes you to the score screen, where you seen the fancy Mr. Scaliwag standing triumphantly on top of a large pile consisting of the exact number of goblyns you managed to kill.

The character of Chip Scaliwag, along with the silent-film setting, is a nice breath of air. The entire game is sepia-toned and has clean graphics throughout. I did have the problem of losing sight of a tonic while an army of goblyns marched over it. The only thing that I can think of that would make the graphics seem any more perfect for its setting would be an old-film grain effect.

Musically, the game features different bits of ragtime-like piano tunes, which are very fitting. Depending on how long you last, the music may restart, but I didn’t find it to be distracting. Your sound effects include different drums and a slide whistle, though the sound of goblyns dying is an awkward combination of a chirp and crunch. That specific sound effect, because you can hear it multiple hundreds of times is the single worst part of this game for me. It’s not terrible, but the repetition tends gets irritating.

While the game is fun and silly (which is also fun), I would have liked to see it split up into stages, or given you a slight respite before additional waves invade the screen. As it is, you play until the street is nothing but a sea of goblyns and there’s no end until you die. That makes it hard for me to find a decent spot to pause if needed.

In all honesty, I can’t force myself to play this game for more than twenty minutes at a time due to the goblyn sound effect, but I have frequently come back to it for those small bursts of silly fun. Goblyn Stomp is available for 80 MSP, which I find to be not only reasonable, but very much worth it.

Goblyn Stomp score 8/10

Christopher can be found on Xbox Live by the gamertag Azrane1.

Watch a trailer for Goblyn Stomp here.

Download a free trial of the game here.


Win Kingdom for Kelfings XBLA game

Give away closed
The winner was PriusGuy2004, I hope your friend enjoys the game

To celebrate the launch of the massive DLC packs for A Kingdom for Kelfings which you can buy for just 160 MS points each, we are give away a copy of the full game.

To enter all you have to do is pop over to our Video Vault and leave a message telling us why you should receive A Kindom for Keflings.

Head on over to the Marketplace to download a free trial of the game straight to your Xbox.

Click here for the small print.

Johnny Platform Saves Xmas voted game of the week ending 13th Dec. ’09

Johnny Platform Saves Christmas was voted game of the week by our forum members.

Watch a trailer for the game here.

Download a free trial of the game here.

Herman review

Review for XboxHornet by War Gamer

When I first heard about a new platformer coming to the Xbox Live Indie Games section I got pretty excited. I love platformers. Ever since playing indie games like Arkedo Series – 01 Jump or the Johnny Platform games, I didn’t think any game could top them. So when it came time to play Herman, I was hoping it would earn a spot along side them and not disappoint.

From the opening scene with the music and mood set, you know this game has the potential to be good. To be honest, I like how the game starts. The music is very atmospheric, and somewhat relaxing. If you’ve played the XBLA game Braid, you’ll be quite familiar with the intro and the way the story is told at the beginning. The game is about a man named Herman, who realizes his life is at an end and wants to quit his job. It also mentions that he likes a certain girl so he quits to look for her. After telling his best friend, a co-worker, his plan, word quickly spreads around the office. For some unknown reason, no one wants Herman to leave and will do anything to block his escape to the exit.

Included in the game are said to be 25 long levels, 5 difficulty settings, 15+ original music tracks and over 200 backgrounds that portray Herman’s life. I made the mistake of starting the game on the second difficulty setting, “slightly easy”. The game was very slow, and hardly any challenge at all. I died a few times while trying to get a hang of the button layout. Through the few restarts, I noticed the level was randomly generated. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but after playing a few levels, you quickly realize the game is very repetitive and boring, yet somewhat addictive. When they say long levels, they mean it too. Each level could take up to 10 minutes to complete if you try to collect everything. With 25 long and repetitive levels, you think to yourself, do I want to finish the game? It would of been nice to of had more variety or puzzle elements in the game. The things that make other platformers good, and challenging. Now, I’m not saying this game is bad. There is a nice variety of enemies – there are fast enemies that run into you and chase you down, ladies that throw what looks like peppers or pens at you, go kart racers, R/C Airplanes, suicide enemies, guys with rockets, and so on.

The main gameplay here is to head right and go up and down ladders, all while collecting packages, tangerines, turkeys for health, avoiding enemies and reaching the exit of each level. Your main form of attack is throwing tangerines at enemies. You can also kick them if close enough, but end up losing a lot of health this way. In most platformers to duck, you press down, but in this game, you press the Right Shoulder button. Not a big deal, just something to get used to. Also,something I found really odd, you can dig holes. Why would someone dig a hole in an office building? Also, why are you picking up tangerines to throw in an office building. Why not office supplies? When collecting packages you’ll notice they sometimes spawn in the filing cabinets. At first I had no idea how to get them, but when you finally see the suicide enemy, he’ll run into them and make the path clear. There is also a section after you complete a level where you can buy upgrades. I don’t really see much use for them, but they are there.

The music in this game is actually quite enjoyable. It ranges from atmospheric and relaxing music to upbeat escape music. The tracks are looped, but they are so seamless that you won’t even notice it starting over. If there was ever a soundtrack available, I’d recommend giving it a listen.

When it comes to the Art style in this game, it’s somewhat hard to talk about. I mean, it’s unique, and all somewhat hand drawn characters. Not pixel based, high quality 2D characters, or 3D models like other games. I don’t mind it, but like all platformers I play, I like small characters. They are easier to control over the tall ones like Herman. The 200+ backgrounds aren’t anything special either. They are photoshopped pictures of Herman in various real life images that portray his life. It’s almost like a montage of his life before death.

At first I really didn’t like this game and all I could think about was negative comments. After playing the game on a higher difficulty and thinking about it, my thoughts changed. The game is much more challenging and enjoyable, but still very repetitive. After fully playing it, you know the game has huge potential. The story and music alone are already great. With a new “engine”, art style, gameplay mechanics, and puzzle elements, it could of been a worthwhile game at 240 points. As it stands now though, it’s hard to recommend. I say maybe wait until Four player tangerine fight, the next game based on the Herman engine, is released and play that with up to 3 friends. But even then I wouldn’t recommend it.

I give this game 5 “tangerines!” out 10.

Download a free trial of the game here.

You can watch a trailer of Herman here.

Encleverment Experiment Give Away XBLA

Give away closed, the winner was Joel – jrp023

Hi folks we have a code for the Xbox Live Arcade game Encleverment Experiment to give away.

To enter head on over to our Video Vault leave a message as to why you would like to receive the Encleverment Experiment along with your twitter tag (this is very important) and we will pick a winner on Christmas eve.

Good luck, click here for the small print

Avatar Wave – Snowball Fight review

Review for XboxHornet by WDesm

“The best MULTIPLAYER snowball fight in town”

Upon loading up Avatar Wave: Snowball Fight, my first thought was an overwhelming feeling of nostalgia for the old Super Dodgeball game for the NES. Okay, I take that back – my first thought was actually that this game makes a beautiful Christmas screensaver, but my second thought was definitely of Super Dodgeball. I made the comparison because Super Dodgeball took a rather simple premise, and “ExtremE-i-fied” it to make an enjoyable game, without ironic pretense or ridiculousness. Avatar Wave: Snowball Fight does the exact same thing to the art of snowball-wars, and for that, it gets well-deserved praise.

Much like a court sport, Avatar Wave: Snowball Fight sets up the battlefield into two halves, and teams stay on their courts. Snowballs are generated by holding the “A” button, and are auto launched at their target by holding the “X” button. Additionally, a dodge button is included (“B”) for those last-minute dives. The cat-and-mouse game of collecting and launching snowballs goes on back-and-forth, with the occasional advantage being garnered by the players that grab randomly-spawning powerups. A player has “lost” when they have been hit by enough snowballs to freeze solid, and a team has lost when all players are frozen.

Admittedly, the gameplay is fantastic, but on a 1v1 scale, a tad hollow. Even the added allure of using your avatar to dish out this snowball war doesn’t take away from the fact that 1v1 is either extremely easy (because a CPU player won’t move fast enough to respond to your throws) or extremely difficult (because a 1v1 player match can quickly stalemate if the players play defensively). The appeal is when a full game of 4 players, either local or online, have the opportunity to throw the snow around. The game supports searching for online games, and hosting new ones, making online play a pleasant experience. With a full house of players, the old-school chaos of “ExtremE sports” returns in full spirit.

Avatar Wave: Snowball Fight comes with a lot of extras, including a “survival” mode (and before December 31st, a Facebook contest to earn a copy of Hotwave Game’s next release for surviving in this mode), unlockable rewards for playing Arcade Mode, and even a screen saver! (evidently, the developers had already anticipated an appreciation for a scenic Christmas, coupled with Christmas carols in the background)

I can’t predict that this game’s theme will hold up well in even a few month’s time – the Christmas theme is a rather specific one to try to market- but the gameplay is enjoyable, and if you’re willing to play online, or if you’ve got three friends eager to play, you’ll certainly have some fun playing Avatar Wave: Snowball Fight

We are going to take the unusual step of giving this game two scores.

Overall game score 7/10

Multiplayer score 10/10

You can download a free trial of the game here.

You can see a trailer for the game here

Gerbil Physics review

Review for XboxHornet by WDesm

“A High Production value game at a Rock Bottom Price”

Gerbil Physics is a puzzle game where the physics engine IS the puzzle game, much in the vein of the computer games Porrasturvat (Stair Dismount) or Rekkaturvat (Truck Dismount). In physics puzzle games, you often influence the system very little, and are forced to watch the “outcome” of your specific choices. Imagine, if you will, a Rude Goldberg device that is missing a few key components. In the case of Gerbil Physics, the goal is always to get the target Gerbils below a “red” line, by demolishing the structures of gerbils – and before PETA comes a-charging, the gerbils are eternally cheerful and indestructible objects, bouncing to and fro under the explosions. As you place demolition charges over the map, your gerbils are flung around in the aftermath, ricocheting and rebounding however they might go. The key point here is that the physics engine, even in a simple 2-d form, determines that movement, so heavyset gerbils and lightweight gerbils respond differently.

As the game progress, more tools are unlocked, and these tools add further complexities to the style problems you can solve, but the game never has a single “right” answer, so sometimes the oddest of tactics will pay off, and this diversity is what prevents the game from ever becoming stressful, even in its trickier levels.

Artistically, Gerbil Physics is THE standard to which other XBLIG games should be held. I say this because Gerbil Physics has a strong level of polish – every part of the game meshes well with itself, be it animation, cute and soft-edged artwork, sound effects, or music. If nothing else, I would give this game high praise for the level of attention to detail and consistency demonstrated from start to finish – even a stage’s failure is met with cute, gerbil-related physics (that I shan’t spoil, because it’s truly worth the first chuckle).

The only downfall of Gerbil Physics is its length – the entire game is a mere 24 levels long, and even with its cute sound effects and problem-solving explosions, you will soon be left hankering for more. But, given that the game was released for a single dollar (80 MSPoints), and given that those 24 levels are chock full of high quality gerbil mania, I’m willing to accept the tradeoff: I would rather, any day of the week, enjoy a short but excellent game on the cheap than buy something incomplete, dreary, or worst of all, unpolished. If you’ve ever enjoyed any casual game, from Peggle to Pogo.com, you can safely try Gerbil Physics.

Game score 9/10

XboxHornet’s second Opinion. I have to agree with WDesm, this game is fantastic, I fell in love with it from the first play. It maybe short, but like Beringela’s first game Horn Swaggle Island it’s a polished Indie game that everyone should try.

Download a free trial of the game here.

Watch a video of Gerbil Physics here.