Canno-Blast – XBLIG Review

A WDesm review for XBoxHornet

“The only Indie Game with an honest-to-goodness THEMESONG

In Canno-Blast, 1-4 players square off in an arena of coloured firepower. Each player controls a stationary turret with a single function: Shoot (and that single function is mapped to any one of eight buttons, the simplest take on ‘ergonomic controller mapping’ ever invented). A turret’s ‘bullets’ don’t do direct damage, and instead alter the trajectory of a Pong-styled Koosh ball (or balls, in more complex levels), and these balls will damage any player turrets they run into. After taking a few hits, your turret is destroyed, and you’re out of the game. The matches are fun, fast, and the game comes with a Rock and Roll Themesong of not-insignificant production values. At the very least, it’s worth your attention for the theme song alone.

The gameplay is hectic and rewarding, and with a built-in awards system, you’ll have some fun playing through the single player “campaign.” The single player game isn’t where the meat and potatoes are, and to get the full enjoyment, you really need to be playing with at least one other person. Sadly, this ‘full enjoyment’ is a local feature only, which is a shame that (for example) two friends can’t go online and thrash another pair of like-minded warriors. As XBLIG continues to gain steam, it’s going to become more vital that it mimics the features of its bigger brother XBLA, and while it obviously won’t make it all the way (such as achievements or purchasable DLC), some features, such as more online connectivity, need to trickle down to XBLIG for people to start reconsidering the inappropriate label of a “casual game dump”.

(That’s a rather hefty claim to make midway through a review, and I mean only to say that while the production value and quality of games on XBLIG has steadily and drastically improved since launch, the low awareness of XBLIG has helped to disseminate news about this rise in value. The solution? Convince all your friends to try out and support more indie games and developers!)

Artistically, Canno-Blast gets the Olympic medal for having an actual soundtrack. Raully Castillo has created an actual theme song to Canno-Blast, and while it’s not going to win any Grammys, it gains the distinction of being the first XBLIG to pull off such a stunt (and it’s not a bad jingle either). Kudos to you, Rascal Haven, for leaving a positive memorable artistic impression. I can’t often say that the artwork was distinct; while it will be a tall feat to match, I hope that your future games hold such charm. The other half of an artistic impression, the visuals, are slightly less as memorable, although they do have enough colour distinction that you won’t get confused in the chaos, and for that, I suppose they are serviceable enough.

Canno-Blast is going to be enjoyable for a very finite time. The gameplay is very accessible, but doesn’t have a large amount of longevity. I can see Canno-Blast fitting a good niche in getting a crew of 3-4 laughing and mashing buttons for a few minutes, and the theme song is certainly going to rock some socks off, but after you’ve had your fix…it might just start collecting digital dust.

Game Score 7/10

Download a free trial here.

Watch a demo video here, or check out the XTube for even more video clips!

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