XboxHornet Site Revamp

Hey there everyone! We’re slowly migrating to a snazzier and fancier site over at http://www.xboxhornet.com/wordpress/

Please be patient with us as we transfer everything over, but you can still expect the same news, reviews, interviews, and competitions to be coming your way!  (Note that the current competition, ending Saturday for a copy of myFishtank, will comprise of entrants from both the new and old site; no-one is disqualified!)

Keep your browser tuned to us, and enjoy the ride!

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Flotilla 2.3 released on Xbox

Flotilla, a fantastic indie game we previewed recently, has been launched onto the Xbox Indie Channel as of earlier today. Surprisingly, it has launched as version 2.3, completely up-to-date with the PC version. The even greater news is that the game is also half-price, at 400 MSPoints, rather than $10 for the PC version.

Download a demo here, and expect a review of this fantastic indie title later this weekend.

Avatar Bumper Cars to receive online play

We have had some great news from Torturas, Avatar Bumper Cars is getting a major update. This is going to include an online mode.
Avatar Bumper Cars is a great little game, but there is no doubt that unless you have a friend to play against locally, it is going to have a short shelf life.

Well not anymore, with the promise of the online mode this is going to be a game that will keep you coming back for more. There is no confirmed date for the upgrade yet, but we’ll be sure to let you know more when we do. So in the mean time give the demo a go, it’s free after all.

Game description:Avatar Bumper Cars is a 1-4 player arena battle game. Watch your avatar take control of a bumper car in one of 5 different arenas and face off against either your friends or the computer in an action packed battle! Use your car’s spikes to hit their gas cans and send them flying out of the arena. Will you be the last man standing?

Mid-Week Gamer Update

Microsoft Block Party Free Avatar Items
To celebrate the “Block Party” promotion (including the games Toy Soldiers, Scrap Metal, Perfect Dark, and the Game Room), a free Avatar Prop, a BBQ Grill, is being given away for a limited time.  The code is multi-use, but will eventually expire, so use it today!

BBQ Grill Prop – 9XBX9-9RCD9-9BCK9-9PRTY-9RCKZ

Likewise, some free clothes are available for your avatar in the same limited sense.  To snag a free “Bing!” Tee, just pick your gender:

Male Shirt – PHT9P-KXR4Y-BB6BY-VFMPD-THT4T
Female Shirt – VFH6P-9FJKK-KKP9G-H4DRH-WTCFM

Enjoy!


Toy Soldiers, the flagship title for Xbox’s Block Party event, was released to great fanfare and fantastic reviews.  Now that the month of March is winding down, I won’t inundate you with another 5-star review of this 5-star game. Instead of focusing on my perspective, I’ll focus on a silent killer of XBLA and XBLIG: game longevity.  It is no secret that mere weeks after launch, XBLA and XBLIG games can have trouble holding onto their online audience; gamers get bored, try the next best thing, or simply complete the game to their satisfaction.  If that is so, then why bother buying an expired and outdated game?  Well, for those worrying about this, I’ve got good news.

Thankfully, none of that yet holds true for Toy Soldiers.  If you missed picking up this blockbuster on launch, you still have the opportunity to enjoy a strong online community – just minutes before posting, I was able to get into an online skirmish on the first try with less than fifteen seconds of waiting.   Take the opportunity to try this gem today!

Download a demo here.

Watch a video clip here.


In the XBLIG scene, Asphalt Jungle, a game previously and favourably reviewed on this site, has been updated, including new & improved graphics, and an “Awardment” system to encourage longer and more creative play.  Try the game out if you haven’t already!

Download a free trial of the game here.


Speaking of asphalt, the MotorHEAT contest is still going strong, and is now up to 13 “1600 MSPoint” cards being given away with 8 days left!  Get on the asphalt and show your stuff!


Finally, to round out your lucky odds, be sure to enter into our contest for a copy of myFishtank.  Read our spotlight on Avatar Cannon and Avatar Rockets to find out how!


Here’s hoping the rest of the week is as exciting!

MotorHEAT Contest Update – XBLIG

To keep everyone updated about the MotorHEAT contest that Milkstone Studios is running, here is the latest:

To date, 11 “1600 MS Point” cards have been purchased with the proceeds from game purchasers during the contest period, and a total of 1002 entrants have tried their luck.  With 11 days remaining, try out MotorHEAT!  Remember, the more games that sell, the more prizes they give out as the profits are spun right back into the community gamers!

Read our review of the game here.

Read about the contest here.

Watch the trailer here.

Download a demo of the game here.

Puzzle and Trivia game fans wanted #xbox, #xbla, #xblig

There is a new facebook group page for Puzzle and Trivia game fans.

Be sure to join up as there will be plenty of games given away there.

MotorHEAT – XBLIG review

A WDesm review for XBoxHornet

“Fantastic.  Simply Fantastic.”

Milkstone Studios has managed to hit upon that je ne sais quoi that can make a racing game so addictive.  MotorHEAT is a fantastic hybrid of adrenaline-fueled speed and simplistic gameplay that hooks you for the long (and fast) haul.

The gameplay is simple and straight-forward: You are in a start-of-the-art car, and you can drive really fast.  You drive at irresponsible speeds, wildly swerving through traffic, and the longer you can keep it up, the better score you get.  A ‘boost’ bar serves to make things even more ludicrous, and your boost bar can be recharged by narrowly missing a collision with another vehicle.

Extra speed and bonus points for nearly crashing? Yikes.

Points are scored based on your current multiplier, which slowly increases the longer you avoid a collision, and points-earning can be augmented by a variety of power-ups that spawn randomly – from the simple ‘bonus points’ or ‘bonus multiplier’ to the nearly-game-breaking temporary invincibility (hint: since collision detection is disabled under invincibility, you actually want to AIM for cars while holding down the boost button).  The gameplay starts off hectic, and as you start to swerve past and around the walls of cars, it becomes a desperate bid to move fast enough to finish the ‘level’ – the length of a lap – before the clock runs to zero.  Your ranking, always displayed in the bottom-left corner, is an automatically-updated connection to global leaderboards, telling you how far behind the next-best in the world.

With all of the ways that points and levels and scores are tallied, the game certainly encourages intense and reckless speeding, although I actually found the gameplay rather zen-like after a while.  No matter the visibility (which changes each level to include different times of day, as well as weather), you will always be able to make out those deadly brakelights or tantalizing power-ups, and that simple game mechanic never changes.  Milkstone Studios has found that perfect concoction of ‘easy to enjoy, fun to play, but difficult to master’, although  I might be cursing them later as I try to desperately claw past the 100,000,000-score supergiants already on the leaderboard.

Despite the game mechanics being relatively simple, meat was certainly added to the bones to ensure gamers got their money’s worth.  The game includes superficial car customization, which, while primarily for your own amusement, is reflected on your leaderboard runs, and the game includes a full set of badges/awards, seamlessly integrated into the gameplay in the same way a full retail title would.  Speaking of full retail titles…well, see if you can catch the reference to one in the badges.  Much like the game it alludes to, you’ll be working on that one for a while.  And early adopters will appreciate one badge in particular – complete a run in the top 5% of the global leaderboard.  The fewer players on the leaderboard, the easier that one should be.

Overall, I can’t really recommend MotorHEAT enough.  The game is a well polished example of the sort of game XBLIG needs more of, and if you pick it up soon enough, you’ll have a sweet chance at earning some awesome prizes in the Milkstone Studios Contest they currently have running.  I haven’t felt so enamoured with high speed collisions since I first played Burnout Paradise.  My wish list for this one is short: with awards, online leaderboards, and customization, Milkstone really tried to stack the game with everything, but why don’t we have a splitscreen co-op mode?

Game Score 9.5/10

Download a demo here.

Watch the trailer here.

Learn about the contest here.