Soul – Ported to iPhone

Soul, an XBLIG game that we have previously reviewed on this site, has been ported to the iPhone for a mere $2.  We reviewed it rather favourably, so if you want to take your horror platformer on the road, you now have the option.

Alternatively, you can continue to grab the trial game for your xbox here.

Stay tuned for more XBLIG reviews this week, and with the submissions for Dream Build Play 2010 ending today, you can only expect the quality of XBLIG features to go up and up and up!

Banana Split review



Review by WDesm for XboxHornet

Banana Split

“Flavourful, Concise, Platforming. All part of a complete gaming breakfast!”

Banana Split is a single-player platformer where you complete single-screen challenges to move onto the next level. The levels aren’t time-limited, and you do have a limited offense – some monsters can be destroyed by jumping on their heads, Mario style – but the game is more focused on simple puzzles and platform skill – like a side-scrolling Chip’s Challenge. The gameplay itself is well-designed; the puzzles start off easy enough, but quickly ramp up into giving you pause by level 10 or so. The game has over 50 levels in it, so if you love a little platform-puzzlin’, this game could definitely scratch that itch for you.

Artistically, the game is simplistic, but well done. With more and more XBLIG games coming out daily, the games that are going to get the kudos will not be those with complicated, half-complete features, but those that have polished the features they do include. Banana Split’s graphics meld with a cutesy breakfast theme, and no graphical glitches/artifacts are to be found. From a technical standpoint, the hitboxes around some creatures seem to be “off” from where one might expect them to be, but that is a quirk you will easily get used to. The music in this game is a soft passive background, and even has some traces of Creative Commons music. You won’t be wowed by any of the music, but it serves its purpose nicely – you’re too busy staring at the screen perplexedly to care about a light midi jingle.

The game does have fault, however, and it’s a notable one: this game was definitely designed for a HDTV. Playing on a 480p CRT was difficult at times, because the outer edges of the screen were cut off, partially obscuring start points or finish points. The difficulty must have been noticed at one point, because the option is available to shrink the screen to a smaller % through the option menu, though the result looked distorted enough to be undesirable.
Ultimately, if you’re looking for a single-player platformer, and the likes of N+ are a tad too fast-paced-pixel-perfect for you, you can’t go wrong with Banana Split. At the very least, its personality and love of breakfast ought to make you chuckle. Just be careful about those edges.

You can see a video of the game here.

Game score 7/10

You can download a free trial of the game here.

I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MB1ES Review

i-maed-a-gam3-w1th-z0mb1es1 box art

I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MB1ES!!!1 by Ska Studios – Just 80 MS points

This games is creating quiet a buzz in XBLIG circles and for very good reason, if you haven’t heard of I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MB1ES!!!1 yet, shame on you.

Ska Studios is the one man outfit responsible for the XBLA smash hit The Dishwasher: Dead Samurai. James Silva is the man behind the mask.

James is a bit of a legend after winning Microsoft’s 2007 Dream Build Play competition to get an XBLA contract for The Dishwasher and this is his third release on XBLIG. James is well known for his opinions on people releasing shabby games and apps onto the service and you get the feeling that I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MB1ES!!!1(IMAGWZ) is a bit of a dig at the guilty developers, but at the same time showing them how it should be done.

zombies 1

In fact I have heard it said that after the introduction of user ratings, IMAGWZ is the most important thing to appear on XBLIG because of the buzz it is creating and the new customers it is bringing to the service.

The game is a twin stick shooter that will appeal to a massive audience, not just fans of the genre. There are several reasons for this and strangely enough the music is one of them. The song that accompanies the game, just has to be heard, it is worth you dollar alone, I defy anyone not to laugh as they are playing. Not only that, but it’ll get into your head and you will find yourself humming it all day. I can see it getting a release on I Tunes.

The gameplay starts with zombies wandering in from the sides of the screen, you have a small gun to fend them off, but it is not long before you start to get the most glorious choice of over the top weapon power ups at your disposal. From Lazers to Rocket launchers, all killing the enemies with satisfying explosions and effects.

zombies 2<

As the game goes on, the background song changes like an epic rock track, moving from it’s quiet moments to trash metal then back to the original verse and the gameplay changes to match the mood of the song. In the different periods of the game I felt like there were influences of Geometry Wars, Asteroids and Centipede.

In the game you encounter a wide verity of enemies all fitting in well with the backgound music that definitely dictates the pace of the game.

I had a blast with IMAGWZ and still am.

There is a multiplayer mode and local leaderboard to keep you coming back for more, it is a shame there is not online play or online leaderbord, but this game does only cost $1 – 80 MS points.

So don’t bother trying the demo, buy the game, it deserves your $1. Or are you too tight to experience a piece of programming genius.

We give I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MB1ES 5 joysticks – excellent 5 joysticks

Download the game and see other user reviews here.

Nebulon Review

nebulon boxart

Nebulon from Dark Omen Games – Only 200 MS points

Official description

“Old School Arcade Action for the 21st Century! Featuring adaptive gameplay, a host of awesome weaponry, stunning effects and a thumping soundtrack to match. Get those trigger fingers ready – this is Retro as it was meant to be played… Now supports classic dual-stick control for those who prefer this style of play.”

Ok let’s get into Nebulon and I have to say up front I like twin stick shooters, that said poor twin stick shooters really piss me off. What is the point in releasing a game that has been done many times before and much better.

So I was pleasantly surprised after my first play. It uses the standard background grid to denote the playing area and the space fabric, but has some neat warping effects after explosions. The basic premise of the game is that the enemy ships start off as singular little blue spheres and before long they merge to create larger more powerful enemies. This process continues as the game goes on with them becoming larger and more powerful. Each enemy has it’s own skills, the largest being the Pentoids which spin so fast that they rip the space fabric opening up a wormhole, releasing a giant worm(what else). After killing the enemies some drop orbs that you then collect to upgrade your weapons, add missile and increase your weapons energy.

Nebulon screenshot 2

The game is refreshing and adds to the genre, something that I have not seen in a while. What Nebulon adds is fantastic graphics and explosions plus the ability to choose how to upgrade your weapons. There are three types available to you, the Blaster/Plasma gun or Laser, each with three different power settings. Deciding in what order to upgrade your weapons becomes critical as the more powerful they are the more energy they use up, so you find your self having to limit the amount of shots you take, even after you have collected the blue orbs to increase you energy bar.

Nebulon screenshot

The gameplay is smooth and enjoyable, the graphics are excellent and explosions are immensely satisfying, I really enjoyed my time with Nebulon, but, yes there is a but.

There are a couple of things holding the game back from being great. Firstly being that there is some slowdown as you get further into the game, I must point out that it does not make the game unplayable. Most importantly to me though was the lack of a high score table. A game like this relies heavily on replay value, without an online highscore table there is not that much reason to come back to the game. Let’s hope that Dark Omen Games address this issue if Nebulon 2 makes an appearance.

So for just 200 MS points, if you like this type of game you should definitely check it out.

But as Nebulon stands XboxHornet is scoring it 4 joysticks – good 4 joysticks

Download a free trial of the game here.

Puzzle Pandemonium review

Review by Lollyblast

puzzle-pandemonium box art

Puzzle Pandemonium is a classic brick game in which you have to stop you area filling up with bricks. To do this you must match 3 blocks either horizontally or vertically by switching the block that they are next to. You can send extra bricks to opposing players by matching 4 or more bricks or forming chains. These bricks are unplayable until you make a match with a brick that is touching it which then turns the bricks into colours and makes them playable.

The controls are basic and easy to use. The background has flying shapes which get bigger and move towards the screen. It doesn’t draw your attention away from the game but makes it more interesting then a block colour background.

The music reminded me of the music in the Sims 2 when you build a house. It was light music very basic and doesn’t draw your attention away from the game, it blends in well.

The only faults I have with this game are that you can only switch blocks horizontally therefore making it difficult to get vertical matches, but anyone who has played Poker Smash will be familiar with the controls.

To change the difficulty level that you are playing in single player you have to go in to the options menu, this interrupts the flow of the game as you have to stop and start to change the difficulty levels, this became very tedious after a while.

puzzle pandimonium multiplayer

I would definitely recommend this game to be played in multiplayer mode rather than single as is more interesting playing against other people and the game has flows better because you are not changing the difficulty of the CPU all the time. Up to 4 people can play in Multiplayer mode and the added incentive of beating a friend lifts the game and is much more fun than the single player mode.

I give Puzzle Pandemonium 3 joystick 3 joysticks

Download a free trial of the game here.

Double Vision review

Double Vision from Aztec Games

Think you have good vision? Put it to the test! Spot the differences in the pictures. Arcade has you race the clock to get the top score. In freeplay you can relax by yourself or compete with a friend. Want something different? Try PuzzleJunk and put your mind to the test! There are over 150 different puzzles!

doublevision
Anyone who has played a spot the difference machine in their local pub will know what to expect from Double Vision. Spot the difference is a popular genre and Double Vision does it well.

doublevision1

You can download

With three game modes and competitive multiplayer this game brings something new to your Xbox. I personally liked the PuzzleJunk mode where rather than spot the difference in a picture you have to find certain shapes, this works well and gives a very different challenge from the arcade or freeplay mode.

With local leaderboards and awards for you to unlock, Aztec Games have again provided the XBLIG marketplace with a game that shows other developers how to deliver a comprehensive gaming experience ,all for the new low price of 240 Misoft points.

doublevisoin awards[

XboxHornet rates Double Vision as 4 Joysticks – Good

4 joysticks

You can download a free trial of the game here.

The Collector review

the-collector

The Collector from Aztec Games – Available on XBLIG

Compete for the highscore and unlock awards in fast paced and addictive game. Play with or against up to 3 other people or cpu opponents locally!

The basic premise of The Collector is that you have a mining cart on rails at the bottom of the screen and you collect the falling coloured buttons and off load them into the requisite delivery spot. This may sound simple and it is, but at the same time you have to avoid the falling rocks and also make sure you deliver your load to the correct spot otherwise you will be penalised. You are rewarded for consecutive collections of the same colour with multiplier bonuses.

OK my description may sound a little muddled, but watch the video and you will get the idea.

the collector

I found the single player mode to be ok and good for getting used to the game, but I did not find it that gripping and I was about to give up on the game. Then I thought I would give the multiplayer modes a go and all of a sudden I saw the game in a whole new light.
You can play one to four players co-operatively, in battle mode or in team play. The addition of CPU opponents means that you can enjoy the multiplayer games even when you are on your little lonesome.

In multiplayer you not only get to collect the coloured buttons, you also get to sabotage your buddies attempts to beat you by dumping bombs on their collecting bins, which is always great fun and an excellent addition. The multiplayer games really are good fun and the added competitive element is great. Who can resist the attraction of getting one over on your mates.

the collector awards

Aztec Games have made a comprehensive game that includes local leaderboards and awards in the game, something that many new games do not bother with.

So The Collector may be a simple game, but at 80 MS points the mulitiplayer modes makes this game worthy of your $1 and lift the game to an XboxHornet score of 4 joysticks – Good

You can see user reviews and download the game straight to your Xbox here.