It’s that time of the year. Sixty bucks here. A special edition there. And perhaps a bank loan just for all the Borderlands 2 DLC. Sometimes the fall season seems to refer to bank account, but it doesn’t have to be that way. There’s a whole world of amazing games at your fingertips for only a couple of bucks.
Finding it is just the hard part.
Xbox Indie Game section presents some of the oddest, most unique, and sometimes, even the best gaming you can download straight to your console. Just recently, Indie Uprising III brought together some of these indie developers to show off their vision for the 360. For a change of pace, I asked the developers to recommend other games on the XBLIG marketplace that you should be playing now.
Toby from tricktale (Diehard Dungeon) picks Weapon of Choice: With big enemies and even bigger guns, this Dream. Build. Play third place winning title put Mommy’s Best Games on the map. Imagine a Contra title with an art style taken to extreme limits and you’ll come close to describing Weapon Of Choice. With Wilford Brimley calling the shots, you’ll need to utilize the different weapons in order to survive. From a gun that can rocket you across the screen to one that lets you set up a series of lasers, each one feels different in their own right as you come face-to-face with these hand drawn monstrocities.
From the developer: It was one of the first XBLIGs I played. It’s awesome, and is created by one very talented guy.
Gristmill Studios (Xenominer) picks They Breathe: In a world full of zombie games and shooters, They Breathe is a breath of fresh air for the indie marketplace. You explore the world with your little webbed feet. There’s something creepy about the world as you dive through the murky pond water and hold on to every bit of oxygen before it all goes horribly wrong. They Breathe builds on this beautiful atmosphere of beautiful danger until… well, you need to play to find out.
From The Developer: What's inspiring about it is the whole game you are holding your breath in real life, and that anxiety of "I can't breathe" keeps running through the back of your mind. It's the exhilarating anxiety great horror games aspire to, and here it was brought out masterfully in this otherwise whimsically themed game.
Andreas Heydeck (Smooth Operators) picks Headshot 2: Simple yet visceral, this game from the Silver Dollar developers puts you behind the scope of a sniper rifle. Find your target and pull the trigger. Timing and quick reflexes are all you need to make it in this title. For those familiar with Silver Dollar Games, you know that this company throws about everything against the wall to see what sticks. You could spend hours just trying to find who's the father or trying to keep your cat away from a bowl of cereal. Say what you will, this two time Dream. Build. Play winning company knows how to keep putting out the titles that work.
From The Developer: It was the first game I played on the service, and still play it from time to time. It's probably the most addictive game on XBLIG.
Dave from Smudged Cat Games (Gateways) picks Miner Dig Deep: If there’s ever a “just one more time” game, Miner Dig Deep fits the genre perfectly as you search for that mother lode. As your skills increase, you find the world open up around you as you dig a little deeper and carry just a little bit more. The game pits you against -- you. There's no monsters to bring you down, only your own stupidity as you dig a little deeper only to find yourself stuck in a hole. Miner Dig Deep isn’t just tough to put down; it’s nearly impossible.
From The Developer: It was the first game I played of that genre. Was it the first game, I’m kind of assuming it wasn’t? I admire how it just transfixes you and makes you want to keep playing.
Chris Zukowski (City Tuesday) picks PEW PEW PEW: Even how the game works is half the fun. In this side scrolling shooter, two players control one ship as one adjusts the pitch as the other mans the guns. Take your hands off those controllers. You’re going to need two microphones to operate this vessel. As one player uses their voice to make the ship go up and down, the second player shoots by shouting “Pew Pew Pew” into the microphone.
From The Developer: I think the primary strength that XBLIG has is that for $99 we developers can hack this Xbox in ways that no other AAA studio that is burdened by share holders into creating another boring shooter would dare. That is why my favorite XBLIG game is PEW PEW PEW because it shows how if we just use a truckload of creativity we can do things like control a whole game using only our voice.
Matt from hermitgames (qrth-phyl) picks Hidden In Plain Sight: From this year’s IndieCade comes a game about acting like a computer while obtaining your goal. In this multiplayer madness, you play as the hunter and hunted in a number of modes that put you in the middle of a crowd of AI controlled characters. Each mode requires you to do a certain task from touching statues to winning a race, but here’s the kicker, other players are looking for you in this crowd of characters. Be cleaver and be quick if you want to win this game.
From The Developer: Best party game sinceBomberman. Asymmetrical multiplayer games of skill and cunning, scurrilous deceptive villainy, failure and triumph. It's ace.
Michael Hicks (Sententia) picks Blow: Deceptively challenging, Blow – not based on the Johnny Depp movie – puts you in charge of guiding bubbles to a flower and then into an exit. Simple, right? They’re just bubbles. The challenges comes from having to figure out how to get them from one end to the next with the help of some fans and limited funds. You end the level by calling on the bubble king to run the course. As it turns out, this is second entry from Silver Dollar Games, a game that goes for the mind instead of the head.