The Xbox Live Indie Games Summer Uprising may be over (it finished today with the release of the puzzle/shooter Pixel) but we’re going to cover it anyway because the XBLIG section is in constant need of exposure. Plus there’s some excellent games lying in wait in XBLIG and to not cover them so you lovely peeps can go and play them is just absolutely criminal.
The Summer Uprising is all about bringing attention to XBLIG. Its main drive isn’t even about getting sales for the games as part of the promotion; it’s about bringing long-term awareness to the oft forgotten section of XBL as Microsoft doesn’t exactly do a lot to promote it. The community has picked 9 varied titles to best represent the massive selection that XBLIG has, so take a gander at what’s on offer below. Also remember that these games have trials just like any XBLA game, but they’re so cheap that all of them together will only cost you just over £10. Bargain!
Qrth-phyl – We’re not really sure how you pronounce this game, and trying to do so makes our heads hurt. Thankfully the game itself is far easier to explain, and the first thing it brings to mind is playing Snake on our totally amazing Nokia 3310’s. It’s obviously a lot more complex than a game we were once all obsessed with; you’ll slither through changing dimensions with a maze-like element, all the while collecting dots and growing your snake. It’s a neat twist on a game that’s seen a thousand iterations, and you can check out the trailer to see it in action.
Sententia – It sounds as if Michael Hicks, developer of Sententia, has poured his heart into this as he sees it as a more personal journey than his earlier releases. It’s all about how our imagination seems to falter as we grow older, something we can all relate to. While journeying through woods of Sententia’s world you can create objects to help you on your way, such as bridge to cross a gap, and you accomplish this by completing small puzzles. It looks interesting, and while the art may be simple the gameplay mechanics still sound intriguing enough to give this one a try. The trailer is here.
Diehard Dungeon – It doesn’t look like Bruce Willis is anywhere in sight in this roguelike dungeon crawler with a dash of Zelda, but that’s no bad thing. Each dungeon is a randomly generated dark romp to give you a different experience as you slice your way through enemies and pick up plenty of loot. I love the art style on this one, plus check out the trailer for some gore splattered visuals.
Gateways – It’s not hard to guess that Gateways is inspired by Portal, throwing a gun into your hands so you can create gateways (DON’T CALL THEM PORTALS!!!) that get you from one point to another. The twist on this mechanic is that more advanced guns do different things. One gun will create two port… ahem… gateways of different sizes that makes protagonist Ed shrink and vice versa. Later on a time element is introduced, and it’s here where you’ll encounter past versions of yourself ala Super Meat Boy. It’s one of the games I’m most looking forward to trying, but check out the trailer before you do.
Smooth Operators – Working in a call centre is probably one of the most soul destroying jobs you can have, but what about running one? You’ve got to be a certain kind of person – probably the spawn of Satan himself – to do that but you can give it a try without having to punish real people in Smooth Operators. Get the call centre running smoothly, managing staff morale and clients needs, or you’ll quickly see the whole place fall apart and end up whimpering in the staff toilet wishing you had any other job but selling PPI. Trailer is here.
Entropy – It’s all a big mystery in Entropy, with you waking up in a place where you have absolutely no idea how you got there. Sounds a lot like my Saturday nights when I was younger. You end up following an apparition and having to solve 25 levels full of puzzles, lava, acid, electricity, mysterious creatures, time travel and gravity bending. In my past I’d describe that as stumbling through a random house you found yourself in, stepping over the bodies of strange looking hungover people and avoiding the faulty plug that someone spilt beer on. Ah, youth. View the trailer here.
City Tuesday – The Summer Uprising can deal with serious subject matters, and City Tuesday represents that niche. It puts you in the shoes of a man who’s stuck constantly reliving the last five minutes before a terrorist attack. You must use this short time to learn from the city’s residents and the environment to discover the bombs before they blow. It’s like Source Code, but with a fortunate lack of Jake Gyllenhaal. Watch the trailer here.
XenoMiner – Thanks to Minecraft voxel-based sandbox games are all the rage. You’ll be pleased to know though that it’s not full of people to build a giant manhood. Instead you’ve crash landed on a moon, with little oxygen left in your suit and a bit of salvage. To survive in this environment you’ll have to make use of bots, each of which can be programmed to craft structures. After you’re done messing around you can pick up a plasma-drill and head to where ‘the real adventure begins’. Minecraft in space? Have a look at the trailer to help you decide.
Pixel – Pixel is all about cubes, and finding your way through those cubes. You can even create cubes with your gun, helping you get through seemingly impossible levels. It looks like you’re going to have to move pretty quick to get through this cube hell, and with 25 levels that have multiple paths you’ve got plenty of chance to use that noggin of yours. Plus, there are cubes in this trailer. Cubes, cubes, cubes!
More information and links to each games respective entry in the XBL store are available at the official Summer Uprising website. We’ll also review each game over the coming week.