The Indie Gamer Chick Bundle is Live on Indie Royale
July 24, 2013 3 Comments
Hey, you! The indie game connoisseur reading this. You’ve been missing out, and you don’t even know it. I was missing out too, until I became Indie Gamer Chick. You see, there’s a platform on the Xbox Live Marketplace called Xbox Live Indie Games. XBLIG should be cherished as a landmark in gaming history, because it represents the first self-publishing platform on a major game console. Instead, XBLIG has a reputation of being full of less-than-quality games. It’s not an entirely unearned reputation. But XBLIG isn’t just about avatar games and Minecraft clones and text-adventures featuring anime boobs so impractically large that the Surgeon General would declare them cancerous. Since November of 2008, XBLIG has played host to some of the most creative and innovative game developers on the indie scene. In fact, if you’re a regular patron of Indie Royale, you’ve already encountered many developers and games that got their start on XBLIG.
And that’s why I’m here today, to present you with eight PC ports of the best Xbox Live Indie Games ever made. Two years ago, I started reviewing XBLIGs at my blog, Indie Gamer Chick. This community has been amazing to me, and I owe them a debt that I can never pay back. I’m not always nice to their games, but this community has shown a commitment to creativity and a desire to improve. They are indie gaming’s future superstars. As the sun sets on this current generation, and the community goes their separate ways, this is one last chance to show that they were here and they were important to the indie scene. This is what you’ve been missing out on. These are my boys. I’m Indie Gamer Chick, and this is my bundle.
And for those of you who are curious why (insert name of well-known XBLIG) isn’t part of this bundle, it probably comes down to two words that I’ve come to hate: scheduling conflict. I’m now more fearful of those words than I am of my doctor telling me I have 24 hours to live. He would have to work in scheduling conflict for it to register with me. “Cathy, I know you have plans tomorrow, but they’re causing a scheduling conflict. With the coroner.”
What are you waiting for? Go get it. Like, right now. It’s live at IndieRoyale.com!
Let’s get something straight here: you’re not going to survive an actual zombie apocalypse. You will die. Quickly. It will be embarrassing, quite frankly. And no, playing Dead Rising or Dead Island or Walking Dead or any other game with “Dead” in the title hasn’t given you a leg up on the rest of humanity. Dead Pixels won’t help you, either. But at least when the zombies are chowing down on your spine, you can remember the good times you had playing one of the most clever survival-oriented zombie shooters to hit the indie scene in a long while. You have to properly manage equipment, take advantage of a robust shopping system, and conserve ammunition as you take on thousands of brainless, slobbering ghouls. I’m talking about zombies, not Justin Bieber fans.
Take an old-school 2D platformer, dress it up in John Kricfalusi-like visuals, and then stick so much stuff to collect in it that your family will hold an intervention if you attempt to get it all. That’s Chester, and it’s one of the best pure-platformers of the decade. As you play, you’ll gather different characters and graphic skins that alter the way the game is played. You’ll have to mix and match backgrounds with characters that Chester is a game with style that creates substance, like a guy in a meth lab wearing an Armani suit. Although this is preferable and much more legal.
There are a lot of games out there that let you walk on the ceiling and do all kinds of wacky gravity effects, but Antipole stuck out to me. A clever, twitchy platformer starring, and let’s be frank about this, a guy who looks like Michael Jackson wearing Carmen Sandiego’s trench-coat. With well designed levels and the aforementioned gravity mechanic that you can use to clear gaps or drop enemies into a pool of spikes, I think you’ll really enjoy Antipole’s fast-paced breed of platforming.
Imagine a Metroidvania starring a radioactive feline with no method of attack that must save his girlfriend by retrieving keys obtained by answering trivia questions. Did you imagine it? LIAR! You did not! Nobody in their right mind would envision such a silly concept. Well, the guys at MonsterJail games are not in a right state of mind, and thank God for that. LaserCat isn’t particularly challenging, but it’s just a fun, enjoyable little old-school romp. Besides, radioactive cats are cool. Anyone who disagrees with that is provably wrong. Especially dogs.
Smooth Operators is a call-center simulation game. NO, STOP! Do not bail on this bundle and head over to Humble or Indie Gala. It doesn’t sound like a winning concept, but Smooth Operators can and will take over your life, and you’ll love every moment of it. You have to secure clients, staff a building, get the right equipment.. and everyone has already closed the description and gone off to check out what other games are in this bundle. Well, joke’s on them. They won’t be able to resist the temptation of trying Smooth Operators. Once they do, there’s no escape. It’s a time sink of the most potently fun variety. Protip: if you want to unlock all the items, type IndieGamerChick in the cheat menu. That’s right, I’m a cheat code. Highlight of my life.
Little Racers STREET (which you will accidentally call Little Street Racers, it’s unavoidable) combines RPG-style upgrading with online twelve-player action. You don’t have to be deeply into racers to enjoy what STREET has to offer. I’m certainly not. But the wide variety of tracks, cars, upgrades, and camera options kept me playing and experimenting for days. The mix of old-school arcade racing with modern design sensibilities works. Also, if you have a loved one and you want to see how far you can push them before they stop talking to you, there’s no better way to find out where that line is by intentionally crashing into them when you’re losing a race. In the case of my boyfriend, it was four times. After the fifth time, he didn’t speak to me for a week. And it was totally worth it.
SpyLeaks has a lot in common with the NES puzzle series Adventure of Lolo. But, like the best tributes to classic gaming franchises, SpyLeaks improves upon the original concept and comes up with ideas of its own. Here, an element of stealth is added to the Lolo formula, along with timed gauntlets that are among the most inventive puzzles I’ve come across in my gaming lifetime. There’s also a little bit of space-shooter mixed in, if for no other reason, to assure the minimum quota of aloofness a true indie requires. But the puzzles take center stage, and the puzzles in SpyLeaks are so smart that they’re getting an honorary doctorate from MIT. It’s also a lot of fun too, and fun is all that matters.
Imagine the arcade classic Defender if they remade it the same way Namco did for Pac-Man with Pac-Man Championship Edition. That’s basically what Orbitron does, and it does it very well. A fast paced shooter based around achieving high scores within a tight time limit. Developer Firebase Industries seems to have classic gaming on the mind. They went on to create XBLIG sleeper hit ArcadeCraft, either proving there’s still a market for golden age of gaming nostalgia, or that you can shoehorn “Craft” into any game and make it sell ten times as much as it would otherwise. Maybe Indie Royale should consider calling this the BundleCraft Bundle.. of Craft.