Angry Zombie Ninja Cats

Correction to this review: Shahed Chowdhuri, the developer of this game, does not have a shitty attitude.  He is one of the most generous, kindest, and intelligent men I’ve ever met.  And now my friend as well.  I was so off base about his attitude in this review.  He’s one of those developers who wants to improve, and has the drive to see that through.  He’ll be a force to be reckoned with some day.  Mark my words. I stand by every criticism of Angry Zombie Ninja Cats.  But in regards to Shahed, I know no finer man.  I’m sorry, Shahed.

Naming your game might be the most important aspect of the creation process.  If you give your game a shitty name, it might not sell very well, even if its well made.  On the flip side, giving a mediocre game an eye-grabbing name could propel it’s sales into the stratosphere.  In that spirit, we have Angry Zombie Ninja Cats, one of the worst games I’ve played on XBLIG coupled with one of the most blatant attempts at a quirky name dreamed up since Tattooed Teenage Alien Fighters from Beverly Hills.  Let’s break it down.

Angry: As seen in Angry Birds, a game with five-hundred million downloads to its name.  Now obviously the “Birds” part of that title is not what made the game so popular.  Birds are simply annoying sky-vermin that terrorize Tippi Hedren and shit on our cars.  No, it’s the “Angry” part that caused the green to come rolling in.  Anger is trendy right now.  What, with all the tea party nonsense and this occupy everywhere hogwash featuring a bunch of idealistically bankrupt people on both sides of the political spectrum that, if pressed for answers, have no fucking clue what it is they are mad at.  Indeed, “Anger” is the new “Hope.”  I expect more companies to take advantage of this, and look forward to the announcements of such titles at Angry Halo and Pissed Off Pong.

Zombie: It goes without saying that your XBLIG simply has to have “zombie” in the title somewhere.  After all, what would the Xbox Live Indie Game scene that touts nonconformity and innovation be if every developer didn’t staple their tongues to the zombie bandwagon and get dragged along for the ride?  Not having zombies in your game makes you the square kid in school who tries to make do with his Payless shoes and eMachine desktop while the cool kids walk around in their Nikes and play on their iPads.  Nobody wants to be that kid, so get the biggest shoehorn you can find and start cramming those zombies into your game before someone notices what a dork you are.

Ninja: If you fail to possess enough socially repressed chromosomes that you’re not gaga for zombies, well, lucky you.  Spending your time talking with girls and driving in cars instead of thinking of ways you’ll survive the Zombie Apocalypse while rubbing yourself and fantasizing about all the now zombified bullies in your life that you will get to legally shotgun in the face.  Well, if you’re not a Zombie Groupie you obviously must be a Ninja Devotee.  Statistically speaking, you’re one or the other.  And although zombies have certainly overtaken ninjas as the gaming flavor of the month, Ninjas in general tend to be more bankable.  That’s why the 1990 film Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles made twice as much as the highest grossing zombie film of all time, Zombieland.  Putting ninjas with zombies is the best way to hedge your bets and make sure your game is a success.

Yes, this is as bad as it looks.

Cats: Oh come on.  At this point, you’re just outright pandering.  Introducing cats to the equation is the most transparent attempt at creating weaponized irresistibility in gaming history.  First zombies, then ninjas, and now cats?  And they’re all angry?  Why you sly little cunts.

Put them all together and you have Angry Zombie Ninja Cats.  With a name like that, quality doesn’t matter, even if it’s an unparallelled piece of shit.  And it is.  My God, what a wretchedly awful video game.  It’s a platformer with jumping physics so loose it’s as if your controller got raped by a crowbar.  It’s thirty minutes worth of processed boredom that is capped off by a final level so poorly designed that the developer had to create a video to explain to all us thickies exactly how to beat it, as if it’s our fault that the game sucks.

I get ragged on occasionally for “making fun of developers.”  It’s not something I make a regular habit of doing.  I mostly make fun of games, which some people take as a personal attack.  I for one think that speaks more about them than me.  But sometimes a developer really does deserve a good tongue lashing, especially when their attitude with “this game really has shitty level design” is to treat the players like they’re the idiots and say “wow, don’t you get it?  Here, let me show you.  How could you not figure this out?”  It’s a shitty attitude to have.  So remember, children, if you get stuck it a horribly executed XBLIG game, the secret to solving a stage requires you to stop and think to yourself, “well, if I was an egotistical game designer with my head stuck so far up my own ass that I could give myself a colonic using my tongue, what would I have done here?”

Angry Zombie Ninja Cats was developed by OnekSoft Games

80 Microsoft Points vaguely remember having a few pending developer challenges in the making of this review.

I’m celebrating 50,000 unique page views by giving away 1600 Microsoft Points to one lucky follower of mine on Facebook.  All you have to do is follow me for a chance to win!  Click the link, hit “Like” and you’re in!  The drawing will be held December 1, 2011.  I don’t spam with my Facebook.  I just post article updates and the occasional “thank you” when my site hits a milestone.  So what are you waiting for?  Enter already!

About Indie Gamer Chick
Indie game reviews and editorials.

28 Responses to Angry Zombie Ninja Cats

  1. Urgh. Unlike Monkey Madness, I have no desire to try this for myself.

    People really need to stop putting zombies in things. Including ‘zombie’ in the title or description is almost a guarantee that I won’t even try playing it, because I’ll immediately assume complete lack of imagination. Sometimes that’s not true (I’m thinking of ‘Lair of the Evil Doer’ and ‘ZP2KX: Zombies and Pterodactyls!’) but it takes something special for me to give a zombie game a chance.

    Anyway, you have some very nice turns of phrase here. I think you could have done with explaining a bit more of the badness though.

  2. Starglider says:

    Another game that is very reminiscent of the Platformer Starter Kit.

  3. Gonna play Devils Advocate here cause I like Oneksoft and there’s a lot of animosity going around towards his game.

    There’s a wide variety of developers making games for the Indie channel…skilled -> unskilled, receptive to design feedback -> steadfast in their vision, etc. But the one thing that (most) indie developers have is excitement and passion for their creations. You cannot be a single person making a video game without that drive, and if their creation doesn’t his the mark, it f’n hurts.

    I’m sure any frustration or push-back you felt by Oneksoft wasn’t egotism, or him “treating you like an idiot”…just the reeling of someone with a lot of passion seeing their creation get beat up.

    Not saying bad reviews aren’t necessary…it helps the creator grow and mature…but I just felt the need to stick up for the developer on this one since it got a little nasty at the end.

    • Kairi Vice says:

      I think Oneksoft is a nice dude, but this isn’t the first time I’ve dealt with a developer who feels that if someone can’t possibly figure out the logic behind their game design, it’s everyone else’s fault but theirs. Much like Wizorb was perhaps undeservingly the victim of my anti-brick-breaker attitude, perhaps Oneksoft was the straw that broke the camel’s back with the “how can you NOT figure this out” attitude of developers.

      Which is not to say my harshness was undeserved. It was. This game fucking sucks.

      • Hi Scott,
        Thanks for your post. I agree that harsh reviews are necessary for any developer do better next time.

        Hi Kairi,

        You asked if the last level was a “gag”, so I informed you that it was not, then asked if you would like to know. You said yes, so I responded with the spoiler video.

        I just informed the Peer Reviewers that I would be issuing an update with the “vertical look” that I have already added to my code. I will include visual hints along the way, such as a (?) icon that you can touch to see words to guide you.

        I will also tweak the controls for the next update, which will require redesigning all the levels. I actually do appreciate your honesty in the review, as I am a new Indie developer. .

        But I would like to clarify that I never implied “how can you not figure this out”. Instead, I offered to address the issues in the upcoming update(s). And I responded respectfully. Such a response says anything but “it’s everyone else’s fault but mine.

        When I submitted the game for Testing+Review, I informed the developers (which includes MVPs and mods) that the game was based on the PSK+GSM combo, and other references including EasyStorage, tutorials from RobotFootGames and Mach X.

        I realize that I have a long way to go, but I’m willing to build better games over time.

        ~OnekSoft Games

        • Kairi Vice says:

          I want to clarify that I’ve never cared if a game was copied and pasted or whatever. I don’t care where the game comes from. If it was pulled straight from the anus of a being made by mixing the DNA of the two most evil people in history, I don’t care. I’m more than willing to play a game taken from Walt Stalin’s ass, as long as it’s fun. And disinfected. And I’m more than willing to play a game that’s in part, or even mostly, lifted from a development kit that I never have nor ever will use. I’m just looking for fun games. That’s all I care about at Indie Gamer Chick.

          • Fair enough. I will submit the first update for peer review next week, to include the “vertical look” and the visual hints I mentioned. The control scheme does require tweaking all the existing levels, so I will need a little more time for that.

            I was very happy to get good feedback via social media from those who enjoyed it, but I take all criticism seriously, and will at least attempt to make things better, to the best of my ability.

            ~OnekSoft Games
            p.s. that DNA mixing sounds awful… !

            • Nice response. All credit for taking the criticism with dignity. I think it’s important to distinguish between developers who are just lazy and don’t care (you know who you are, grrr), and developers who are sincerely trying to improve their skills and make good games.

              Out of respect for your dignified response, I’ll at least try the game. All the best for future projects.

              • Thanks, Alan. I believe that all new Indie devs need to get their feet wet through smaller projects, then eventually release feature-complete products into XBLIG.

                We could keep all our early projects under wraps, until the first AAA title. But the lessons learned from lesser titles are invaluable in getting the knowledge+experience necessary to build that AAA title.

                I can’t convert those who don’t like the idea of my game, but I can surely address the concerns of those who _want_ to like it, but find major issues that they believe should be fixed.

                Kairi Vice is like an angry drill instructor who gets you to lose weight, as opposed to a mother who feeds her kids too much because she’s afraid to hurt their feelings.

                My sequel (Ninja Cats X) already has the “vertical look” feature, and I will add in the visual hints this weekend, both of which will go into AZNC in the first update next week. As I tweak the run/jump settings for Ninja Cats X, I can reuse those settings in AZNC for yet another update, for which I will have to tweak all the AZNC levels.

                The graphics will most likely stay the same style for NCX, but I will build my own 2D engine over the holidays, and will also use Sunburn for 3D games in 2012.

                ~OnekSoft Games

                • Ok, I’ve played it now. There is a LOT of room for improvement, but there are at least a couple of features worth hanging on to. The ‘angry’ charging enemies could be used to interesting effect, and I quite like the idea of having to grab a power-up to temporarily gain double jump.

                  All the best with your next project. Keep plugging away.

                  • Thanks… I have just submitted the update I mentioned (to include the hints and vertical-look features).

                    In the meantime, I am also practicing some drawings, both hand-drawn and CG-anime for the first time. Just posted on my FB page for feedback. 🙂

                    I’ll have this figured out over time.. iterative software development has never been so much fun! 😀

                    ~OnekSoft Games

            • Craig says:

              Hey OnekSoft Games.

              I think your game is pewp. And I found the youtube video of the last level hilarious. However, I give you mad props for taking the criticism like a man and vowing to make better games in the future. That’s more than what most indie developers do.

              Still, I think your game could’ve been[even slightly] better from the beginning, without all the code samples off App Hub, considering all the platfomer tutorials on the internet. Heck if you want, I can make one for you! That how easy I think it is to make a flexible and competent platformer game. 😀

              • Hi Craig,

                I wish that’s how more developers would respond to harsh criticism!

                Kairi’s review itself is an honest opinion of the game, it’s not personal. (What’s personal was her accusation that I wasn’t receptive to any feedback. Which, as you can tell now, is not true. Even the spoiler video was a response to a request, nothing more nothing less.)

                While it may appear that the game was solely based on the PSK, it was actually a means to an end.

                Some background: I made many paper games as a kid growing up in the 3rd world without computers… inked backgrounds in pen and hand-drawn “sprites” in pencil, that could move or attack, by flicking the pencil against the paper, and re-drawing the character or projectile in the new position.

                One of these games was “Ninja Warriors” which had human ninjas and shurikins, swords, and even exploding projectiles. I added in the “Cats” and “Zombies” as we had a ton of cats growing up, and have always been a fan of Zombie movies. The “Angry” part describes the enemy’s reaction when it sees you and run towards you. I debated between “Angry” and “Awesome” to give it an “A…” title.

                As pointed out it in Kairi’s review, these 4 words were intentionally selected because of their ubiquity in other games or Internet phenomena. Note that I didn’t use “Werewolves” or “Pirates” since they are nowhere to be found in the game.

                In order to realize the vision of my childhood game in an XNA release, I used the PSK+GSM combo, then added EasyStorage, projectile weapons and sword attack from other tutorials. I informed the developer community of my intentions, and built a game that I myself wanted to play. (and the thousands who have chosen to download the game in the past 2 days)

                Sure, it’s a hard pill to swallow if others don’t like your creation, but the masses speak with their wallets and the critics speak through their blogs. If I listen to both the critics and the fans, I can make better decisions (and better products) that appeal to the target audience. I say “target audience” because I do realize that not every game is for everyone.

                ~OnekSoft Games

    • I think a balance needs to be struck between coming down too hard on indie devs (who, like amateur reviewers, aren’t professionals :p ) on one hand, and on the other remembering that, amateur or not, they are releasing a product to the public in exhange for money.

  4. BrunoB says:

    So is the indie gamer chick a zombie groupie or a ninja devotee?

  5. Craig says:

    Eww. I’d take a homegrown platformer engine over a starter kit abomination anyday. At least those tend to have better platforming mechanics.

  6. BrunoB says:

    BTW I tried the demo and it wasn’t so awful in the end. Graphics are horrid and jumps appear a little weird, but overall I think the author nailed the basic platforming mechanics. With better graphics and more polish it could’ve been a good game IMHO. As it is I wouldn’t buy it, but I’ve seen and played far far worse stuff on XBLIG.

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