Dead Pixels (Second Chance with the Chick)

It’s been just over nine months since I reviewed Dead Pixels, the #2 game as of this writing on the Indie Gamer Chick Leaderboard, and the former king of the mountain.  Despite really enjoying my time with the game, I never really got around to playing the two extra modes that launched months after its release.  With less than two weeks to go before my first anniversary as Indie Gamer Chick, I figured I should finally take a look and see if the content would be enough to elevate Dead Pixels back into the #1 spot on the board.  Of course, my expectations that it might do just that were somewhat dashed by the developer outright telling me that it would not reclaim the spot.

You get more characters to choose from in The Solution, all of whom have been bad little boys. Lord knows that when you have an emergency situation, the only solution is to send in hardened criminals to do all the heroics. I know how it works. I saw Pitch Black too.

He wasn’t being coy.  In fact, he’s right.  The two new modes of Dead Pixels are swell extras, but they ultimately add nothing to the experience.  First up is The Solution.  It’s kind of like a survival mode, where you have to run X amount of streets (depending on the difficult level) and then back again.  You have even more limited resources, and the city is vacant so there are no humans to negotiate goods with.  You can still loot empty buildings for goods, but you don’t want to get bogged down by carrying too much weight.  I had that happen to me when I played the main quest, and I think I would have moved faster if I had waited for plate tectonics to push me to the goal.

I ended up carrying only the default shotgun, and only stocking up on shells for it.  If that doesn’t sound like the most exciting way to play the game, that’s because it wasn’t.  I ended up just holding down left and avoiding enemies.  This did come in handy on the final part of the “walk left” section of the game, when the lights started flickering on and off.  Due to my epilepsy, this was a high-risk section of the game for me to play.  I decided to walk up to the top of the screen, hold the stick left, and not do anything else.  Boring but effective, because it worked.  However, this mode proved to be dull, and not really worthy of the excellent main game.

Last Stand worked better.  It’s a wave shooter where you play as a couple of twats named Hurley and Nate (no joke) as they lock themselves in a mall with a bunch of zombies.  I doubt they would actually do something like that, because I know I wouldn’t do that.  Since they exist only to steal my ideas, their zombie plan would probably involve some kind of elaborate suicide, because that’s what I’m going to do.  If the zombies attack, I’m going to kiss the end of a shotgun that has bullets soaked in cyanide while wearing a vest made of dynamite and the timer set for five seconds from now.  I am taking NO chances of surviving the outbreak.  Among other things, I never see a working Taco Bell in these games or movies, and I will be damned if I’m going to live out the rest of my life without a Chulupa.

I ended up playing as Hurley. And no, that doesn’t mean I ended up with blisters on my hands and a craving for bacon. It’s just a game, not a transmorphic body swapping thingie.

So Last Stand.  The wave shooter part.  Well, you shoot a bunch of zombies and they drop money.  Then between waves you can upgrade your stats, buy different guns, more ammo, health kits, etc.  Every round the zombies grow in numbers.  That’s pretty much it.  This mode is more fun, but then again I’m predisposed to enjoying wave shooters, which is why such a game could overthrow Dead Pixels for the #1 spot on the leaderboard in the first place.  However, I didn’t love the wave shooting mode the way I did the main campaign.  Part of that is there’s no online leaderboards to show off how far you’ve made it.  But it’s mostly because I already got all the value out of Dead Pixels that I could.  The game rocked in single player mode, rocked harder in co-op (even if Brian didn’t like the game as much as me and thought I was out of my mind for putting it #1 in the first place), but its time has come and gone.  Dead Pixels is still an amazing game and will probably hold onto a high spot on the leaderboard for a long time to come, but I’ve moved on.  Granted, what I moved on to has been mostly inferior games, negating my point.  I’m just going to shut up now and leave this review.  Buh-Bye.

Dead Pixels was developed by CSR Studios

80 Microsoft Points have an alternative zombie plan, but it requires duct tape and a steamroller in the making of this review.

Insane Zombie Carnage

I don’t like to play iPhone or even iPad games with flimsy, fake control schemes.  I just can’t get the hang of virtual controls.  So I missed out on the Super Crate Box craze.  Well, if you can call it that.  Compared to other popular games like Draw Something, Cut the Rope, or Angry Birds, Super Crate Box is more like a mild rage than a craze.  I hadn’t given the game a second thought until Brian and I did Indies in Due Time a few weeks ago, where we previewed yet another fucking zombie game, Insane Zombie Carnage.  Several of my readers immediately recognized it as a Super Crate Box clone.  I didn’t, because I never played it.  So I went into Crazy Undead Bloodbath without any prejudice.  Except against people of all races and religions, but that’s unrelated to the game.

So the idea behind Super Zombie Box is zombies rain down and you have to shoot them while collecting crates.  Wooden crates contain weapons of varying usefulness while question mark crates alter the flow of the game.  Body count is irrelevant, and so are the question mark boxes.  The object of the game is to get as many of the wooden boxes as you can before dying.  You start with one stage and unlock alternative modes and levels based on how big a streak you can get.

So what did I think?  I played it for an hour and I would rather be dead than ever play it again.  What a boring concept.  Don’t get me wrong, if suicide was not an option, I would choose Insane Zombie Carnage over Super Crate Box, simply based on my hatred of iOS virtual controls.  Loony Brain-Muncher Brouhaha actually controls fairly decently, which shocked the fucking hell out of me.  Clones tend to skimp on such features as playability in favor of cha-chinging and rolling in the dough.  I do think it’s a touch on the sensitive side, and the collision detection seems a bit off as well.  I cut a few zombie encounters close but know I missed them and I still died.  If I had actually gave a shit about the game, I would have been pissed off about that.  But, by that point, I couldn’t have given two shits less about it.  Perhaps this was because of crates that spawn right under where the zombies drop in at, making them almost impossible to fetch.

I wasn’t a huge fan of Preposterous Poltergeist Pandemonium, but I’m sure there are some Super Crate Box fans out there who are happy to be able to play this on a console.  Even if it’s not even close to the same game.  It doesn’t have the same graphics style.  It doesn’t have that “world-wide community” feel that Super Crate Box has.  It doesn’t have the word “super” in it.  It seems more like it exists to rub in the fact that this is as close as you can get if you’re among the handful of losers out there that still haven’t been assimilated by the Apple Collective.  But again, I really liked this more than Super Crate Box.  Which is like saying I would prefer to have my head blown of with a bazooka than be slowly disembowed using a rusty, urine-soaked samurai sword.

EDIT: Super Crate Box apparently got its start as a PC game.  Um.  Yea.  Move along.  Please.  Pretty please.  With cherries on top?

Insane Zombie Carnage was developed by Geex

80 Microsoft Points says repetition is the heart of gaming, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t suck 90% of the time in the making of this review.

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