As part of the recent X-Box dashboard ‘Improvements’ they managed to do something so mind-numbingly retarded that its hard to actually understand the logic of it.
Despite creating the wonderful XNA development tools that allowed indie’s of all levels to create games for their platforms, as part of their changes that have made the Indie Games section of their market move to an entirely new location that is not overly easy to find.
This is detrimentally affecting many XBL Indie developers, such as Projector Games, who are no longer getting the exposure that they previously were.
If you want to see what you’re missing out on and you do not want to wade through the new UI to find them this link Xbox.com will take you to it in your browser and allow you to start downloading – but before you do I am going to start trying to highlight some of them for you
As I have already mentioned Projector Games, I will start with a couple of their titles.
The first of which is Steam Heroes.
Steam Heroes puts you in the role of three brave adventurers, Harrison, Pearl & Max as they journey across Steam Land. There eventual goal is to reach the evil Barron Von Smog and give him a good old-fashioned ass-whooping for polluting the once beautiful land. In order to get to him though you will have to fight your way through his many minions, from clockwork spiders to Giant Mechanical dragons each with their own strengths and weaknesses.
These battles are played out in a very similar to a mix of Puzzle Quest and Bejewelled Blitz. The basic mechanic of matching items of the same colour is there, and the items you match will fill gauges that unlock certain special abilities – all the while attacking your opponent while he is doing the same. For example, Red Steam will fill Harrison’s Steam gauge – once full you can activate his special ability which will reduce the damage taken by all of the heroes. Timing the use of these abilities can make or break a match.
The comparison to Blitz style games is because of how frantic the games are. You will have to be on the top of your game with your matching as the screen is really frantic, when you get a good chain going the whole board can swap its tiles in a matter of seconds, all the time you will have to be watching the gauges to make sure that you do not drop too low or miss the opportunity to trigger an ability. From a personal perspective it was a little too hectic, but then I am a fan of the slower colour matching games and I imagine fans of the genre will relish the challenge.
The game’s story while simple and a bit predictable is pretty well written, it does poke fun at its own obvious nature as well which is always amusing. However for me it probably should have stayed as text only as while it is impressive to have voice-over in an indie game, the ones in this game just didn’t seem to fit right for me. Again this is just a personal thing, I am sure there are people out there that prefer not to have to read the cut scenes
Overall then aside from a few things that jarred with me personally, this is a good example of what the indie’s can do – taking a well-known format and putting a new spin on it. It’s worth picking up particularly for fans of the genre.
Oh and if like me your having a hell of a time with the bloody XBox UI the game can be found at Steam Heroes – Xbox.com