Indie Reviews - Arkedo Series - 01 JUMP!

Previous Reviews:


Soulcaster - September 15, 2010
Groov - September 14, 2010
Star Crisis - September 13, 2010



Title: Arkedo Series - 01 JUMP!
Developer: Arkedo
Price: 240 ($3.00) Microsoft points

NOTE: I love all three of the games in the Arkedo Series, but since I've already written a review for Arkedo Series 03 - PIXEL!, I won't be including it in my 30 days of indie reviews.

Arkedo Series - 01 JUMP!

The Arkedo Series consists of three of my favorite games on the entire marketplace. Arkedo has a way of creating incredibly fun, genuinely humorous, and delightfully retro games. Jump is a 2D side-scrolling platformer, similar to Pitfall. Beginning with the invasion of Iron Crab, it's up to Jumboy to rectify this by platforming through 30 stages. In addition to platforming, there are a variety of other unique gameplay twists, such as bomb collection, treasure, and even bonus levels; all three are relatively uncommon for an indie game.

Consisting of 30 levels that must be completed in a single sitting (as with all truly retro games), Jump is truly amazing for a game that was created in only 35 days by two people. The game's core mechanic is bomb collection; each level has a set amount of bombs that need to be collected in order to open up that level's doors. Each level presents new challenges, such as bombs that are "locked" until a certain amount of treasure has been picked up, weaponry, increasingly difficult enemies, and more complicated obstacles (disappearing blocks, activation switches, etc). This gives Jump an incredible amount of variety, and subsequent playthroughs (that are required in order to unlock a bonus level) are still enjoyable.
 
 Jump's responsive control never creates an unfair situation.

In order to create a good platformer, one of the most important things to have is a good control of the character (in order to perform more difficult jumps, or dodge complex obstacles). This is one thing that Jump completely and totally nails. The control is responsive and tight; you will never find a moment where you can blame a death on the game or loose controls. Jumpboy only moves when told, he doesn't slide, there's no need to compensate for mid-air jumps (aerial control is just as precise), which is fantastic for a game of Jump's stature.
 
A staple of Arkedo's games, Jump is chock full of good-natured, charming humor. The game will encourage you if you die, telling you to "here, have a cookie" or to "blame it on the controller." The story, despite remaining bizarre (as with all retro games), also has its moments in the opening and closing scenes. This just really complements Jump's colorful graphics and blithe music, creating a very stylistic environment.
 
 Arkedo's contribution to the indie games marketplace is professional, a joy to play, and a truly unique experience.

While the game isn't incredibly long, Jump is a very professionally made game. The faux-retro stylized graphics and sound effects (along with the humor) all come together to form an exciting, unique, and truly fun game. Considering the fact that Jump was made in a month by two people, and costs only 240 Microsoft points, this game comes very highly recommended. Jump is just a game that is a joy to play (which can't be said about a lot of games), and I know that I will be coming back to it from time to time to just experience it again. 
 
Tomorrow: Johnny Platform's Biscuit Romp
2 Comments

Indie Reviews - Soulcaster

Previous Reviews:


Groov - September 14, 2010
Star Crisis - September 13, 2010



Title: Soulcaster
Developer: MagicalTimeBean
Price: 240 ($3.00) Microsoft points

Soulcaster

Soulcaster is a unique blend of tower defense and role-playing. Typically when the words "tower defense" are used to describe a game, I try to stay away from it. However, Soulcaster takes these genres and puts them together with unique gameplay features, a moderately lengthy main story, great 16-bit styled graphics, and great music.

Soulcaster puts the player in the role of the titular Soulcaster, who has found himself in the corrupted land of Avericia. The story is pretty standard fantasy fare; the Soulcaster must fight against the Shadowmaster's minions with the aid of three souls (Shaedu, Aeox, and Bloodfire). There are various areas where the story is explained in slightly more depth, but this is largely inconsequential. The story does fit the overall style of the entire game, and serves its purpose fairly well, which is more than expected of most indie games.

As the game begins, you will be introduced to the first soul. Souls--of which there are three--are the basis of the entire game. Each of these three souls can be summoned at any time, depending on the amount of soul orbs in the player's inventory (with the maximum being five). For example, at the beginning of the game the player will have three soul orbs, and a single soul. That soul could be placed three times, while later in the game the player might have all three souls and five soul orbs, and therefore able to place more souls.

As enemies generate out of pre-set spawn points, the game can get hectic very fast on later levels. Correct soul placement is imperative, and some enemies will even have vulnerabilities against one soul or another. Additionally, each soul has their own specific weaknesses and strengths, so the game becomes very strategic, especially towards the end of the game. There is hardly ever a dull moment during combat, and this makes Soulcaster incredibly fun.

Strategic placement of souls is imperative, especially in later levels.

There is a level of complexity beyond the combat. There is a shopkeeper who sells upgrades for each soul, as well as health potions (when Soulcaster's health falls to zero it results in a game over), Scrolls of Ruin (which causes every enemy onscreen to be severely damaged), and additional soul orbs (there are only two available, and they are the most expensive items in the game). The inclusion of this leveling system is great, and gives the game an addictive quality beyond the already enjoyable gameplay.

Soulcaster does have one minor flaw; its save system. Instead of having a traditional save system, the game resorts to a password based save system that is accessible in the pause menu. What this does open up is the possibility for secret passwords (such as JUSTIN BAILEY), although these don't really serve much of a purpose beyond cool little Easter eggs. While it is possible to quick load a password, this is more cumbersome than it could have been; it would have been better to implement a quick save feature, instead of adding that extra step.

 At about an hour and half in length, Soulcaster is well worth the 240 point price.

The game has a surprisingly good soundtrack, ranging from fantasy songs with sweeping arpeggios, to even a rock song for the shopkeeper's theme (which, despite being out of place, is pretty awesome). Soulcaster's soundtrack isn't something that I would include in my iTunes library, but the songs fit the mood and theme of the game, creating a very appealing environment (coupled with the gameplay and graphical style).

The first 240 point game that I've reviewed for this little experiment, Soulcaster is one of the best games on the entire marketplace. The game offers moderate length for the price (the game is about an hour and a half long, and has a second "hard mode"), has a fantastic style complemented by the fantasy setting, graphics, and music, and is a refreshing take on tower defense. This is one game that is well worth the 240 price tag it carries.
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Indie Reviews - Groov

Previous Reviews:

 
Star Crisis - September 13, 2010


Title: Groov
Developer: Funkmasonry Industries
Price: 80 ($1.00) Microsoft Points

Groov

An earlier release on the Xbox Live Indie Games marketplace, Groov is also one of the best. While it may not seem so at first, with its minimalistic approach to menu and box art design, what makes Groov unique is its dynamic soundtrack. As the game is played, every action affects the background music, with some enemies creating trumpet noises, while the player's lasers may make a synthesizer sound effect. This all makes for a very innovative twin-stick shooter, despite that idea almost being an oxymoron within itself.


 Every enemy creates a different sound effect when shot, creating a dynamic soundtrack.


Groov plays essentially the same as many other twin-stick shooters, whereas one stick controls movement and the other controls the weapon (and the trigger unleashes a time-slowing bomb). On its own, the game is competent considering the main focus is on the soundtrack, and not the gameplay. Other than that, there's not much to say about Groov's gameplay, as it's all pretty standard fare.

Initially, only the first mode is unlocked, titled Original Mix. In this mode, enemies attack in waves, with a new wave approaching each time that a set point amount is reached. After completing all of the waves in this mode, Expert Mode is unlocked; an endless mode akin to Original Mix (sans the waves), with the goal of getting the highest score possible. Once a high score of over 50,000 is attained, the mode Jam Session is unlocked. Jam Session is possibly Groov's most unique mode. In there, players can change sound effects on the fly (including the sound of the player's lasers and the drums in the background), all while staying completely invincible. This mode is surprisingly fun, as I've found myself coming back and playing it multiple times.


 The game's three modes offer great value for 80 Microsoft points.


Taking a minimalistic approach to visuals, Groov is still a good looking game when in motion. Enemies pulsate and explode in beat with the music. Ship design for both enemies and the player is very good, and the entire design of the game seems to be inspired by Geometry Wars [GB Franchise Link] (the original version, not Retro Evolved). The design really complements the fact that Groov is largely an auditory based game, and I don't feel like it really needs more than that.

At first glance, it doesn't seem like Groov would make that much of an impression. Despite its rough edges, Groov is actually a great twin-stick shooter with unique audio-based gameplay and three interesting modes. While its simplicity may initially be a deterrent, this ends up being one of Groov's most attractive features. For only 80 Microsoft points, Groov is a complete steal, and comes highly recommended to just about anyone.
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Indie Reviews - Star Crisis

As a result of my semi-fanaticism for Xbox Live Indie Games, I've decided to try and review an Indie Game a day for the next month or so. Now I'm sure there will be times when I'm not able to review a game, but I will try my best to stay on top of it. I have 32 indie games at the moment, and am constantly expanding my library, so there's no shortage of games. I just thought this would be a fun experiment, and it would be great to get the word out about some of the lesser known gems on the Marketplace.
 
So for today, I'll check out Star Crisis, a side-scrolling shooter from Excalibur Studios.
 

Star Crisis

Kicking off this blogging attempt is an 80 point game known as Star Crisis. It isn't an incredibly ambitious game, but it does succeed at being an entertaining shooter of moderate length, especially considering the price at which the game is being offered. The game is only five stages long, although its retro feel and style, excellent music, and two player cooperative mode, so it's important to know what you're getting for the price paid. While there is an attempt at innovative gameplay (the inclusion of gravity, and a jet booster that causes the player to move up and down; controlled by either the left trigger or left stick), this seems like more of a hindrance than a unique aspect of the game.
 
A traditional side-scrolling shooter, there's not much that can be said about Star Crisis' gameplay. Sure, you have weapon power-ups, shields, and life, but there aren't many aspects that haven't been seen in a game before. The only notable aspect is the aforementioned gravity and jet booster, and these don't seem like they could have been utilized in any interesting way. Again, it just really seems as though the game would have been better without this aspect, as it makes it difficult to dodge enemies, lasers, and even difficult to pick-up the swift power-ups as the float across the screen.
 

 The key gameplay "twist" in Star Crisis is the inclusion of a jetpack.

 
 At only five stages long, Star Crisis is not an incredibly long adventure and can be easily completed in one sitting on even the hardest difficulty. Like most of the game, it lives up to expectations, but doesn't surpass them. Difficulty varies from incredibly easy to moderately difficult, with Easy and Normal modes keeping the game peaceful, while Hard mode is not that much more difficult. The game also has an Endless mode, but without online leaderboards it doesn't really serve much of a purpose. 
 
One of the best parts about Star Crisis, and one of its main selling points, is the fact that the composer, Magnus Pålsson, also composed the chiptune soundtrack of indie darling VVVVVV. This gives the game an excellent retro feel, and complements the 8-bit styled graphics. Pålsson's influence on the soundtrack is clear, sounding a lot like VVVVVV's soundtrack (known as PPPPPP)--which is in no way a bad thing. It would be awesome if tracks from Star Crisis could be included in PPPPPP as something of a bonus, because these songs rank up there with my favorites on PPPPPP.


 The game doesn't get too difficult, and can easily be completed in a single 30 minute sitting.

 
Star Crisis isn't a bad game, in fact it's a pretty good game. Sure, there are better games you could buy for a dollar on the Xbox Live Indie Games, but if you do decide to pick up this game, it won't be put to waste. The excellent soundtrack alone is worth the dollar entry fee, and the minor gameplay, difficulty, and length flaws shouldn't be enough to deter potential buyers. This game probably shouldn't be your first indie game if you've yet to venture into the frightening indie game marketplace. Once you've purchased several of the marketplace's best offerings, however, Star Crisis is a must-buy.
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Indie Games Explosion!

So I recently picked up a bunch of Indie Games with my latest 1600 points card. Here are some brief impressions on all of the games I bought. If you guys like this, I may do it more with some other Indie Games I'm interested in picking up.

Johnny Platform's Biscuit Romp

 Johnny Platform's charm lies in its simplistic premise.

  • Price: 80 ($1.00)

The first Indie Game that I picked up, Johnny Platform's Biscuit Romp is a simplistic platforming game that was originally released as a homebrew game for the Nintendo DS. The game stars Johnny Platform, a coffee addict who you must guide through stages, collecting coffee, killing enemies, and then going through the door.

The premise is simple; once you kill all of the enemies in the stage, the door opens and you're able to go to the next stage. There are well over 30 stages to traverse, with progressive difficulty. This simplistic premise works for the game, and variety in the level design (including introduction of new concepts) keeps the gameplay fresh. For $1.00 (80 points), this game comes highly recommended (I believe that's the price, I already bought it so I can't check again).

I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MBIES!!1

 I made... a game... WITH ZOOOOMBIES IN IT!

  • Price: 80 ($1.00)

I doubt I even have to tell you what Z0MBIES!!1 is all about, due to its fame as a quality Indie game by now. A dual-stick shooter, Z0MBIES has a wide variety of enemies to blow away with a plethora of power-ups and weapons. The game is very entertaining and funny in its presentation, using "l33t" for everything (no game over, but rather a proclamation of "DEDZ!!1"). This, as well as the constantly changing background and increasingly ridiculous enemies really give the game a sense of style that make it worth the dollar.

The game doesn't have a huge amount of depth (only one level), but beating old high scores is just as addictive as it was in Geometry Wars. I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MB1ES!!1 is one of the best 80 points you can spend on the Indie Games Marketplace.

Miner Dig Deep

 The deeper you dig, the bigger the game becomes.
  • Price: 80 ($1.00)

Another game that costs only a dollar, this game is possibly the deepest (pun intended) experience that a dollar can purchase on the Indie Games Marketplace. Like most of the good Indie Games, the concept that Miner Dig Deep is founded on is simple. However, the gameplay expands beyond the simplicity into an interesting and involved (not to mention relaxing) experience.

In Miner Dig Deep, you play as a miner who must, believe it or not, dig deep. Collecting resources is really the whole point of digging. After collecting enough resources, they can be traded in for money, while can purchase tools to help dig even deeper or to hold more kerosene in your lantern (which allows you to actually see where resources are). There is little to no challenge in Miner Dig Deep, but the simplistic concept and presentation make Miner Dig Deep an absolute steal for 80 points.

Arkedo Series 01 - JUMP!

 Jump's old school challenge is part of what makes it great.
  • Price: 240 ($3.00)

The first of Arkedo's "one game a month" Indie Game experiment is a faux-retro (with great looking 2D sprites) platformer starring a character resembling Pitfall Harry. Jump has 30 levels of classic platforming. The goal of each level is to collect all of the bombs before the timer ticks to zero. In some cases, there is a prerequisite, such as collecting a certain amount of money before picking up the bombs.

One key thing that Jump excels at is tight, responsive controls. This is an absolute must with a platformer such as Jump, because most levels require pinpoint accuracy. While this is easy to learn, it is tough to master as Jump has an old-school challenge to it. Not only do you have to play through increasingly difficult levels, but losing all of your lives takes you all the way back to the beginning. A staple to Arkedo's games, Jump has a hilarious sense of humor, encouraging you when you die, jokes when you pause, tongue-in-cheek level names, and much, much more. Despite any shortcomings, Jump is a fantastic game, and a great way for Arkedo to kick off their "one game a month" experiment.

Arkedo Series 02 - SWAP!

 The art style of Swap is fantastic.
  • Price: 240 ($3.00)

Described as a "dual stick puzzle game," Swap is basically a Tetris Attack clone, with several twists. The most important difference between Tetris Attack and Swap is the ability to also switch tiles vertically. This allows for combos up to eleven blocks, rather than the seven allowed in Tetris Attack. In addition, Swap has a variety of extra items and power-ups to keep gameplay fresh as the game goes on.

My major gripe with Swap is the very slippery control. The left stick moves the cursor and the right stick switches blocks. However, the cursor moves so fast that it's possible to slide it too far. This can end up tripping you when you're playing on higher difficulties, but on lower difficulties it's not too much of a problem. With Arkedo's track record (Big Bang Mini, Nervous Brickdown, Jump), it comes as no doubt that the art style is stunning (especially for an Indie Game), with smooth and bright colors complementing the world of the game.

Arkedo Series 003 - PIXEL!

 Everything in Pixel is pure quality.
  • Price: 240 ($3.00)

The true gem of the Xbox Live Indie Game Marketplace, Pixel is an absolute masterpiece. Everything from the fantastic sense of humor to the blithe music that accompanies each level. Pixel is much better than even most Xbox Live Arcade games, and I would probably buy this as an 800 point game.

Pixel is a platformer, but it differs from traditional platformers in some major ways. Unlike Jump, Pixel takes place across large levels, instead of smaller ones. The star of Pixel, the titular Pixel the Cat, can run, jump, stomp, and meow. The biggest difference, and the aspect that makes Pixel unique, is the ability to zoom in on particular objects of the environment, and then alter it by finding an "activation pixel" inside of the sprite. For example, zooming in on a tree could give the player the ability to chop it down, creating a pathway for Pixel the Cat.

Like Jump, Pixel's control is tight and responsive, a key aspect of platformers. Even when moving fast, Pixel responds to movement quickly. The game also retains Arkedo's sense of humor, and possibly has some of the funniest lines I've ever seen in a game. This happy-go-lucky style paired with innovative game mechanics, fantastic music, and great platforming makes Pixel the single best game on the Xbox Live Indie Game Marketplace (of the games I've played).

Johnny Platform Saves Xmas!

 Saving Xmas takes Johnny Platform to a variety of levels.
  • Price: 240 ($3.00)

The sequel to Johnny Platform's Biscuit Romp really comes down to one factor; if you liked the original, you'll like this. Saves Xmas gives Johnny Platform new abilities (rolling, double jumps), updated graphics, and remixed music. The general gameplay stays the same; collect coffee, kill enemies, go into the door at the end. Other twists are added, including environmental aspects (for example, fire) and improved stage design.

Saves Xmas is a good game, especially for $3.00. It's not the best experience that you can get on the Indie Games Marketplace, but it's up there. If you're looking for a great platformer that has a decent length (I believe the game has over 100 levels) and a classic, fun appeal, then Saves Xmas is for you.

Fishing Girl

 I'm a sucker for stylistic graphics, and in that Fishing Girl shines.
  • Price: 80 ($1.00)

As with most well-done Xbox Live Indie Games, Fishing Girl's charm is in its simplicity. Fishing Girl centers around a girl and a boy, and the goal of the game is to get the two back together by building up your fishing rod and then reeling in the island where the boy is. Like Miner Dig Deep, the best thing about the game is the constant upgrading and collecting of items. There is little else to the gameplay; you cast your rod and catch fish.

The art style of the game is absolutely fantastic, with great animation and character design. While the game is very short (probably around five to ten minutes), there are challenges that help the game to have some replayability. The game does have some shortcomings (I don't see why it's necessary to hit a certain area to buy things), but even with these minor flaws Fishing Girl is a well-made game and well worth the dollar for which it sells.

bricks4ever

  • Price: 80 ($1.00)
     Psychedelic mode is A LOT brighter.

Arkanoid clones are a dime a dozen, but bricks4ever has some sense of charm to it. Just about everything in the game has been seen before (power-ups, the classic block crushing gameplay). What makes bricks4ever unique is the design and placement of the blocks. Instead of just having them in set rows and columns, the blocks are occasionally placed behind other impenetrable blocks, adding another layer of challenge. bricks4ever includes several other unique features that make it interesting and fun. There is a dual-stick mode and a co-op mode, both of which work very well.

I have to at least make a passing mention to a couple features of bricks4ever that make it absolutely worth the 80 points that it costs. Somehow the developers of the game managed to make a connection between block breaking and the Big Bang (don't ask me, I'm still confusing). Additionally, there is a visual feature to make the graphics "psychedelic," which makes the glows of the blocks even brighter. These few, seemingly minor things are what gives bricks4ever its uniqueness and charm, and while it's not incredible, for 80 points you can't go wrong.

Squid Yes! Not So Octopus!

  • Price: 80 ($1.00)
     Fast-paced gameplay and bright, colorful graphics make Squid Yes a great purchase.

Before I begin describing the game, you need a little background. Squid Yes began as a forum joke when a user said he wanted a game where the maximum score is 9 (joking about Giga Wing's possibility for scores in the trillions). So, another user set about singlehandedly creating such a game. In Squid Yes, the maximum score is 9, with normal enemies giving you very small point increments (~0.000100 or even lower).

Anyway, onto the game. Technically a dual-stick shooter (the left stick moves the character and the A button shoots), Squid Yes has great stylistic graphics and fast-paced gameplay. The game is not easy by any means, and it isn't a complete Geometry Wars clone, like some games on the Indie Games Marketplace. Squid Yes isn't a game where you'll sit down and play for hours on end, but is better in bite sized amounts of gameplay.
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100,000 wiki points, oh my!

So, I finally hit the big 100,000. I have spent countless hours editing the wiki, adding information for various games, writing articles, adding releases, taking pictures, etc., etc., etc. What can I say? I really enjoy adding information to help my favorite video game website become one of the best game resources on the web. And at this rate, it looks like that will be soon. Here are my top ten favorite wiki articles I've worked on, because everyone loves lists.

10. Mario

Funny thing is, here I only wrote the information about all of the spin-offs and other materials. So, if you were the one who wrote all of the information about the main series, great job. There really isn't much else to say here; it's Mario, I wrote the spin-offs section, I got a ton of points, the end.

9. The Legend of Zelda

I still have a ton of work to do with this article, which is why it's number nine here on the list. The only section left to do, though, is that pesky timeline section (which could really use some help). Otherwise, I feel I did a pretty good job (the article was a grammatical mess when I saw it at first).

8. The World Ends With You

The World Ends With You is a game that I only recently picked up. The wiki article was pretty much blank, so I filled it in with everything from character summaries to a development history. Personally, I think I did a pretty good job, but that's up to you to decide. It's pretty generic stuff compared to some of the stuff higher on the list, though.

7. Mother 3

Awesome game means it needs an awesome wiki page. For the longest time, this article was uneditable (I don't think that's a word), but as soon as it was, I got to work on it. Like the The World Ends With You article, this is pretty basic stuff compared to stuff higher up, but it's still a decent article (full plot summary, yay).

6. Command & Conquer Red Alert 2: Yuri's Revenge

This is the expansion pack to Red Alert 2 (it shows up later on this list), so I naturally played a lot of it when I had Red Alert 2. So, when this wiki article shows up blank, I filled it in with a ton of information, listing all of the units and structures in the game to boot.

5. Beanbean Kingdom

Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga is up there in my favorite games of all time. The Beanbean Kingdom was an awesome place, filled with different sights and locales. I know a lot about this game, considering how many hours I spent with the game, so I dove into writing an article for the Beanbean Kingdom location page. An hour or so later, you have this article; a cool representation of the location that Superstar Saga takes place in.

4. Final Fantasy VI

Another wiki page that is one of my favorite games of all time. This one is different in that the wiki page was already partially built by the time I got there. So, if you worked on this article, great job, I just built on what was there before, adding a lot of information on gameplay, plot, and character summaries.

3. Capcom

I really like this page for one reason; it put into scope the massiveness of Capcom's gaming library. There is a lot more information I could add about Capcom properties being adapted into other forms of media, but whatever. The one thing I couldn't believe about this article; I got about 200 or 300 alone from adding links.

2. Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2

The Command & Conquer franchise is one that I have grown up with. So, when I saw that the Red Alert 2 wiki page was empty, I jumped at the chance to write a wiki for it. Now, I have not only written a ton about the plot, gameplay, and faction benefits, but I have also listed every unit and structure in the game, with stats, price, and a brief description. You have no idea how long that took.

1. Chrono Trigger

Okay, honestly, who didn't see this coming? Despite the page's... interesting history (which I won't go into right now), it is the wiki page that I have put the most love and care into, writing everything that I know about the game. Well, not quite (there is more I could add; I want to add a bit to the plot about reviving Crono), but that's beside the point; this page is awesome.


In closing, here's the first article I edited.

84 Comments

What I've been playing...

So this past week I've had a lot of new games to enjoy: The World Ends With You, Elite Beat Agents, Castle Crashers, and Burnout Paradise. I'll start with The World Ends With You, which I have probably been playing the most. I'm not sure how many hours I've racked up, but it has to be around 20 or 30 hours. This game is great. I really got into it about five or six hours in, after I finally caught on (for the most part) to the dual-screen gameplay. I still don't fully get it; it must be impossible to match cards of certain suits in a poker-like minigame while rapidly mashing the D-pad, slashing like crazy at the touch screen, and yelling into the microphone. I finished the game yesterday, probably, and I have to say, the story is absolutely amazing. There were twists at the end that I can say I did not expect at all. Now that I'm done with the game, I'm shocked at the amount of replayability as well, as RPGs usually don't have a great amount of replayability. So, yeah, this game is awesome.

Castle Crashers I bought on Sunday of last week. Actually, my friend logged into my account and bought it. But, whatever, I wanted it anyway. I tried playing through a few missions on my own, but was bored out of my skull, so I hopped online. I was hooked. I now have successfully gathered every achievement except for the two multiplayer ones. I'm definitely going to enjoy this game for a while, as I am pretty decent at it (I almost managed to beat my friend, who is level 80, for the princess). One thing, though, the game is very glitched up at times. My friend and I found a funny glitch while we were playing; if you manage to slash off someone's head, but if they use a potion in the split second before they hit the ground, they survive save for their head. Despite the glitches, this game is really fun.

Burnout Paradise I probably put about 10 hours or so into. I mainly played a lot of Free Roam, smashed through fences, and broke billboards. I did manage to do a few things, like a 2x barrel roll, 20 takedowns in a row, a 360 flatspin, and a couple more. I'm definitely going to have to pick up the toy cars and legendary cars DLC sometime, despite the huge about of people online using these cars. Elite Beat Agents is the game that I probably have played the least this past week. I still completely suck at the game; the only song I can do actually well is Walkie Talkie Man (which is pretty catchy). But whatever, I'm getting better.

All of the demos released on the Xbox Live Marketplace this week have been interesting too. I think the demo I had the most fun with was the Wheelman demo. Honestly, it seems a lot like the craziness of 50 Cent. Meleeing with your car? Check. Spinning completely around and using a pistol to blow up cars? Check. This demo is pretty fun, so I might rent it at least. I did try out the Watchmen demo as well, and I actually found it pretty fun. I definitely would not pay $20 for a game as short as I have been hearing, but if it was more like $10, I might consider buying it. Wanted: Weapons of Fate was another one I tried out. I will not be buying this game. The shooting was so fractured; it seemed like the developers tried to take a lot of ideas from Gears of War, but were not executed as well as Epic Games did it. The adrenaline tricks are pretty cool, though, but this is not a game that I would pay full price for.

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