The first truly great XBL indie game
T.E.C 3001 is a fantastic platform/racer for the Xbox 360 indie game channel. Now, I've played many XBLIG demos but never bought one because, let's face it, a lot of them suck. And the ones that don't suck are either zombie shooters or Minecraft rip-offs. Much to my delight, however, on the 25th of August, 2011, along came T.E.C. 3001.
In T.E.C. 3001 you play a T.E.C. or Tesla Energy Collector; a robot that looks like a cross between Sonny from I, Robot and Iron Man from, well, Iron Man. Not much is explained in the game's blurb, but apparently at some point in the future you are sent into virtual reality to retrieve energy in order to save mankind. The story, obviously isn't much to talk about but that's okay because that also means it doesn't get in the way of the action.
The game plays like a cross between the Sonic the Hedgehog 2 specials stages and Fotonica; you are always moving forward. The way that you speed up is by running over green arrow or through green gates. The arrows speed you up a little while the gates put you at maximum speed instantly. You slow down by running over or through red variations of the same objects. To stop, the only thing you can do is die. You die when you run into a wall or fall off the track. And both of those things will happen often. Really often. But, taking a queue from games like Super Meat Boy, you start playing again instantly when death occurs. This is truly the game's saving grace because it is hard. Not Super Meat Boy hard, but you will fail often and if you had to sit through a load screen then the game would be a real chore to play.
But thank goodness that's not the case. And not only are there are no load screens, there is also no waiting for the T.E.C. to charge up to full speed because when you reload after dying (specifically from checkpoint) you are instantly running at whatever speed you where running at when you passed the checkpoint, which is usually fast. Incredibly fast, like Extreme-G fast, especially in the latter stages, requiring you to retry levels many times in order to not die around every corner.
In addition to running and jumping, you also have a speed boost that you can activate with the Right Trigger in order to clear larger gaps or smash through walls. On top of that, you also have the ability to slide with the B button in order make it under certain otherwise impassable obstacles. Then there are also a few skydiving sections that appear in the game that you activate by running through giant green rings.
From a graphical standpoint the game has a very simplistic style with sharp (if undetailled) textures . The HUD is not overly complicated and leaves the screen mostly uncluttered so that you can see what you're doing. The game definitely exists in a post- Rez world. While it plays nothing like it, it's art style and music will remind you of the game.
The game only has 21 levels and is thus pretty short, but then it is also only $3. All in all, I think the price of admission is more than worth it, providing at least a few hours of fun and something that is very different from everything else on the Xbox Live Indie Channel.