Elysia Flash Prototype Demo

Remember my preview of Whisper Studio's platformer Elysia? Back then, I recommended keeping it on your radar but somehow I lost track of its progress myself. So I was surprised to find out that Whisper released a prototype flash demo about two months ago, offering a three level preview of their title. Of course, the demo does not represent the quality of the final product that's going to be released on XBLIG but allows a first glance at the gameplay, the level design and the general atmosphere you will experience. Although you will encounter some bugs in the prototype, it delivers an enjoyable first insight. If you haven't done so already, you should take a look at it here! If you're too lazy or can't be bothered to play a platformer with a keyboard, watch this video showing one of the levels available in the demo:

Initially, Elysia was scheduled for a release this summer but has been postponed and I couldn't find any information on a new release date. However, I'm confident it will be worth further waiting.

'They Bleed Pixels' debut trailer released


Back in February, when I discovered Spooky Squid Games' blend of intense platforming and ultra-violent combat called They Bleed Pixels, I was instantly overcome by a thirst for blood that only the release of this game would ever be able to quench. The developer has not specified an exact date yet, only naming Summer 2011 so far, but release seems to be nearing as they have released a lovely debut trailer. Watch a little girl with claws dismembering countless enemies in various imaginative ways, almost making Wolverine look like a tame kitten in comparison.

IndieWatch videos now on gamepro.de

In my articles on GamePro's IndieWatch series I'm trying to spread the word about this german dashboard promotion for Xbox LIVE Indie Games. The articles never actually mention what is said in the videos, but rather show my opinion on the games presented in them. Due to the lack of a video capturing device, I have not been able to present the videos here, but recently GamePro started posting the videos on their site, so anyone can watch their recommendations now without needing to visit the Inside Xbox channel of the german dashboard, but note that all audio commentary is in german. Funnily, the website is four episodes behind although it is a bi-weekly series, which makes me wonder what takes them so long to update and if they will keep posting the videos.

I have updated all my articles on IndieWatch to include the corresponding videos at the end of the posts. So in case all the german words on gamepro.de make you dizzy, you are welcome to watch the videos and read my thoughts on the games featured in them here in our cozy Indie Lair.

IndieWatch Episode Six

Is it a joy, joy if one shoots up at giant, robotic boobs?

I've been so busy over the past few weeks (and still am) that I've been severely neglecting the Indie Lair and now have to catch up with GamePro, which is still promoting selected Xbox LIVE Indie Games on the german dashboard in a bi-weekly video series called IndieWatch. With episode six they slightly changed the presentation, inserting the GamePro logo on the startup picture on the Inside Xbox channel and shortening the title to "#06" (instead of "Folge 06", which is german for "episode"). Due to time constraints, I will quote marketplace descriptions for most titles but will also state my personal opinion in a few words - a few more when I think the title deserves it. I usually have played at least the trials of the featured games (if not stated otherwise) and will give recommendations based on my experiences. You can also find the video at the end of the article. So let's take a look at the line-up of episode 06!

Trial impressions: Zombie Death Car

Yet another Xbox LIVE Indie Game with zombies in it, but this time things are different. This is not your usual "mind-blowing" twin stick or sniping shooter. No, this time you will have to do without a shotgun or rifle, your only weapon is an old police muscle car, the infamous Zombie Death Car, which - as its name implies - brings death to zombies that are trying to escape, but is hurting the player way more than the undead, who have my sympathy for trying to get out of this 3D driving game. The developer's description: "Stop the zombie hoard from escaping with your car." Well, I would hand them the keys...

IndieWatch Episode Five

What do rodents, insects, sea monsters, submarines and spaceships have in common?

Some fine Indie Games have gained more spotlight by the recent update of the Kotaku's Favorites list such as the highly addictive, hilarious platformer Monsters (Probably) Stole My Princess, which was also featured on Episode 3 of GamePro's IndieWatch series on the Inside Xbox channel of the german dashboard. Episode 5 resumed highlighting quality XBLIG this week with the following lineup:

Review: Along Came A Spider

At first glance, 2D puzzle platformer Along Came A Spider might look a little bland as all of its 20 levels are made up of simple, mostly white lines representing spider's silk. The main character consists of a black circle with white eyes surrounded by dangling, fuzzy legs, only remotely resembling a real spider. But as soon as you start playing, this rather basic presentation will draw you in nevertheless. Complemented by a superb, electronic ambient soundtrack, the constantly swaying gameworld is almost hypnotizing, focusing the player on the obstacles ahead while he is figuring out how to overcome them.

Disappointing Sales for Oozi: Earth Adventure Episode 1

Editor's note: Last night, I posted how incredibly low sales for the game Oozi are, based on an App Hub forums post by the developer. Outraged, I missed a little detail: the developer was supplying sales data for a single day and not for the entire period since release. The developer was so kind to email me, pointing to my mistake and supplying more accurate numbers and additional information. I therefore apologize for misquoting the developer and misinforming my readers. At least, Oozi's sales are not quite the catastrophe I announced yesterday, but my call for attention is still valid, so please read the revised post below.

Marcin Draszczuk, creator of recently released platformer Oozi: Earth Adventure Episode 1, is not quite satisfied with his title's sales, which he revealed last week in the XNA forums. Until April 8, only 223 people downloaded his game, of which a mere 62 purchased the title. Up until today, Oozi was downloaded about 12000 times, but only about 2500 people also bought the game. Considering its high quality, generally favorable reviews and the low price of 80 MSP, it remains a mystery why this excellent platformer doesn't sell much better. Draszczuk hopes a better trial experience for Episode 2 should result in higher sales numbers: "...the gamer will start with four special abilities, while in Episode 1 trial showcases only jumping on enemies and collecting stars." Also hoping that Oozi fares better when released on PC sometime later this year, Draszczuk is probably "...not going to make any more games for XBLIG that have no avatars, zombies, or hot chicks. It's just a waste of effort."

IndieWatch Episode Four presents another fine selection

Taking a look at the current german Top Downloads list reveals what a dashboard promotion like GamePro's IndieWatch can do for titles that are featured in it. Episode four went live on the german dashboard last Tuesday, and since then all of the games covered in the video have reappeared among the Top Downloads and on high positions on the best selling today list on Xbox.com. GamePro's selection in the new episode of IndieWatch presents some of the finest games available on XBLIG:

Review: Monsters (Probably) Stole My Princess

Recently featured on episode three of Gamepro's IndieWatch as an excellent pick for 240 MSP, platformer Monsters (Probably) Stole My Princess offers great cartoony visuals with lots of funny animations and fast-paced, vertical platforming action. You control a very narcissistic vampire called "The Duke" and have to hunt down monsters he suspects of having kidnapped "his" princess. The monsters try to flee from the Duke by climbing to the top of the levels, and you chase them down jumping upwards from platform to platform, impeding their escape by hitting them three times with a double jump before they reach the top.