Xbox Live: Indie Games Winter Uprising

After a busy summer with a successful Summer of Arcade season, XBLA has called upon a swarm of Indie developers to keep our hands toasty throughout the winter months with the launch of Indie Games Winter Uprising.

Veteran dev teams Ska Studios, Radian Games and a plethora of  ‘up-and-comings’ are taking residence in the Xbox LIVE Indie Games service and giving it a proper shake-down; offering a barrage of independent games that aim to fight back against the lame and the weak.

The 14 titles are set for release in a flurry during the first week of December, but we’re being treated to an early present from Eyehook Games being released today (Tuesday November 30).

Epic Dungeon is a fast and frenetic dungeon crawler with a meaty daub of old-school RPG levelling and equipment upgrades; perfect for a reminiscent Rogue fan and/or those of us less perplexed by the lack of perceived three-dimensional graphics and a thirst for ‘The Quest’.

From the trailer compilation there look to be a number of total gems.

Creators of the RPG parody, Breath of Death VII: The Beginning give us Cthulhu Saves the World, a top-down 16-bit adventure RPG. With in-game dialogue like “You’re a dark fiend? You should have told me! That’s so sexy!”, it looks as though a lot of the ‘character’ has survived from their former release, which should prove entertaining!

Side-scroller, Asteroids Do Concern Me, looks to be a rather trippy adventure through classic asteroid filled space and past the not-so-usual floating unicorns. Lots of speed. Lots of colour.

We like.

There are a number of dual-stick shooters on offer and I like what I’ve seen from a polished looking Alpha Squad. It’s got a soundtrack from Stemage of Metroid Metal, as well as 4-player co-op which allows you to team up to explore the large world.

Indie Games Winter Uprising is a sensible move for the computer giant . The Summer of Arcade  had its critics with some arguing the games’ worth because they had not found publishers. Thankfully these critics were shot down on comment pages and game forums across the net in double-quick time. There were plenty of people willing to shell out for the mass-release  in the Summer with revenue increasing 200%, bringing greater exposure to the digital download service and highlighting the presence of the independent developers on our radars.

It is only with this type of backing that game developers will get the chance to have their say. Take Eyehook Games’ website as an example. It’s a meek unassuming blog-based site that has a neat little update diary and some screenshots of games past and present.

Compare this to the flash-heavy monolith of Treyarch’s Black Ops website, buffed to perfection by a 5000-strong* web team who work 24-hour shifts while professional masseuses limber-up their hunched frames as they code away in the name of Activision*.

This is not a criticism angled at Eyehook and it’s promotional efforts nor that of the impressive Call of Duty website.

It is an indictment of the way in which we consume games today.

We are spoon fed sumptuous morsels of major releases and new tid-bits of information until release date, making content and hype indiscernible. As soon as one is done, the next big one is on the conveyor belt with the same pomp and blast.

I get caught up in hype all the time, it’s enthralling, but I’ve more often than not been left disappointed by games that have massive media outfits to tarmac over a game’s pot-holes.

With the meteoric rise in popularity of gaming, and sales figures beating opening week cinema blockbusters; can we draw comparisons between the our industry’s big hitters and the Hollywood conglomerates?

Most definitely.

Then, dear reader, what are our indie devs akin to in the fanta-orange tanned world of the silver screen? They are the Von Triers, the Chan Wook Parks, the Alfredsons and they know their art. They just need the industry to embrace their talent and let gamers decide for themselves what they want to play. 
*slight exaggerations

Indie Games Winter Uprising release list:Prices range from 40 - 400 points

Soulcaster 2

Cthulhu Saves the World

Crossfire 2

Chu’s Dynasty

Alpha Squad

Epic Dungeon

Break Limit

Decimation X3

Asteroids Do Concern Me

Hypership Out of Control (Update)


Rickenbacker vs. the Aliens

Aphelion: Episode Two: Wings of Omega

ZP2KX: Zombies & Pterodactyls!

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