I have a confession to make, I'm getting a little sick of twin-stick shooters. That being said, two of them this week still managed to stand out, so I guess I can't really complain if they're still quality games. In addition to those shooters there was an great side-scrolling shooter from Japan, a music app that caught my attention, and a review revisiting an under-appreciated game from last year.
Reviews for this week include Missing Reel, Shooter Chicken Revenge, Inevitable Outcome, iRiS 2.0, and Crosstown. Check after the jump for reviews of a week's worth of indie goodness.
Missing Reel - 240 MS points. There are an absolute ton of twin-stick shooters on the Xbox 360, so the real question at this point is what can developers do to stand out? Missing Reel manages to do so in a number of ways. The B-movie theme adds a lot of personality to the game, with levels playing off genre cliches from alien invaders to zombies. Even the game's menu is designed to look like a movie theater. There is also a nice selection of characters to unlock, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Missing Reel was clearly designed as a multiplayer game, with waves of enemies coming in from four directions at once that necessitate teamwork from four players. Thankfully, even when you're playing alone you will still have three AI players with you at all time. At first it bothered me to have the AI in singleplayer, but they know how to pull their own weight. In fact, the AI allies are so good that at the end of a level they would often have higher scores than me, adding another layer of challenge to the game. I had a lot of fun with Missing Reel, but your own willingness to buy will probably depend on how anxious you are for another twin-stick shooter on your console. But if you haven't gotten your fill of the genre yet, then Missing Reel is a great choice.
Impossible Shoota - 80 MS points. Impossible Shoota is an arena shooter in the style of Geometry Wars. The game is all about powering up your ship, and keeping it powered up. Every three kills your ship gets an upgrade, but every time you take a bullet you lose one upgrade level. The more enemies you defeat without taking damage, the stronger your ship will become. The music on the other hand, can get quite grating after it has gone through its short loop a couple dozen times. As an added bonus in the game, the developer is giving away copies of his past game Xbox indie game, Neo Terra, to players that place high on Impossible Shoota's leaderboards.
Avatar Quest - 240 MS points. Don't discredit Avatar Quest just because it's trying to cash-in on the Avatar craze, or because the game has nothing to do with a quest. Avatar Quest is actually a very satisfying puzzle game. You guide your Avatar across paths of colored stones, trying to get from one side to the other only stepping on the same colored stones. Levels are randomly generated, adding high replay value. My only gripe is that the Avatar seems to move a bit too slowly, which becomes a frustration in later levels when time limits get tight.
Snake 4D - 80 MS points. Imagine the classic game of snake, but with a healthy dose of motion sickness. Every fruit your snake collects twists and turns the entire screen, giving Snake 4D a level of disorientation topped only by first-person Tetris.
Yet Another Zombie Defense - 80 MS points. I almost feel like I don't need to write a review for this game, the title really says it all. Apparently when zombies came the first thing they did was destroy all of the lights in the world. You're left protecting the last remaining lamppost in a sea of darkness as wave after wave of zombies comes at you. After each wave you have the opportunity to buy more powerful weapons or walls to set up defenses. Walls seem to truly confuse the undead, as they'll often continue attacking a wall as you literally walk circles around them. It's a fun mindless shooter, with mindless being the operative word there.
Earth Shaker - 80 MS points.
Avatar Meet Up Live! - 80 MS points.
Drunk Zombies - 80 MS points.
Hang 'em High A Hangman Game - 80 MS points.
10 Seconds or Less - 80 MS points.