Earlier this week, I introduced possibly the world's most ardent PlayStation 3 zealot to the Xbox Live Indie Channel. After he'd finished furrowing his brow at the prospect of being sullied by something connected to Microsoft, the penny dropped. Hours passed, ridiculous games came and went (including the unforgettably bad Adventures Of Captain Becky), and the mood changed to something altogether more convivial. "I'm going to have to buy one of these, aren't I?" he scowled.
And lo and behold, almost five years after its release, he went and bought a 360. Not because of the Xbox's glittering array of exclusive triple-A blockbusters, or the slightly better frame-rate of multi-platform titles, or its superior online service, but because of the creative lunacy that exists in bucketloads on this almost entirely unmoderated Indie Games service.
- Xbox Live Arcade / 1200 Microsoft Points (Ł10.20)
Just when you think you're absolutely categorically done with dumb, side-scrolling beat-'em-ups, someone comes along and makes you feel like a cantankerous old bastard for being so mean.
With a spring in their step, a nod, a wink and probably a how's-your-father, the chirpy chappies at Twisted Pixel have come up with probably the most self-aware videogame of all time. Completely at ease with the ridiculousness of both videogames and comics, Comic Jumper fuses the two to create something that revels in the absurd.
Starring as a hapless superhero with a ball for a head and a smack-talking star emblazoned on his chest, you find your rather useless comic cancelled, and you're forced to eke out a living 'comic jumping' from the secret lab of Twisted Pixel.
In reality, this means you wind up leaping into three visually distinct scenarios, and engaging in plenty of twin-stick platform combat. With slick 360-degree aiming and over-the-top melee attacks, the gameplay initially goes down an overly familiar (and repetitive) road before doling out endless surprises that completely change your impressions of the game.
With goofy stupidity and smart one-liners pepping up the otherwise simple gameplay, it's the kind of game you'll happily trudge through just to see what nonsense Twisted Pixel can throw at you next. Frankly, it's worth it for the stat screen song alone.