Xbox Indie Games Roundup • Page 2

The latest offerings from the lunatic fringe.

Inevitable Outcome

Taking the immediacy of the twin-stick shooter, slowing it right down and blending in elements of co-operative survival horror, Inevitable Outcome may not reinvent the wheel but it at least gives the wheel an interesting coat of paint.

Viewed from the traditional top-down perspective, you must fend off an endless tide of brutish slug creatures as they slurp and slither towards you. To begin with you just have a pistol with infinite ammo and a couple of grenades, but more weapons can be picked up as they spawn. Shotguns, rifles, even laser guns all appear at random.

The game's gimmick is that day turns to night, and what was reasonably tricky in daylight becomes savagely difficult in pitch blackness, with only a weak torch to locate the encroaching creatures. Soon enough you're watching the game clock, praying for the morning so you can actually see where the bastards are.

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Burn, zombie slug thing, burn.

For each full day you survive, you get one upgrade. Move faster, do more damage, get a better torch... it's all obvious, yet very useful, stuff. The title does rather give the ending away though - one way or another, you're going to die. It's just a question of how long you can last.

The main problem is the gluey movement, which makes survival even more unlikely. I know if I were being harassed by demonic slugs, I'd move a lot faster than the dawdling pace available here. The aiming also feels a little off sometimes, with shots skimming to either side of an enemy only feet away from you.

Four player co-op spices things up, however, and the lighting effects as night falls are genuinely excellent. More variety in the enemies would be welcome, and might make the choice of weapons more strategic, but this is still an above-average twist on a tired formula.

6/10

Kaleidoscope

One of the finalists in the 2009 XNA Dream Build Play contest, Morsel's endearing platformer is best described as LocoRoco meets Wizball.

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Don't worry, the black blob is the hero in this one.

You play as Tint, a minimalist black splodge tasked with bringing colour back to his monochrome world. You do this by collecting blobs of pigment scattered around the sprawling levels.

With each drop of colour gathered, a touch more colour is added to the scenery. So, for example, the more blue and green paint spots you find, the more green seeps back in to the palette. It's a lovely idea, and while the visual style feels a little too self-consciously indie-cute there's no denying that it looks delightful.

There are some issues holding it back from greatness, though. Forcing players to start each level over, with all enemies restored, whenever they find one of the three primary colour globes hidden in each stage is a fairly clumsy way of padding things out.

There are also some off-putting collision and control hiccups that make the trickier sections a pain to navigate, even with the game's generously infinite lives. A patch is apparently planned, but until that arrives it's enough of a hurdle to dull the shine of an otherwise promising title.

7/10

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