Platformance: Temple Death
- Xbox Live Indie Games - 80 Microsoft Points.
Within any conventional genre, you can bet that there's someone out there willing to bloody our noses in the name of entertainment. You've had bullet hell. How about some platform punishment?
Following on from Magiko's feverishly cruel Platformance: Castle Pain, Temple Death essentially doles out more sadism masquerading as a classic retro workout.
The premise is identical in that you must safely guide your unfortunate wanderer around a devilish temple, past dozens of spinning blades, spiked traps and crushing devices to rescue the scantily clad lady of pixels.
All the while, you're being slowly pursued by a restless spirit, who takes great pleasure in killing you to death if you don't get a shift on. Fortunately for those of us who don't possess the insect reaction speed that we once had, you get periodic checkpoints and slightly less absurd difficulty levels.
But that's not to say that it's in any way forgiving. Checkpoints or not, some sections require a degree of timing that simply comes with a combination of blind luck and endless practice. It's twitch gaming taken to the realms of froth and spittle.
If that hasn't sent you running screaming back to the warm confines of recharging health and quick saves, then pay a visit to Temple Death: a place where dying is the least of your worries.
TIC: Part 1
- Xbox Live Indie Games - 240 Microsoft points (£2.04)
Not that long ago we'd have been amazed that a game as sweet-smelling and manicured as TIC could appear on the humble Xbox Indie channel, but not anymore.
Right in the midst of an App Store-style explosion in super-budget quality, the debut episode in Red Candy Games' platforming series is just the latest in a long line of high-quality titles.
With characteristic randomness, TIC focuses on the adventures of a unicycle helicopter mining robot tasked with subterranean destruction and, er, determined acorn collection. But that's how these indie developers roll. It's an abstract explosion after working for faceless corporations for years on end.
Those years at the publishing coalface have evidently come in handy, with a sweetly intuitive control system allowing you to coax TIC through an interwoven series of environments. Each of the game's three levels starts off the same way, and tasks you with finding silver acorns before it sends you off to destroy underground machinery.
The only downside is that it's all over just as it's getting into its stride. Even factoring in my haplessness in certain sections, 45 minutes isn't much of a return for your 240 points. Extra modes unlock, admittedly, but adding time limits or collection tasks do nothing to make up for the overall lack of content, nor the fact that each of the game's levels basically repeats most of what's gone before.
As a tech demo, Tic is absolutely beautiful, but Red Candy needs to work a lot harder on subsequent chapters to turn initial interest into giddy evangelism.