Mutant Storm Reloaded

Indie Royale's new July Jubilee bundle announced

Indie Royale's new July Jubilee bundle announced

Puzzle Agent! Geneforge! Oniken! Mutant Storm! Unepic!

Indie Royale's just announced its July Jubilee bundle. It consists of the following games:

Puzzle Agent (Telltale Games): PC and Mac. Point-and-click adventure.

Geneforge Saga (Spiderweb Software): PC and Mac. Collection of oldschool RPGs.

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PomPom Games' Michael Michael

Talking the Michael.

PomPom Games is possibly the most platform agnostic of all developers. Since the launch of Space Tripper as a downloadable PC title, the mostly two-man design team (Michael Michael does the art, Miles Visman handles the programming, while audio specialist James Drabble is also a regular collaborator) has spent the best part of a decade working on everything from the original Xbox's fledgling Live Arcade service to the iPhone. PomPom's games have even been ported to exercise machines - not a device with a particularly vocal fan-base.

I tell myself that I pretty much hate Achievements. Sure, a few games have used them beautifully - to guide the eye of the player, to offer a gentle shove towards hidden fun - but so many more seem to delight in getting it all wrong.

Mutant Storm Reloaded

Mutant Storm Reloaded

It's raining X-men. Again.

If there was one game that stood out among the mediocre first wave of Xbox Live Arcade titles released just over a year ago, it was PomPom's hugely addictive take on Robotron. Few old hands needed convincing of the allure of an updated version of that old top-down shooting classic, but the thing that impressed most was the immensely attractive visual sheen that turned the game into an eye-frying Minter-esque slice of psychotropic twitch brilliance. That the game has been revamped (or, strictly speaking, Reloaded) for the 360 can only be a Good Thing - as long as you didn't buy it a year or so ago. Or, er, even longer ago, seeing as it was originally released on the PC way back in 2003.

For those of you somehow new to the ancient Robotron template, the premise couldn't really be much simpler. Based around the then-revolutionary concept of moving your ship/man/whatever with the left stick and firing in your chosen direction with the right stick, the basic idea is to clear each playfield of enemies and move onto the next, more difficult level. Easy. Ish.

On your travels you'll encounter a wild and varied selection of foes, some easy to dispatch in droves, some exploding into smaller shards, some growing into missile-spitting turrets, others engulfing the 3D arenas with threatening tentacles and requiring boss monster-esque weak-spot detection. From the opening level onwards (there are 89 of them in total) it's evident that you're massively outnumbered, hopelessly outgunned and generally overwhelmed in a way not seen since the likes of Minter's Llamatron, Smash TV and the long-forgotten Loaded were the stars of the era. Wave upon wave of determined enemies swamp the screen, all making a dramatic beeline for you, causing the kind of intense brow-furrowing survive-by-the-skin-of-your-teeth dodge-and-weave twitch gaming that evokes visions of one of those heroic last-ditch, seven-lane changeover manoeuvres on the Hanger Lane gyratory during rush hour.

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Mutant Storm's Xbox 360

Another rah rah for MS.

The acclaimed Mutant Storm franchise will be landing on Microsoft's imminent new console, Xbox 360, thanks to a deal signed between the US giant and the game's London based developer, PomPom Software.