XBLIG Archive


Pillar review (Xbox Live Indie Game)

Pillar was developed and published on Xbox 360 Indie Games by MichaelArts. It was released on February 17, 2015 for $4.99. A copy was provided by MichaelArts for review purposes.

Pillar Pause Screen

Pillar is a perplexing assortment of puzzling mini-games by Michael Hicks of MichaelArts and was released with trophies on PlayStation 4 and as an indie game on Xbox 360. Hicks was responsible for the game's design, programming, score and other components. In fact, only one other person, Gonçalo Antunes (art), is credited with working on the game in a role other than tester. As a game that was largely created by one person, the attention to detail is significant, and the player can feel the developer's passion. Hicks also seems to be very sentimental about his work and appreciative of his family, friends and the community. If you have any interest in Pillar, you may want to take a look at this blog post at some point. It's pretty heart warming.

As for the game itself, it abruptly starts off with a screen asking, "Who Are You?" and then follows with one inquiring "What Are You?" You are then thrown into the game with no rhyme or reason. In fact, you don't even see a semblance of a title screen until you press pause. While it's tempting to cut some slack for a lack of features due to the incredibly small team of people behind Pillar, I'll be treating the title like any other game. Unfortunately, Pillar's seeming lack of direction hampers the potential that it could have.

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Tycho and Gabe get gender-swapped in upcoming DLC patch

The long-awaited third chapter Penny Arcade's RPG series, On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness, finally hit XBLIG to generally positive reviews June 29. Now, just a little over a month out from the game's release, news has begun to trickle out about the game's first DLC pack, available in a patch according to Zeboyd Games.

The pack, called the "Fanfiction Pack," features major alterations to main characters Tycho, Gabe, Moira and Jim. Those alterations come in two flavors: Gender-Swapped, which reimagines the men as women and the women as men (for example, Tycho becomes Tyche and Moira becomes Manuel), and Furry, which morphs the characters into animals (Tycho's a lion and Gabe is a pony). The characters will even be altered in cutscenes, which Tycho writes "was a bit of extra work on Zeboyd's part but makes them awesome for doing it." There's no word yet on when the pack hits for XBLIG as it's currently in peer review according to Tycho, but the pack is available now on Steam.

Episode Three released just under four years after Episode Two hit in October 2008. The series was picked up by Zeboyd after it was dropped by developer Hothead Games, who chose to focus on DeathSpank.


Penny Arcade Episode 3 released today on Xbox Live Indie Games

Penny Arcade: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness Episode 3 was released today on Xbox Live Indie Games. The first 2 episodes of the RPG series were originally released on XBLA and developed by Hothead Games however Episode 3 is taking a more old school approach under the creative controls of Zeboyd Games. This latest instalment promises to continue the adventures of Tycho and Gabe but with a new 8 bit era feel. Whilst the game is not strictly XBLA we were such big fans of the orignals we felt it was worthy of a mention. You can pick up Episode 3 for a mere 400 MSP over at XBLIG and if you're not familiar with the series then check out our rewind reviews of Episodes 1 and 2 here.


Penny Arcade pushed up to June 25

Penny ArcadeNormally, this comes by way of delays; games blowing their deadlines and being pushed back. For once, however, gamers can rejoice, as an anticipated title will hit sooner than anticipated.

Penny Arcade: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness Episode Three now releases June 25 on XBLIG, PC and Mac, over two weeks earlier than its originally announced July 10 release date. As Penny Arcade's Tycho put it in a post today, "We’re committed to releasing it 'When It’s Done' as they say, and it is done, so waiting until July seems dumb."

The game will hit just under four years since Episode Two released in October 2008. The series was set to be released across four chapters by developer Hothead Games, until that developer announced it would instead focus its efforts on DeathSpank. All seemed lost for the series, until Zeboyd Games announced last year it would develop the third episode.


Racedrome Offroad review (XBLIG)

Racedrome Offroad was developed by Rendercode Games. It was released on March 27, 2012 for 80 MSP. A copy was provided for review purposes.

Rendercode Games has a history of 80 MSP hits. Concept Car Series 2010 and Avatar Racedrome were both solid releases, and we were really pleased with 2011's Avatar Karting. Though we don't do much in the way of XBLIG reviews any more we were more than happy to take their newest title, Racedrome Offroad, for a spin around the track. As the follow up to Avatar Racedrome the game moves things indoors and trades old Grand Prix-inspired cars for a set of wheels akin to dune buggy. Tracks are tight and varied, and two player versus is offered.

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Penny Arcade Adventures Episode 3 returns as an XBLIG title

After Hothead Games went on to work on DeathSpank, the future was uncertain as to whether we would get Episode 3 of Penny Arcade Adventures. The first two weren't the best-selling titles on XBLA but they did garner a great cult audience. Now Zeboyd, creators of Cthulha Saves The World and Breath of Death VII on XBLIG, have come to save the property with On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness 3 for XBLIG, iOS, PC, Mac, and Android.

In an interview with Joystiq, Robert Boyd of Zeboyd talked about how the project came about from a user's Penny Arcade forum post, stating they should use an indie developer and recommending them. He contacted Penny Arcade to see if they were interested, unsure if he heard a response but Robert Khoo responded and things got started.

If you've ever played any of Zeboyd's games, the style is a bit of a change from what Hothead does. It's more pixelated and 8-bit in the style of old Final Fantasy. The gameplay will be very similar but still retain that old Penny Arcade humor. If you're at PAX East this year, it'll be showing on the Expo Floor and check out the interview below and some screenshots after the jump.
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Dream.Build.Play 2012 registration is now open

Dream.Build.Play 2012

Registration for the Dream.Build.Play 2012 Challenge, the annual contest to inspire independent developers to create games for Microsoft, opened earlier this week. This year in addition to creating games for the Xbox 360, there is new a category focused exclusively on games created for Windows Phone, opening the contest to a new set of talented developers.

Entries are judged by a panel of game industry professionals from Microsoft and games are evaluated on three criteria: Innovation, Fun Factor and Production Quality. Budding developers have the opportunity to compete for more than $100,000 in total cash prizes and last year’s challenge attracted developers from around the world, amassing 250 game submissions from 27 countries, many of which are available to download and play from the Xbox Live Indie Game marketplace.

Those interested in taking part can register from now till May 15 on the official website and once registered have from May 15 to June 12 to submit their games for consideration. Finalists in the Dream.Build.Play 2012 Challenge will also get the chance to show off their game to thousands of enthusiasts during PAX 2012 in Seattle, as well as the opportunity to receive an XBLA and/or Windows Phone publishing contract. For more information pop over to the official Dream.Build.Play site or the new Facebook fan page. You can also check out last years winners here.


XBLIG gets a new home in the Dashboard

Microsoft has finally made a move to rectify one of the most longstanding and common complaints about the 360's dashboard: Xbox Live Indie Games had extremely low visibility. Effective immediately, gamers will no longer be required to manipulate their way through the deepest bowels of the dash in order to peruse the list of available indie titles. A tile labeled "Indie" is now prominently located right underneath the Arcade square on the Games Marketplace.

Independent Xbox 360 developers are also about to get some more love in the form of an XBLIG companion app for Windows Phone 7. The app — currently being beta tested by a few select individuals — is said to be about 90 percent of the way to completion and will provide gamers with a simple way to keep up-to-date on the 360 indie scene. It works by yanking data from RSS feeds of blogs covering the XBLIG scene as well as the XML and CSV data from all the titles. In addition, the developers themselves will vote upon titles that they feel deserve to spotlighted on the service.

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FortressCraft sets new XBLIG sales record

FortressCraft (think Minecraft, only more, you know, fortress-ey) has become the first independent title released on Xbox Live to eclipse the $2 million USD sales mark. For those readers residing outside the U.S., that is the equivalent of 160 million Microsoft Points. DjArcas, the game's creator, described the sales figures as "pretty crazy" over Twitter.

This isn't the first XBLIG high-water mark that FortressCraft has set, either: the April 2011 release also reached the $1 million USD sales plateau ahead of its competition this past August.

Source: Nerd Vice


Microsoft takes more flak from indie community

Yet another indie developer has berated the design of the new Xbox Dashboard. Comments from Kris Steele, developer of Hypership Out of Control, echo those from a long line of indie developers who have expressed concern over the new dashboard, most of whom claim Microsoft has effectively "buried" Xbox Live Indie Games.

In a heated blog-post, Steele analysed sales data from two of his games available on XBLIG; Hypership Out of Control – released in 2010 – and its sequel, Hypership Still Out of Control – released January of this year with Microsoft's new dashboard in effect.

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