The official blog of the Saved Content site

The aim of this blog is to collect and archive my selected thoughts, ideas, feelings, reactions, and opinions on subject matters that pique my interest. These entries represent initial drafts that may contain grammatical and spelling errors and whose substance and position could still change, and which, at some point, I could decide to put together into in-depth articles that will be posted on the main Saved Content and Poverty Sucks sites.

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23 Underrated XBLIG Gems - Goodbye Xbox Live Indie Games Part 3

Most of the popular or critically-acclaimed Xbox Live Indie Game titles can be found in the top 1000 user-rated rankings on the Xbox Marketplace.  Most of the XBLIG games I bought or plan to buy can be found within the top 1000.

There are a few Xbox 360 indie games though that I found that I liked which I bought or still plan to buy, that were not in the top 1000 user-rated titles.  Being outside the top 1000 means that these games are usually unnoticed by prospective buyers.  These games are not only underrated, they are left underappreciated.

My goal now is to bring some last minute attention to these hidden gems so that more people can appreciate them as I do before the end of XBLIG.  Here is a list of Xbox Live Indie Games that haven't received as much notice as they deserve.  All of these games cost just $1 each and have one thing in common aside from their rank outside the top 1000, they all have visuals that are very appealing to me.

1. STRACO: Purge and Conquest - The STRACO trilogy is a twin-stick shooter and tower defense hybrid.  This game represents the second and third parts of the trilogy.  The first game was in the top 500 user-rated XBLIG games.  I love tower defense games and I like twin-stick shooters so it was an easy decision to buy the whole trilogy.

2. Wool - One of the seven games by the developer Milkstone Studios that I bought and it is the only one among the seven that is not in the top 500 user-rated XBLIG games.  I bought this because this was a simple and easy-to-learn, good-looking, family-friendly, local-multiplayer game, which is extremely rare.  I can play this game with my teen daughter as well as my youngest son.

3. Solve It - Pack 1 - A very good looking puzzle game.  It has only 30 levels so l'm disappointed that there were no sequels.  In this game, you create a series of instructions you provide to the game character in order to reach the destination.  I love programming and this game is like an introduction to programming since you have to piece together the instructions in the proper order so that the character can execute the instructions the right way and therefore solve the puzzle correctly.  This was a game I felt lucky to have stumbled upon since no one else seemed to have written about it.

4. Stop the Woodcutter! - This is the second best looking $1 XBLIG tower defense game, after Milkstone Studios' Red Invasion series.  There are other traditional tower-defense type games on XBLIG but they cost more than $1 or their artwork is not as appealing to me.  This was a game I felt fortunate to have discovered since it was such an unknown title.

5. The Useful Dead - A nice and cute looking puzzle platformer with a somewhat morbid gameplay mechanic.  This game is from the same developer of the critically-acclaimed Bleed.  In order to solve puzzles, you have to use the corpses of your game characters.  This is probably the reason why this game isn't more popular.  I like how the game looks and I like how it plays.  It is much better looking than most of the platformer games on XBLIG.

6. Quad Force - A very good looking 4 player local co-op twin-stick shooter with a top-down perspective and 3D rendered models and environment.  One of the few twin-stick shooters rendered in 3D and beautifully at that.  Made by the same developers of Storage Inc.  No one seems to have written about this game so I felt lucky to have found it.

7. Robot Legion - This game is a nice-looking twin-stick wave-based arena shooter with robot enemies instead of the usual zombies.  Weapons and attributes can be upgraded with the money earned.  What differentiates this from the usual games of this type is that upgrades are saved between play sessions and completed levels can be selected and replayed.  This was a game I felt fortunate to have stumbled upon since I could not find any article about it.

8. Block Zombies - This zombie wave-based twin-stick shooter is rendered in voxels and created by the developer of the Candy Please! series.  There are no other voxel-based twin-stick shooters on XBLIG.  Weapons can be upgraded in the game.  One unique feature of the game is the presence of large zombie enemies.

9. Micromazes - This is a puzzle game with randomly generated puzzles for almost infinite replayability.  In this game, you have to move blocks aside in order to reach your destination.  There is local two-player co-op as well as a competitive local 4 player mode.  Nothing has been written about this game so I'm lucky to have found it.

10. Spring Up Harmony - The description of a hybrid game of bubble shooter, Breakout, Peggle, and pachinko, made me take notice of this game.  Once I played it, I was rewarded with its fun gameplay, which was a pleasant surprise that I did not expect at all.

11. BombLocker - A minesweeper clone with hex tiles instead of squares.  The best-looking minesweeper clone of all on XBLIG.  I'm glad I was able to find this game since there aren't many articles that refer to it.  Being a minesweeper clone, it has unlimited replayability.

12. Quick Pirate - This game is a twin-stick shooter where you can upgrade your ship, save your progress, and replay levels.  I regret that I initially dismissed this game.  On the Xbox 360 dashboard, I usually browsed past this game because I was neither impressed with its boxart nor its screenshots.  The only reason I was able to find out how good-looking and fun this game was, was when I watched a YouTube channel that reviewed XBLIG games.  I am extremely fortunate that I was able to watch that video which led me to buy this game.

13. Rogue AI - A tower defense game set in space using satellites.  This is not a traditional tower defense game where the enemy follows a certain path towards a single destination.  The game looks good and it plays well also.  I would never have known about this game if I had not watched a YouTube XBLIG review channel so I'm glad that I did.

14. Project Alpha - This game was made by the same developer of Block World.  It is one of a few space combat and trading games on XBLIG.  It is also a twin-stick shooter which is a rarity for the space trading genre.  This game has a sequel, Project Delta which costs $3 but doesn't look as good in my opinion.  I was lucky to have taken the time to read the description of this game which stated it was a space RPG and it hooked me in and made me try it out, leading me to find out it was a space combat and trading game which is a genre that I absolutely love.

15. Shutshimi - This is a quick playing horizontal shmup that I plan to buy.  It has been described as having a similar feel as Super Amazing Wagon Adventure but with better visuals.  Unlike other shmups, each wave lasts only 10 seconds.  This game has great humor and its quick play prevents it from becoming tedious which affects other shmups.

16. Retribution - A great-looking 3D rendered wave-based twin-stick shooter which is set on a revolving planet.  It has been described as a clone of the Playstation 3 game, Super Stardust HD.  It offers ship upgrades as you progress through the game and progress is saved between play sessions.  It is one of the few 3D rendered games in a twin-stick shooter genre dominated by 2D visuals.  This is on my list of XBLIG games to buy.

17. Guppy Collects 2 - An extremely simple and shallow but very well-done game that hooked me in with its charm.  The visuals might seem amateurish at first but you will realize its art style is consistent throughout the game and it becomes obvious that it has a cute aesthetic that is very professionally done.  Its gameplay consists simply of pressing the correct buttons by following the series of buttons displayed on screen.  Despite its simple gameplay mechanic, it's a very well-executed game that made me want to reach the end and play as long as possible.  This is a game that I can turn to when I need a game to play quickly.  This game is on my list of XBLIG games to purchase.

18. Solar Struggle: Survival - A simpler 3D space combat game that is played on a 2D plane.  Enemies are on the same 2D plane as your fighter.  With no need for up and down directions, it makes combat simpler.  This is the best looking 3D first-person space combat game and the gameplay is easy to get into.  Enemies come in waves and you upgrade your ship as you complete each wave. This is a nice game that I'm glad I was able to find and have the opportunity to purchase.  This game is a cut-down version of an earlier game, Solar Struggle which offers a complete campaign but costs $5.

19. LightFish - This is a very good reimagining of the classic Taito arcade game Qix with an underwater theme.  It looks good and it plays well.  I loved Qix so I'm glad to get a chance to buy this game.

20. Abronium Tournament - A nice looking 4 player local multiplayer party game with 10 game modes and 35 maps.  There are not many party games on XBLIG and this game has ten.  Good bang for the buck and something I plan to add to my list of games I own.

21. Pegzo - A good-looking 3D puzzle game.  One of the best-looking puzzle games on XBLIG and its puzzles are challenging.  There is no mention of this game that I can find so I'm glad I was able to take notice of this game and have the opportunity to buy it.

22. Star Chart - I like stargazing so I really like to be able to find objects to view in the night sky.
  I prefer to view this on a big screen using a game console because it's easy to get up and running.  This is highest rated and cheapest stargazing game on XBLIG and I'm planning to add it to the list of games I own.

23. BattleSweeper - A good-looking minesweeper clone.  It offers competitive local multiplayer, so together with its core gameplay, it offers unlimited replayability.  I found this by browsing through the Xbox 360 dashboard so I'm luck to come across this game and have the opportunity to purchase it.


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