Skulls of the Shogun was released today on XBLA and Windows 8/Surface/Phone. Inspired by fast-paced tactics titles like Advance Wars and Fire Emblem, Skulls promises relatively deep and engaging decision-making based around a simple ruleset and a limited number of units (7 total, including the singular General unit). Also, the game eschews grid-based, menu-based movement – instead, players move their units within a circle that represents the maximum distance they can travel each turn.
On top of a “15-hour” singleplayer campaign and hotseat local multiplayer, Skulls of the Shogun also offers an online multiplayer mode can be played between platforms.
Dean Dodrill’s beautiful brawler Dust: An Elysian Tail was released this week on Xbox Live Arcade. In development for four years, Dust was the winner of the 2009 Dream.Build.Play competition. Impressively, Dean (a professional animator) is responsible for almost all of the animation and programming for the game. The soundtrack was created by Hyperduck SoundWorks, who also did the OST for Iji.
After nearly five years of development, Polytron’s Fez has been released on Xbox Live Arcade for 800 MSP. The winner of this year’s IGF Grand Prize Award, Fez is a non-linear puzzle platformer where you can rotate the camera to reveal the world’s third dimension. The game features a soundtrack by Rich “Disasterpeace” Vreeland, which will be released on April 20th but is available for pre-order.
TIGdb: Entry for Fez
I played a little bit of Spiky Snail’s The Splatters at GDC this year, and it seemed quite promising. The game progresses across a series of levels where the goal is to ignite bombs by splattering them with water-balloon-like blobs. Much of the player’s role lies in the initial launch of each blob, but you can also earn various “stunts” that will let you change their direction mid-air and increase your combo meter for more points.
The Splatters was released on XBLA yesterday for 800 points.
Wizorb, the first title from newly-formed Tribute Games, has just come out on Xbox Live Indie Games. You may have followed the development of this Breakout-like on the blog of Jonathan Lavigne, one of Tribute’s three founders and a talented pixel artist who created Ninja Senki and worked on the Scott Pilgrim video game. A PC release of Wizorb is slated for the end of the year.
TIGdb: Entry for Wizorb
I haven’t tried it out yet, but Fuelcell Games and illustrator Michel Gagné have just released Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet on XBLA. It’s a non-linear action game that features up to 4-player cooperative play (local and online). The price is $15.
Apparently the game’s music (including what you hear in the trailer) is by the Norwegian black metal band Dimmu Borgir!
The isometric action-RPG Bastion has gone up on XBLA, as part of Microsoft’s Summer of Arcade promotion. The first things you’ll notice about Bastion are Jen Zee‘s lush artwork and the narration, which is dynamic and used not only to develop the game’s story but to explain your actions in real-time as you play. According to the FAQ, the interaction focuses on “finesse” in combat and “rich” customization of stats, skills, and weaponry. The way the game handles difficulty is interesting, too – players can invoke idols to raise the challenge of certain aspects of the game (like enemy damage), in exchange for more experience points gained.
A PC port of the game is planned that is slated for later this year.
TIGdb: Entry for Bastion
Wizorb is an upcoming Breakout/RPG game from Jonathan Lavigne, the creator of Ninja Senki. It will be released on XBLIG and PC, with the price to be determined. Paul Robertson is helping out with the animations in the game.
Trouble Witches Neo! is notable for being one of the few doujin games that’s been granted a worldwide release (on XBLA), thanks to developer Adventure Planning Service and publisher SNK Playmore. The original game, titled Trouble Witches, was developed for the PC in 2007 by the independent Japanese team Studio Siesta, and was ported to the arcades (as Trouble Witches AC) before this new version hit XBLA earlier this year. Neo! adds two new characters to the game (one as DLC), as well as additional play modes.
The core mechanic in this cutesy danmaku shoot ’em up is a Magic Barrier that catches bullets and slows them down. Killing the enemy that fired a caught bullet destroys the bullet and releases gold coins that you can collect for score and spend at the shops that appear twice in each of the six stages. At the shops you can purchase MP upgrades, lives, or spell cards that temporarily augment your firepower and give you even more score.
It’s a simple system that’s easy to learn and fun to play with. Xbox 360 owners who enjoy the genre should check it out, as it’s a pretty rare occurrence that a doujin game sees a release like this.