REVIEW: Indiemon VS Zombies

Speaking of nerd cards in need of being revoked, I’ve avoided developer RicolaVG‘s Indiemon series on XBLIG for various reasons, tops among them being that I’m not a huge fan of Pokémon… …I know, it’s heresy, right!? Semi-adorable creatures battling other semi-adorable creatures, with you collecting them1 like a packrat and sending them to endless war; what’s not to love? But… throw some ‘undead’ into the mixture… label it Indiemon VS Zombies ($1.00)… and now you’re speaking my dead / slightly-decaying language, friend!

Indiemon VS Zombies - Screen

That ‘language’ I speak of takes the form of that ‘old reliable’ videogame fallback, the twin-stick shooter genre. The game features twelve Indiemon slaying mobs of zombies, each with their own unique attacks and special moves. And just as reliable (i.e. predictable), those zombies are fought in a pair of rather bland arenas, in a wave-based format according to difficulty. In other words, it’s like every twin-stick zombie shooter you’ve ever played.

Well, somewhat. Indiemon VS Zombies attempts to mitigate some of its me-tooism via upgradeable skill trees, giving each indiemon access to his or her— or its— secondary attacks, in exchange for XP earned during each wave, natch. Some of these ancillary weapons are better suited to the game than others (like say, a gun that can shoot through multiple rows of zombies at once), but they do inject some much needed variety. You can also tweak movement speed and XP gains, or buy additional lives and ammo, which again, helps to give the proceedings a little more depth than just ‘shoot ALL the things’.

Indiemon VS Zombies - Screen2

It still boils down to just that in the end, of course, and it’s a familiar fight. Even the A.I. phones it in. Being surrounded is never good, but you can always just strafe around the edges of the map and do just fine, or have a friend tag along as a second character and gun (there’s local co-op, if you insist). Though short of unlocking some additional indiemon for good play (outlast all waves on a particular map, collect a certain amount of extra lives in reserve, etc.), there’s not much else to it beyond the first hour.

And that makes Indiemon VS Zombies just so-so. Fans of the Indiemon series will undoubtedly be happy with the game, while twin-stick enthusiasts can probably find a favorite character to run through it with. Granted, it’s a fairly generic shooter underneath the Pokémon-ish paint job, but come on… Semi-adorable creatures battling hordes of the ravenous undead; what’s not to love? Eh, you’ll have to answer that one for yourself.


  1. Personally, I’d call it some form of slavery. Not to mention the inhumane storage conditions, being trapped in a tiny ball until your master calls upon you to fight on his / her behalf. 

REVIEW: Deck of Heroes

I should probably have my nerd card revoked for saying this, but I’ve never even tried a strategy card game up to this point in my life, let alone bothered to understand its appeal. I mean, I can barely stand to play ‘Go Fish!’, let alone a variant of Poker or Rock, Paper, Scissors with some form of fantastical creature drawn on them. Not that you should confuse my lack of fluency in these games as contempt or a dismissal, I just really don’t think I’m any kind of authority to be talking about them. But, here I am, with Deck of Heroes ($1.00).

Minus a storyline or any kind of roving mythology, Deck of Heroes is simply a digital card game, albeit one with a decent amount of unique cards (108) and a more well-known, well-played game serving as its inspiration (that’d be Blizzard Entertainment’s Hearthstone). While this game isn’t as flashy and willing to raid your wallet1, Deck of Heroes does let you roll as one of four races (Human, Orc, Elf, and Undead2), then put together a team of cards from that pool, or just choose from a handful of ready-made decks.

Once you’re in-game (there’s local and online versus modes, or you can play the A.I. solo while you wait for a challenger to show up), the setup and conditions for each turn-based battle are pretty straightforward; eliminate your opponent, and survive. This involves the use of said cards, representing a particular minion / bonus perk from your chosen class. Each ‘turn’ in a game allows you to stock up on mana (your means of buying cards / effects), or add cards to your available hand to choose from.

The ‘strategic’ part comes in how you stack your cards, and where you deploy your minions. You can place a maximum of six cards on the top and bottom rows, with the top row serving as your ‘defensive line’, soaking up any incoming damage and / or attacking your enemy’s lines. Each card has its own ‘attack’ stat and ‘health’ count to consider, so you’ll need to plan your round’s moves accordingly. Minions will cancel other minions out should the numbers be in your favor, or you can whittle down your opponent’s health. Other ‘buff’ cards can amplify those choices, such as by swapping cards / rows, spawning a random minion, increasing stats, etc.

Deck of Heroes - Screen

Unfortunately, the ‘strategic’ element can be largely circumvented simply by having patience. There’s little to stop you from building up your mana pool to its max limit, then repeatedly calling in heavy hitters to quickly take out enemy minions and / or wear down your opponent’s health. That lack of serious strategy hurts the game’s single-player portion (the A.I. is perpetually one step above ‘brain dead’), but Deck of Heroes is undoubtedly intended to be played against another human opponent, either online or locally.

The end result may not as fancy as other games of this sort, but Deck of Heroes does a passable impression of a strategy card game… provided you have a friend to play against. I can’t stress that part enough. If you’re in this purely for the hope that the A.I. can provide a meaningful challenge, you’re better off looking elsewhere for your fix.


  1. Sorry, Hearthstone, your not-so-F2P ways make for easy fodder. 
  2. This is XBLIG, so you know zombies have to make an appearance at some point. It’s required by law.  ;) 

‘Cast Of The Seven Godsends’ Might Be The Run ‘N Gun You Need

As a modern throwback1 to 80s Run ‘N Gun platformers (go ahead and make the Ghosts ‘N Goblins comparison, you’re allowed), the upcoming Cast Of The Seven Godsends appears to look and play the part. I mean, we’re talking 16 whole bits here. Plus a lengthy history. Four years in the making, Italian developer Raven Travel Studios has been hard at work putting the finishing touches on the game, expected to release on XBLIG sometime later this Spring.

The game features seven levels and seven types of epic armor to equip, allowing for dozens of weapon / magic combinations. That flexibility ensures you’ll be able to rain various forms of death upon regular enemies and massive bosses alike. At the least, it all makes for a uniquely-tuned, uniquely-vibrant art style that looks as good in still shots as it does in motion. Good gameplay should follow.


You can follow developer Raven Travel Studios on Twitter and / or like their Facebook page.


  1. Forgive the oxymoron. The word pairing, I mean, not me. I’m not a moron. Am not! Am not! 

REVIEW: Zombie Shotgun Massacre 3

Despite the ‘3’ in the title lending itself to a varied and (obviously) numbered progression, Zombie Shotgun Massacre 3 shares much in common with the previous entries in the series: a barely-clothed heroine battling the continually-spawning undead with a shotgun. It’s not a difficult formula, nor a particularly complicated one. From a marketplace standpoint, you could even say it’s the perfect formula. Breasts, zombies, violence; sounds like a winner.

Zombie Shotgun Massacre 3 - Screen

And in some ways, it works. Same as in the earlier games, ZSM3 stars the series’ titular1 ‘Alice’, a deadly, lingerie-laden fox armed to the teeth, slowly making the 2D streets (and the requisite Red Light District!) safe enough for everyone to walk around in their underwear… I think. There’s a very loose plot involving evil types and a missing friend, but the majority of the game has you patrolling the same few avenues, rescuing the same few citizens, and blasting the same few enemy types. Over and over. Oh, and sometimes, it rains.

The gunplay is adequate, if not terribly inspired. You walk, you line up your shot, and you fire. The game gives you other ways to dispatch the dead, although your arsenal is still pretty limited. Besides the default shotgun (just four rounds, and with most enemies taking three to four shots each to take down, you’ll be reloading… a lot), you have grenades and an AOE super move that can save your always-exposed skin in a pinch. Regrettably, the AI isn’t overly-complex; don’t get swarmed by a crowd, and you’ll be okay.

Even then, ZSM3 has you covered. Enemies typically drop cash, zombie DNA (which converts to cash), and grenade / health refills. Combine this with vending machines on each street, a gun shop, an Uber driver to take you back to HQ for cheap, and characters that can refill all your vitals for free (after you’ve rescued them, natch), and you’re safe to roam the streets with relative ease. Occasionally, you’ll encounter some lowbrow humor, like toothbrushes being used in unintended ways2, missing cats to wrangle up (again), or a stripper that gives you crabs3 after sleeping with her.

Zombie Shotgun Massacre 3 - Screen2

Indeed, tough choices lie ahead.

Still, the game’s biggest threat to you is tedium. A lack of interesting objectives (come on, another rescue mission… ugghh) and an emphasis on a slow, incremental grind means you’ll be spending several hours just doing the same damn thing. Which isn’t very fun, especially when there’s not much in the way of varied scenery or more involving combat. After you’ve shotgun-ed your thousandth zombie and / or hoofed your way to the far corner of the game’s map for the umpteenth time, you’ll have probably had enough.

Zombie Massacre 3 looks and feels solid at the outset, but spending any amount of significant time with it reveals it to be a repetitive slog, with very little in the way of rewards or a satisfying payoff. It’s certainly playable, and… you know… boobs4… but there’s simply much better zombie games on the market. Pass.


  1. I swear that’s not meant to be a pun… okay, fine, who am I kidding? It’s a pun. Tits! Whew. Glad I got that off my chest
  2. Ahem. Like as a vibrator, say. 
  3. Yes, the edible kind. Which you can then sell. What, you were expecting the STD? 
  4. The kids love ’em. 

‘Deck of Heroes’ is a… Well, It’s a Card Game

Inspired by Hearthstone and the like (yes, Magic, I mean you too), developer Gamefarm‘s1 upcoming Deck of Heroes is an unapologetic homage to all of those ‘strategic / collectible card games’ that seem to be all the rage to a certain core set of gamers. I can’t count myself among them. I’ve never been a fan or a collector, so admittedly, I can’t quite comment on what makes them special2.

Nor can I sound competent in putting forth the game’s description, but I’ll try: Deck of Heroes allows you to string together a deck from 108 unique cards, then let them loose in turned-based battles between two opponents, either human versus human online / local, or in testing your skills against the game’s AI on your own. Whew, that didn’t sound too bad, did it?

Deck of Heroes is simply ‘coming soon’. (EDIT: Er… tomorrow, I mean. Er… today, actually. Ah, it’s available now.)


You can follow developer Gamefarm (Fabian Jakobsson) on Twitter.

 


  1. Also creators of the popular Lootfest series. The third entry in that series is expected on XBLIG later this summer. 
  2. But hey, this game’s soundtrack sounds really good. 

Reviews and News for Xbox Live Indie Games

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 567 other followers