And ‘theXBLIG of 2014’ is…

Yes sir, it is that time of year again. That time when we unanimously say, ‘Out with the old and in with the new’, make a whole bunch of resolutions we’ll have forgotten about by February, and hope the new year brings us some sort of sign / luck / love / money / whatever. And if not, we’ll complain about it on Twitter.

For ‘theXBLIG’, the end of the year means an all-new ‘Best-of’ list, narrowing down all of the games released in 2014 into one handy leaderboard, voted on by the community. That’d be you guys and gals, the loveable readership of this fine site1. Just like last year, I’ve rounded up my personal choices for ‘Game of the Year’, listed them in no certain order, then asked you guys to vote on them to see which game would come out on top.

Interestingly enough, though plenty have been spelling doom for XBLIG for some time now, I actually labeled more games ‘leaderboard quality’ this year than last. Whether that trend will continue in 2015 is anyone’s guess, but it’s not a bad ending to an otherwise up-and-down year. Seems you’ve felt the same way, as some games saw massive interest in voting, while others struggled to net a handful of votes. Strange times, but, without further ado, here are the Top Ten…, excuse me, Top Nine (and one write-in), XBLIGs of 2014.


(Sort of but not quite) 10. Fright Light (5 Votes)

Fright Light is the ‘write-in’ vote winner, and I can’t be entirely sure that developer Chris Antoni didn’t just vote five times for his own game, but… so be it. Horror on the cheap, with visuals and production to match, Fright Light did its best Five Nights at Freddy’s impersonation, and didn’t do too bad at it.

9. Shipwreck (3 Votes)

Imagine a classic The Legend of Zelda game. Got that? Okay, now picture that series being handed off to an indie developer. Scared? You shouldn’t be, as Brushfire Games did an excellent job porting over the look, the feel, and the puzzle / dungeon design those games are known for. It’s an overlooked gem.

8. STRACO: Purge & Conquest (4 Votes)

The STRACO series (this game is parts two and three of a trilogy) may not impress you from the start, but its charm and playability wears on you the more you play it. A top-down shooter with heart, humor, and… Optimus Phillip, it’s well worth the look.

7. Dead.Kings (5 Votes)

Dead.Kings

Dead.Kings is a lot like the original BloodyCheckers, which may hurt its originality, but it’s more fun and player trolling per square inch of checkerboard than the now-boring real-life version of the game.

6. Amazing Princess Sarah (10 Votes)

If large breasts and throwing corpses around a stage sounds like an excellent retro-ish platformer to you, then Amazing Princess Sarah is the game for you. This kind of stuff sells itself.

5. Survival Games Season 1 (21 Votes)

Survival Games Season 1

Take the look of Minecraft, add in the survival mechanics and the merciless backstabbing of DayZ, and you’ve got the general idea behind this game. Each match can be a tense affair, a mad dash for limited supplies. Or you can play silly dress up and hide in your private corner of the world. Your choice, no judgement from me.

4. ApocZ (23 Votes)

An impressively-large, post-apocalyptic world full of zombies, the harsh reality of survival, …oh, and the real threat; other asshole humans shooting you in the back and taking all your carefully-scavenged equipment and weapons. Thanks a lot!

3. Shutshimi (37 Votes)

A fish with human arms (and giant muscles). A fish with a cigar-smoking problem. A fish with a ten-second attention span. What does that equal? Neon Deity Games’ ridiculously-fun shooter, which tosses new powerups and modifiers your way every ten seconds.

2. Dead War (49 Votes)

Part overhead shooter, part storyteller, part roguelike, Dead War mixes the good ole’ ‘zombie game’ with those aforementioned pieces to good effect. A nice change of pace from the usual zombified suspects that appear on XBLIG with alarming regularity.

1. Survivalist (139 Votes)

Survivalist

It’s tempting to dismiss XBLIG as a juvenile playground of avatar games, zombie shooters, and Minecraft wannabes, but Survivalist is one of those rare types, the type that sneaks up on you without anyone realizing it. Sure, there’s zombies, but they’re hardly the focus. The game presents you with a huge open world, the onus to survive, and dozens of characters that will remember your actions. One of the best XBLIGs I’ve ever played, Survivalist is a special game.


  1. Not a blog. 
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34 thoughts on “And ‘theXBLIG of 2014’ is…”

  1. Whoa, If I had voted, I would have tied with Dead Kings! 🙂 Thanks for the consideration! Sorry I don’t keep up with XBLIG (obviously), just so busy with the new job and all. Long live XBLIG!!!!

    1. Yes sir, yes, you would have. 🙂 I suppose quite a few votes came from developers in certain instances (fraud all around!), but hey, you can rest easy knowing you played it legit and didn’t vote for yourself. 😉

      Hope the new job is working out! Shame that XBLIG couldn’t supplement that income more for some Devs, but indeed its indelible mark on the gaming community will not be forgotten.

  2. Thanks so much for putting Shutshimi on the list, we’re honored to be at number 3! The updated version of the game kind of exploded in size and is on its way toward completion and release on non-XBLIG systems… I can’t wait to share it with everyone.

    1. No problem, man. Glad to have it on the list, and it’s well-deserved! 🙂

      So, it’s an even bigger game now, eh? Sounds good to me. The ‘non-XBLIG platform’ part…. eh, not so much. 🙂 Any hope we’ll see it on XBLIG at some point (it’s not a priority, I know)? Even as a sequel or ‘GOTY Edition’ is cool… I’ll buy it again.

    2. Unfortunately no XBLIG version is planned for the updated version. We really wanted to, but with the XBLIG marketplace in jeopardy of shutdown at Microsoft’s whim combined with the way the payment situation has been shaking out has steered us away from continuing on with XBLIG as a platform.

      It’s heartbreaking for me personally as I have great love for the service, but Microsoft does not seem to share that love, for the service or the devs who utilize it.

      As for platforms it IS coming out on, I can say that it’s coming to Steam, PS4, Vita, Wii U and 3DS in the near future.

    3. Sorry to see that the update won’t feature on XBLIG, but I am excited to hear it is coming to Wii U! I hope you find a nice and financially rewarding home there. Can’t wait to play it on the Gamepad and post my screenshots to Miiverse. And it does seem a perfect (to-go) game for the 3DS.

    4. Ah, well, can’t argue with that. Thanks for the clarification. You summed up my feelings on XBLIG nicely, so I don’t blame you for shying away from the service. The situation is… well, it is what it is. 😉

      Amen to what ‘andregurov’ said, though. I’ll be picking it up on the Wii U, for sure. Always a good excuse to break out the ole’ gamepad. If it’s headed to the PS4 / Vita, does that mean we can expect leaderboards / trophy support!? I’ll be all over that version as well.

    5. Excellent! The only thing better than tricking myself into thinking I’m the best Shutshimi player is the world is seeing I’m not the best Shutshimi player in the world. 😉 At least the trophies might make me feel special. I will keeping an eye out for the game, thanks again.

    1. You’re entirely welcome, Happy New Year, and congrats on placing #2! Always glad to give credit where it’s due, and thankfully, I had a lot of good games to choose from this year. 🙂

    1. Ah, merci, and Happy New Year to you as well! The good thing about this list is it’s pretty cheap, so no one has to pick and choose favorites. You could buy them all and not put too big a dent in your wallet. One of the nice ‘perks’ of working with XBLIG. 🙂

  3. HAPPY NEW YEAR YOU ALL 30s+ something people!!!! What!!!! Shipwreck onky 3 votes???Guess one man’s wife is another man’s stripper. For some, Shipwreck may be that wife that you are sick to see everyday and you prefer do google brazilian ba dunk a dunks instead of doing her. But for me its a stripper, not matter hpw many times I see/play it its feels fun and refreshing. But that one and Survivalist (oh and Produce Wars, I loved that game) were my favorites so thats ok. But you know Timothy, between all that smoke that a fart make, all the repetitive sounds that a zombie do, and all the jokes that a pair of DDs can carry , there is still joy to find in XBLIG. You might be the only guy that have stick with it, but it was good enough to choose which tit give the greatest milk. We all thank you for that boyo. Thx for a year of indies lad.

    1. Oops, I’d forgotten all about Shipwreck. I was really hyped about it when it came out… and then forgot to buy it for some reason!? Well, at least now I know what my New Years resolution is for this year then.
      Cracking list of games, 2014 really was a good ‘un for the XBLIGs.

    2. @xionix55: Happy New Year, sir! Thanks for the reminder that I’m 30+ 🙂 I don’t consider Shipwreck to be a stripper at all, so I’m shocked the game didn’t get more votes. It’s ‘wife material’ for sure. To be honest, I voted only four times, and one of those votes went to Shipwreck. That leaves two lonely votes for the game. Sad story…

      But… I do my part to make people aware of them, and that helps you guys out in sorting the good from the bad. No matter what the vote count is, there’s a lot of good milk here. So for that, you are most welcome!

      @Edgar Alan: At the time of the review, I thought that the game didn’t get as much visibility as it should have. It was great when I was playing through it, and I remember thinking it should really take off, considering the lack of good Zelda-likes on XBLIG. Not sure what happened. I know IndieGamerChick wasn’t as wowed as me, but still, it’s a great game that deserves its due. Hopefully it’s done better business on PC.

      2014 was rather good in summation, though, so let’s hope 2015 is just as grand.

    1. Thanks! And Happy New Year to you as well! No worries on the disappearing act. Real life is far more interesting (and more important) than the goings on around here. I still appreciate the fact that anyone even visits at all. 🙂

  4. Awesome, just got back from my Christmas holidays and discovered this! Thanks everyone who voted. Although I have to admit I do check this site semi-regularly and did vote myself up a few times…

    Glad to see Dead War getting some love too.

    It does seem like the route to breakaway success on XBLIG is to make a multiplayer game (of decent quality) and sell it for $1. I guess that’s because people message their XBox Live friends to try and get them to play with them, so you get free advertising. People keep suggesting I make a multiplayer version of Survivalist, not sure if I will be able to though, just concentrating on bringing it to Steam right now.

    For all the hate that XBLIG gets though, I’ve still sold way more copies on there than on PC so far. As soon as I dropped off the front page of Desura I was lucky to sell one copy per day, whereas XBLIG has had a much longer tail (and it’s still going).

    1. @Bob: Well, then consider this a late Xmas present! Congrats on the win! I’m surprised (in a good way) to hear that the game has done better on XBLIG as opposed to PC. That’s a rare reversal of fortune, although I’m sure that would change once the game is available on Steam. Could be positive word of mouth that’s carrying it on XBLIG, but either way, that’s good to hear! Best of luck in 2015!

      @ImTheMetalLord: Might be you two that won the competition for Survivalist then. That explains the huge gap between No. 1 and No. 2…. Voter fraud!!! Abusing the system!!! Scandal!!! 😀

    2. I think the $1 rule is universal. It’s difficult when you’re selling the same game on multiple platforms since that price pressure would affect all of them. But when I see a game like Shipwreck come out at $3 (If I remember correctly) I can’t help but think they missed sales. And you really need to capitalize on your new release time.

    3. Very true, and doubly-true on the ‘new release window’. You’ve got to act fast. I don’t like hinting at / telling developers they need to lower the price of their game, but it’s definitely a necessary evil if you’re looking for sales. Very few are ever going to get rich off indie game development, BUT, you can cultivate a following / word of mouth if you make your game more… accessible to the reality of gamers’ mindsets. And if it’s hard numbers you want, total sales and such, the cheaper price point can get you there. I don’t agree with the nature of things, but it’s hard to deny that it works in a lot of instances.

  5. I guess the voters have spoken, although like you I’m a bit surprised by the disparity of numbers between top and bottom. Regardless that is an impressive Top 10. Lots of great games and for the total cost there are many, many hours of fun to be had. I think all the games in the top 10 would cost less than a quarter of a new copy of Far Cry 4 but would probably give more hours of entertainment. Tis a pity that Microsoft never could figure out how to market/exploit XBLIG. There’s always next year, right? ; )

    1. There’s plenty of blame to go around on why XBLIG never really took off, but Microsoft not doing enough to market it didn’t help. Also all the issues they’ve had with running / maintaining the service (especially earlier this summer).

      Don’t quote me on this, but I’m still convinced that MS is going to pull the plug on it sometime late in 2015, or at the very least, announce some kind of end date / stop offering memberships. On the flip side, I’m also convinced that we’re going to see some really great XBLIG games in 2015, so go figure. My crystal ball is simultaneously pessimistic and optimistic. 🙂

  6. its so interesting looking at which Xbox games do well on the marketplace and which ones are the best in terms of features/innovation/gameplay.

    Right now, people are playing minecraft, apocz, and state of decay. So it’s no wonder a game like dead burg or hunger games is doing well. But a game like survivalist that isn’t “mainstream” “genre imitating” doesn’t perform well in terms of sales/downloads.

    Community is a major theme as well, so a lot of single player games can’t stay I’m the top 30 for long. It’s all multiplayer at the top for the most part.

    1. Very interesting. For me, I compare lists like these to things like independent movies; you’ve got a loyal, dedicated crowd that loves you, critics adore you, but you just can’t find that ‘mainstream’ success that should naturally follow. It sucks that every time I find (what I consider) a ‘great game’, I know it’s probably never going to reach a larger audience. Then I see / read about some average zombie game doing ridiculously-well, and I shake my head in disillusionment.

      The multiplayer side I still don’t get. The games sell well to start, yet whenever I (or others like ImTheMetalLord) try to find a match or get a game going, NO ONE is on. Where are these players?! 😀 I still believe in these games for what they offer, but I’m more convinced that the single-player stuff is a safer bet, just for the fact that you don’t have to depend on other players to have fun with the game you just purchased.

    1. I know. I thought the appearance of breasts(!) alone would have earned her at least a dozen votes, with the excellent gameplay that goes along with it garnering at least a dozen more. Didn’t happen. The bottom four on the list didn’t do so hot at all. 😦

    1. Yeah, not even close. Survivalist had an early lead, and just never looked back. I wasn’t surprised by that. In fact, the order of the list pretty much follows what I thought it would be, but the voting? I expected some games to do better than they did. Naturally, I didn’t promote the poll (I wanted to keep things even), but I expected a stronger showing for the bottom half of the list. On the bright side, maybe this will generate some interest for those games going forward. Or maybe not. XBLIG is so fickle, you can’t plan anything around it.

      Oh, and yep, never, ever, a blog. 😉

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