REVIEW: AvatarFortress

Part of me dies inside every time I see a new online shooter for XBLIG. That’s almost certainly linked to the indisputable fact that most multiplayer-only games on the service simply do not have an audience, or, at the very least, enough players online at any given moment to make for interesting matches. Games Brothers1 AvatarFortress2 ($1.00) is the latest proof of that fact.

AvatarFortress - Screen

Its particulars are the stuff that any standard arena shooter is made up of— a castle map layout with long corridors and a centrally-located killing pit, multiple tiers and varied environments, including exteriors and an underground cave system. It allows for up to 12 players in a Deathmatch flavoring, with a handful of weapon types and more unlockable guns earned by leveling up.

Nothing you haven’t seen or played before, of course, but it works as designed. The map is large enough in some rooms to enable you to escape an ambush, but still claustrophobic enough to funnel players into its inevitable firefights. If you look hard enough, you can almost see the makings of some potentially fast and furious battles.

AvatarFortress - Screen2

And that’s about as close as you’re likely going to get to finding any action. The entirety of this game is dependent on other people. There are no AI bots to spar against, or any local modes, making the single-player portion of it rather meaningless (short of exploring the map). Online play is clearly the only way to go, but, predictably, I never once found a single match to test out the multiplayer.

Which is, sadly, par for the course on XBLIG. AvatarFortress dresses the part of a shooter, and handles as well as any budget FPS would, but without even a hint of an online community around to actually play it, you’re better off to let this one pass by.

  1. Developers of the retro-fine (and probably overlooked) gem, 8BitsRetroZSurvivals. It’s the ‘Nazi Zombies’ mode from Call of Duty, in pixel form. And it’s pretty great. 
  2. Not sure if this will be the same for everybody, but there’s a strange stutter on the main screen that outright refuses to let me scroll down and make selections in anything less than five minutes time. It’s weird, and an absolute pain in the ass to navigate. 

10 thoughts on “REVIEW: AvatarFortress”

  1. I bought this game about a week ago (what was I thinking) and was pleasantly surprised to start it up and get a game going within minutes. There was only 2 of us at first but after several more minutes another joined in and then a 4th and 5th player.

    After actually playing the game for about 20-30 minutes I got bored with it because the hit detection on it is flawed. You have to shoot someone 100 plus times before they die and that is using the automatic weapon you are given at the start.

    Otherwise it seemed very serviceable to me. I liked the map I played on. I will say about an hour later I tried it again and was not able to find a match….but I was less patient with the waiting time so I didn’t get into another match.

    1. Whoa, you found a game!?! Awww, lucky! I literally spent 45 minutes to an hour just sitting in the lobby, writing this review up while I waited and hoped (in vain) that somebody would show up. Not a soul did…

      But if the hit detection is that bad, or if it takes a thousand bullets to down a guy, that’s no fun either. I guess I waited too long to review it then, and anybody that bought it had already moved on. The map seemed pretty cool for hiding spots / ambush zones, for sure. I didn’t like the timer on the grenades, though. You could throw it, and by the time the thing exploded, anybody that had been there would be long gone.

      By the way, did you have problems scrolling through the options on the main menu like I did? I had to basically mash on the joystick to get it to move down one space, and to get back to the top to actually start a game? Same thing. It would take me about five minutes to scroll down and scroll back up. Only in the main menu, though. Once I got into the sub-menu for starting matches, it worked fine.

    2. If there was a title screen menu issue I hadn’t noticed it. Sorry. The grenade isn’t a grenade at all….one is a smoke bomb and the other is a booby (he he I said booby) trap but it times down which I didn’t find very useful.

      But yea hit detection was the worse of anything I have ever played. I would see someone shooting at me and it would only register a few hits as well.

    3. Ah, that would explain it lacking ‘grenade’ qualities. 🙂 Sounds like I’m not missing much, then, if not an outright dud. Thanks for the info, sir! May have to pass on covering any other MP-only shooters; it’s just not panning out for the Devs this late into XBLIG’s run.

    1. For sure, but then they’d have to make it F2P, and / or run obtrusive ads. Or have a lengthy cooldown period before you could respawn. Or have you pay real money to get more lives. 😀

  2. The multiplayer only thing has never made sense for XBLIG, and even less so now that the service is trailing off. It’s as though the developers of these games actually don’t want people to play them. Even now that I play far fewer XBLIGs than I once did, I still catch myself indulging in a weary eye-roll and a sinking sensation of resignation whenever I see a multiplayer only game.

    1. Multiplayer-only, certainly. I agree there. I’ll maintain hope that the developers are actually convinced their games will find an audience, but they’ve really got to plan for the possibility… er…. inevitability, that these games will not. At least add some AI bots, or a local mode. There is a subset of gamers that will absolutely pick up a game for split-screen play. It’s small, granted, but it’s there. Anything is better than relying on a nearly non-existent online community, agreed.

    2. Bots can make all the difference for me. I’ve been known to buy MP-centric games (and enjoy them) based solely on the presence of bots. It’s not the same as playing with real people but the game is at least playable that way.

    3. Absolutely. Perfect Dark on the N64 is a… um… perfect example of that. If I didn’t have friends around to play, the Bots were more than serviceable to take a person’s place. Gave me plenty of practice, allowed me to learn the maps / weapons, and really, was just as fun. If I remember correctly, GoldenEye had bots too, but they weren’t as smart. They were a must then, and especially on XBLIG now. I hope Devs take notice.

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