Category Archives: Arcade

REVIEW: Snake Party

Not to be confused with another way to say there’s a bunch of dudes clustered in one location, or a very strange (and very specific) kind of reptilian gathering, Snake Party ($2.99) represents another notch in the classic ‘snake’ game category. And it’s kind of a sort-of sequel / upgrade to the eight-years-earlier Snake3601 from the same developer. That’s also kind of very similar-ish?

At any rate, you have the familiar mechanic of your ‘snake’ chasing down ‘targets’ that can both extend your time left on the clock and increase your body size to eventually-ridiculous lengths (phrasing!). The challenge, of course, is to manage that growth within the confines of a given level, avoiding walls and obstacles, as well as your own self. The rooms are varied as such, with over 100 challenge stages, the difficulty increasing as you shift from different tiers as often as you’d like, including Easy, Expert, and Insane2.

Each tier is suitably stocked to offer variety and plenty of said challenge. Victory conditions and modifiers for every level change as well, with some asking you to collect a certain number of targets, or navigate for a set time with infinite growth, obstacles blinking in and out of existence, etc. This mixes things up nicely, ensuring you never get too comfortable completing a single task or playing in one set pattern the entire way through.

There’s also various survival modes to test your skill, and four-player couch battles return with their own devious modifiers, letting you compete for high score, bragging rights, and the always-precious free space to move around in (things get cluttered fast, no surprise). That would probably be the ideal way to play the game, but for XBLIG, it might be limited to who you have available in your immediate surroundings and how many controllers you have.

snake-party-screen

Though the biggest question, of course, would be how much you enjoy the Snake gametype, and if you don’t mind essentially playing the same game as what you already can find in your web browser, your phone, your watch, your calculator, or any number of other places that Snake clones exist. Given its similarity to the previous Snake360, too, you might have already had your fill of it in this particular presentation.

Even with those drawbacks and aforementioned games, Snake Party is plenty fun and plenty challenging, albeit close to the same thing you’ve seen and done before. But, if you’re new to it, or play too much Slither.io, or just enjoy the arcade-y hook of it in any form and / or have four controllers on hand, there’s more than enough content to keep you busy, be it with friends or going solo.


  1. Eight(!) years ago; man, Xbox Live Indie Games has had a hell of a run, when you think about it. 
  2. And while Hard is predictably tough to handle, and Expert is difficult stuff to anyone but the most-practiced Snake-titioner, Insane is just… just… why would you do that to yourself!? 
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REVIEW: GERONEKO

We’ve all heard our share of apocalyptic and End of the World tales, the cool and the serious, the strange and the strange-yet-could-be-true, but GERONEKO ($1.00) features one of the most bizarre world-ending storylines I’ve yet come across. When the Earth is suddenly destroyed in some kind of cataclysmic event1, a cat riding a ‘Super Space Vacuum Cleaner’ comes along, needing to shave the fur off a whole bunch of space animals. You can then use that hair to build a new planet, and start life as we know it over again.2

So, okay, that’s that. GERONEKO started out life as a Japanese Game Jam title, made the move to PSM (PlayStation Mobile? Remember those games? RIP.), and now finds itself on XBLIG. Because why not. It plays loosely as a ‘shooter’, although there are no guns or bullets here, just a single-screen black hole slowly pulling you and said space animals slowly towards the center to meet your certain doom, no doubt. You ‘shave’ these critters by passing over them, and it’s game over if any of them are sucked into the black hole before they’ve been shaved. Bizarre, but simple enough.

The game’s ‘Original’ setting is bare-bones and almost pointless; it asks you to shave as many animals as you can before your fuel runs out, then just ends without tallying your score or offering up anything else. ‘Arranged’ mode is a little meatier. Here, your ship can be refueled (using floating tuna cans, natch) to give you additional time, and you’ll have to avoid flying dumbbells3 during your space barber shop duties. You must reach a handful of score plateaus, with the action picking up at each turn.

GERONEKO - Screen

Apt description; checks out.

Things can get a tad hairy4, but minus the J-Rock track that kicks in after you’ve scored a certain amount in ‘Arranged’ mode, the gameplay doesn’t evolve much beyond that. More animals to shave, more dumbbells to avoid, more fuel to collect. If you’re good enough, you can unlock a bonus game afterwards to pad your score, pitting you against a ‘space ninja’ that hurls yet even more dumbbells at you. The future is bleak, my friends. And loaded with dumbbells.

And so it goes. GERONEKO sure has a unique premise, but very little else going for it gameplay-wise. It’s just too basic, and while it might hold your interest for a minute or maybe two, it’s more likely going to join a short list of XBLIGs where you literally stand up after and ask ‘What the hell did I just play?’


  1. According to the story, God said ‘Enough,’ and it includes the lines, in order, ‘All of life to live in the earth despair / Who has abandoned the faith, / In addition, a person was vomiting.’ I realize this is probably a Google Translate gone awry (we’ve all been there), but it’s still pretty funny to read, so far as apocalyptic Earth stories go. 
  2. No, you’re not high and I’m not either (I think), that’s the premise. I warned you it was bizarre. 
  3. A space cat’s #1 sworn enemy, apparently. I mean, they are heavy bastards, and it would probably hurt pretty bad to be nailed by one in orbit around a black hole, so it makes a kind of sense. 
  4. Pun very much intended. 

REVIEW: Block King 2

Much like the original, the genius (those always judging books by their covers would say anti-genius) of Block King 2 ($1.00) isn’t in its basic, blocky1 looks or its limited selection of game modes; it’s in its uncanny ability to bring together groups of friends to take part in frantic, FPS-style, human-Jenga deathmatches. Said matches are usually full of obscenities, WTF moments, and plenty of human error blamed on the game, internet connections, and other imaginary obstructions2. Oh, and fun, too. There’s a lot of fun here.

Block King 2 - Screen

The premise of the game remains unchanged. You— and up to seven others online— battle for the high ground3 while simultaneously breaking apart the ground beneath you… and others, of course. While you shoot and control your avatar from the standard FPS perspective, the emphasis here is more on platforming. Your success ultimately depends on your ability to dodge and jump with as much grace as you can muster, and maybe get off a well-timed shot or two. If you can grab the lone powerup (think higher jumps, multi-shots, etc.) at the beginning of the match too, well, you’re most of the way there.

New this time around are a couple of different block types, including one that prevents you from jumping (not good when you’re in the heat of battle), and another that automatically sends you flying once you touch it. The game’s biggest change comes with the much-needed inclusion of A.I. bots that will stand in for human players while playing offline, which is extremely helpful given the lack of an online community. Such is the state of XBLIG; you’re more than likely going to  have to organize matches with friends yourself, rather than hoping to find random people playing the game.

Block King 2 - Screen2

Which you should, because Block King 2 is a hell of a lot of fun to play online. Thankfully it’s not required as it was with the first game, but that’s definitely the intended way to go (and sadly, you won’t be able to unlock new characters and skin colors unless you play online). Once again, games like Block King 2 prove you don’t need the fanciest visuals and a dozen different game modes to make a great game. All you need is a rather simple idea, some blocks, randomized chaos, and a few friends.


  1. Sorry, too easy. 
  2. Add some blatant racism and homophobic remarks to the mix, and you’d have your average online gaming experience. 
  3. The ‘high ground’ is tactically important, always. Anakin didn’t have it, and look what happened to him. Sure, you get a cool suit and the voice of James Earl Jones, but you’re giving up Natalie Portman and an actual human body with all your appendages. Seems like a steep penalty for not having the ‘high ground’, amirite? 

REVIEW: RetroBoy V1

Ah, that new console smell!— coming from a faux mobile device invented purely for the sake of shoving yet another XBLIG ‘classics collection’ down our throats, of course, but I digress. Yes, your fancy new RetroBoy V1 ($1.00) system is in fact a Game Boy brother by another mother, and yes, that means you’ll get your interactive fix in two or three splendid shades of puke-covered green. Assuming you dig your games in that color of not-so-awesome sauce.

RetroBoy V1 - Screen

RetroBoy V1 comes in one of six assorted flavors for you to try, including such ‘classics’ as Pong, Snake, and Flappy Bird1. Here, all of them play exactly as you remember, with no new twists or changes of any kind. That kind of renders the whole thing moot from the start, but it does serve as a convenient gathering of games in one place, should you be of the 1% of the gaming population that hasn’t played a version of these ‘classics’ at some point in your life.

While the requisite ‘brick breaker’ and Space Invaders types still have their easy-going, arcade-ish gameplay to fall back on, the rest of the titles somewhat show their age in comparison. Pong is drab-looking and boring against the simpleton AI, while Snake‘s antiquated dot-eater mechanic pales up against the slicker, present-day stuff like qrth-phyl.  Sucking the color out of everything to fit RetroBoy V1‘s forced aesthetic certainly doesn’t help the presentation.

RetroBoy V1 - Screen2

The odd man out in this collection is Adventure, a pseudo-RPG, pseudo-Zelda button-masher that sees you blazing through fights and leveling-up in order to face off against the four ‘bosses’ of each land (don’t get excited; the entire game is three screens long). The look of it is certainly ‘retro’, though the gameplay itself is frenetic and forgettable. You can mow through it in about five minutes.

It’s hard to fathom who the audience for this collection would be. It comes down to basic sense: I’ve played these games before, you’ve played these games before. Hundreds of times. For anyone that hasn’t2, you can find a free flash version of these titles nearly anywhere on the internet. As such, there’s little or no point in even downloading RetroBoy V1. Skip.


  1. Flappy Bird‘s status as a verified ‘classic’ is debatable, but I don’t write the news, kids, I just report it. 
  2. Get out from under your rock; the world can be an exciting place. 

REVIEW: Massive Cleavage Vs. Zombies

Massive Cleavage Vs. Zombies ($1.00)… I have to admit, I had a good chuckle at that one1. Coming from Awesome Enterprises, they of Lifeguard and Flappy Monkey fame, among others, I didn’t have particularly high expectations. You’ve got the title to start, the requisite pandering to a younger ground, the all-too-typical zombie fodder; all the familiar elements of a cash-in. It’s certain to find some kind of audience regardless of anyone’s blessing.

The game stars a blonde with massive cleavage2 and some fairly-decent ‘meat cleaver skills’ as well, on a mission to score some rare and tasty BBQ sauce3 during the zombie apocalypse. This plays out over 20+ same-ish levels, with her slicing up the undead and the living alike, anything and anyone that gets in her way. MC Vs. Z doesn’t shy away from its gratuitous violence, either, tossing in plenty of zombified children and dogs. Cute.

Gameplay is the simple arcade stuff, moving back and forth on various, single-screen ‘cityscape’ backgrouds. Enemies come at you in extended waves of so-so quasi-animation, with success coming only after you’ve survived a set amount of time. You’ve got two attacks at your disposal, a high and low swing, corresponding to the ‘height’ of the enemy that’s attacking you at that moment. That’s the extent of the game’s strategy, really, but as the pace and length of each stage increases, things do start to get busy.

It’s nothing spectacular to play, though it is buoyed somewhat by the crazy dialogue / premise, one that places our heroine(?) in one over-the-top, ridiculous situation after another. The hack n’ slash arcade levels are mixed together with these short, static cutscenes that occasionally delve into QTE, asking you to hit the right button on a timer to continue on. The cutscenes and the story itself ranges from slightly humorous to slightly-more racist to incredibly gory, liberally splashing blood and stereotypes everywhere.

Massive Cleavage Vs. Zombies - Screen

Makes The Walking Dead look tame. Also, bewbs.

All that gore might almost make you forget it’s incredibly repetitive too, though it’s serviceable, for what it’s worth. Beating the game (roughly an hour) unlocks a New Game+ of sorts, sending you through the whole thing again with sped-up QTEs / enemy attack rates, and quicker combat animations of your own. One could argue this should have been the default mode.

Something tells me no one is coming into this looking for stellar gameplay or a New Game+ of any kind, though. Yet if you can get past the massive cleavage in Massive Cleavage Vs. Zombies, you’ll find a simple concept that does just enough with its insanity, with some added challenge during your (theoretical) second time through.


  1. Hey, at least it’s truth in advertising. 
  2. Nope, no strong female lead here, I’m afraid. 
  3. No, I’m not joking. Then again, it’s supposedly the greatest BBQ sauce ever conceived. Sometimes, it’s a risk worth taking.