Category Archives: News

Thanks For Everything, XBLIG!

Today marks the end of an era. Today is the day we say goodbye to Xbox Live Indie Games. In a certain sense of the word (see below for an update!).

Today is the last day to purchase any XBLIGs on the marketplace. After that, you can still download and / or play any game that you own. For now. What happens beyond that, and when the Xbox 360 itself is retired, is still up in the air, though there is plenty of promising stuff happening on the preservation front.

Of course, all of this has been known for some time. Two years, in fact. And for about a year before that, general interest in the service and its games had fallen off considerably. Many developers have long since moved on to other endeavors, and many of us that used to play the games and new releases quasi-religiously have also done the same. Still, it’s important to note this date in your own personal history calendar and remember an indie game service that was instrumental in paving the way for all the indie games we currently enjoy. It will not be forgotten.

This site (not a blog!) here played a small role by reviewing a portion of those indie games, covering some the greatest successes on the marketplace, and, unfortunately, some of the worst of the worst on the service (read: the other 70% of the reviews posted here; I’m only partially kidding when I say that). More importantly, though, it became something other than just a review site; it became a gathering place for gamers excited about indie games, a small corner of the internet some came to talk about them, to share their own thoughts, and to hang out and chat with others. Real friends were made here. And that, even more than the games themselves, is what I’ll remember.

So, personal review opinions (and a few tears) aside, I want this to be my final ‘Thank You’ to XBLIG in general, and to all the developers, gamers, and readers (that’d be you reading this) who made all of this possible. I won’t forget that, I can’t ever forget that, and I hope you enjoyed this place as much as I did.

With Love,

Tim


UPDATE (9/29): Well, so much for an emotional article and fond farewell! Today is not the end, it seems, as the official shutdown date has been pushed back to October 7th. So… yeah, it’s still sad, just not for another week. Save all your emotions and tears for that date, and go ahead and check out some more games! 😉

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A Fitting Tribute to XBLIG

Earlier this month, Microsoft quietly announced the end date for XNA and Xbox Live Indie Games (XBLIG). Starting from September 9 of this year, no new XNA memberships are being sold or renewed. Developers with current subscriptions now have exactly one year to create and release games on the service. After September 9, 2016, no new games will be allowed to release on XBLIG. At this point, you better start buying whatever games you may have missed out on. One year after that, in September 2017, the marketplace will be closed forever, with developers being given final payouts soon after. It’s important to note that you will be able to re-download any XBLIGs you’ve bought before that date, and continue to play them.

For anyone that follows XBLIG in any form, be it player and / or developer, the news was difficult to hear, albeit wholly expected. The indie service, the first to offer literally anyone the ability to create and publish a game on a major home console, has admittedly been winding down for the past year. Fewer and fewer titles are being released under the XBLIG banner, and the service itself has been plagued by a series of extended, damaging outages, resulting in a number of delays and issues for developers. As a result, most developers have written off XBLIG entirely, moving their projects over to PC and / or other avenues, or canceling them outright.

While there will undoubtedly be plenty of time later to debate what went right and what went wrong with XBLIG, the good folks behind Indie Games Uprising, a once-annual promotion of new XBLIG games, have just unveiled a tribute to the service. This tribute highlights developers that got their start with XNA and XBLIG, showcasing their newest (or forthcoming) games while offering a nostalgic glimpse back at some of their earlier projects on the Xbox indie channel. The full list of games and developers can be found at the link above, but the tribute page itself is a fitting monument to the oft-overlooked successes and good times that XNA / XBLIG helped foster. Whether you are a grizzled veteran or a casual observer, you owe it to yourself to play these great games before they’re gone and remember what XBLIG has meant to you.

‘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! 

‘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. 

‘Loot Or Die’ Seems Interesting, and Very Literal

It saddens me to say this, but there is less and less to get excited about on XBLIG these days, insofar as upcoming games that are still coming to the service. Loot Or Die, from ubiquitous developer Chris Antoni, is looking to break that dry cycle.

Coined as a sort of twin-stick / RPG shooter— with drop-in co-op— the game sees you battling aliens and other creatures on a number of different planets. Strategy and depth come into play with the gear and weapons you collect in each stage, ranging from common items to more epic armor and weapons that will increase your stats. The novel ‘ring’ system gives you additional perks to choose from, such as double damage, or allowing you to warp ahead of enemies and / or beyond hazards. True to the game’s name, you’ll have to find better equipment if you hope to survive from planet to planet.

Currently on Day 17 (of an unknown total), the game is shaping up well. Rather than subscribing to the speedier development cycle that his previous releases have seen, the developer is taking his time with this one, polishing the gameplay / mechanics. That added attention to detail should pay off when Loot Or Die is eventually released.


You can follow developer Chris Antoni on Twitter, and keep up with the game’s progress on YouTube.