Tag Archives: Arcadecraft

And ‘theXBLIG of 2013’ is…

For all the bad press, and some really terrible games, I still believe 2013 was a good year for Xbox Live Indie Games. Hell, I think 2014 will be an even better year, once it’s all said and done. That may be a little overboard optimism on my part, but stopping to consider the quality of some of the recent releases has made me revise my outlook. Narrowing this year’s batch of games down to five top-tier XBLIGs wasn’t easy. That’s why I allowed anyone to include their Write-Ins, resulting in a vote apeice for several games (probably by the developers themselves, you sly dogs), and one vote for Uproar!, which is just, seriously, not funny.

So, without further pomp, and after an exhaustive counting of all the votes on-site (92, to be exact— not very exhausting), here are the Top Five XBLIGs of 2013, as voted by You.

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5. Magicians & Looters (8 Votes)

It’s hard to imagine a Metroidvania on XBLIG currently that can hold a candle to Magicians & Looters. Excellent design and near-flawless balancing / pacing combine to compliment a humorous story. Castlevania it is not, sure, but Morgopolis Studios has crafted a solid indie alternative.

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4. Arcadecraft (11 Votes)

You will likely never own an arcade. It’s sad, but the very next best thing to that would be playing Arcadecraft. You don’t get to play the actual games, but you do get to manage what’s in your arcade and how it’ll all pan out. Look at it this way, you get all the retro bleeps and bloops, with none of the snotty kids and inevitable bankruptcy.

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3. Blood & Bacon (13 Votes)

Sometimes, you just want to shoot things and watch them explode into hundreds of tiny, bloody pieces. For the sheer joy of firing guns and watching the world turn red around you, you have Blood & Bacon. Featuring online co-op, 100 waves of enemies, epic boss fights, and a tough (but fair) challenge, it just simply satisfies.

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2. Astralis (18 Votes)

As an open-world, third-person shooter on XBLIG, Astralis could win its respective genre by default. It’s just not something you typically see on XBLIG. Not content to rest on existence alone, the game carries one of the best camera and control systems around, letting you explore and cleanse its unique alien environments with ease.

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And the winner is…

1. One Finger Death Punch (37 Votes)

Winning by a comfortable margin, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise to anyone that’s played it that Silver Dollar GamesOne Finger Death Punch wins ‘theXLBIG of 2013’ honors. Using simple controls and an even simpler objective (beat the hell out of every stick ninja that comes your way), OFDP handily checks off the most important gameplay boxes; easy to learn, difficult to master, and ridiculously fun. If you don’t own this game yet, you are missing out on one of the best on Xbox 360, period.

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‘Arcadecraft’ gets Pinball and More in Second DLC

ArcadecraftUpdate - Screen

Firebase Industries and Arcadecraft, lover of classic arcades and all things ‘Eighties’ (review), has just dropped Content Update 2, which adds a dozen new cabinets to stock your arcade with. Get the fictional kids into your fictional shop with new two-player simultaneous standups, or the much-requested (and much-delivered) Pinball machines!

Along with that ‘new arcade machine smell’, there’s been some behind the scenes work / re-balancing, to give the game and players a more randomized run each time they play, changing what order machines release in a given year and generally smoothing the edges on the entire experience. Not in this update (but still coming) is the larger arcade space and customization options that have been shown off previously. Some performance / framerate issues are to blame. For the full list of bullet points on Update 2, head over to Firebase’s official press release.

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REVIEW: Arcadecraft

The idea is almost too good to have gone untapped; the chance to build your very own arcade from the ground up during the storied ‘golden age’ of arcades. With the juggernaut that is Minecraft continuing to steamroll the free time of gamers everywhere, a combination of crafting (well, buying, with some customization) and running an arcade (in the 80s, man!) sounds mighty appealing, doesn’t it? Enter Arcadecraft (80 MSP), where you’re the boss of a coin-op empire (except you can’t actually play any of the games yourself, so don’t ask).

Not that it’s needed, as you’ll have your hands full as is. The game starts off slow, requiring a measured buildup. It’s tempting to buy the newest machines and walk the fine line, breaking even or near-even each month. Keep in mind you’ll have to pay expenses and your initial loan off after the first two years. Though you can, it’s best not to mess with an individual game’s difficulty or pricing. Doing so will likely tank your coveted ‘popularity’, and nothing is worse in life than appearing uncool. Protip: Buy both the vending machine and jukebox early, crank the prices each to $1.00, and you’re set. Zero complaints.

Soon you’ll be running a hip place the local kids will want to frequent, watching that digital coin roll in, so much so that you’ll need to hire help just to collect it all. The trick to keeping that five-star rating is in keeping your god-hand on the pulse of your arcade, making sure to continually update your game cabinets (popularity rises and wanes, kind of like how you peaked in high school) and building, splashing new paint on the walls or springing for a seasonal aesthetic (a Christmas tree, say).

It’s not all retro blips and bleeps, my friend. Running a successful business is hard work, and such is the case here. You’ll need to keep a close eye on the bottom line and react accordingly, whether it be on the human side (unruly patrons) or the mechanical (repairs mostly, though coin slots will get jammed; slamming them down repeatedly does the trick). Oh, and power outages that will happen more than you’ll like. I’m all for injecting realism into sims, but when the power goes out in your arcade, you’ll need to manually ‘pick up and place’ every cabinet to kickstart their figurative hearts, not exactly the most fun when you’ve topped out at thirty machines.

Those small business killers aside, it’s a steady and mostly uneventful trip once you settle into a routine, save for the recreated arcade crash of 1984 (no matter how well you manage, your ‘popularity’ won’t go up beyond three stars for the duration). All told, I clocked in at about five hours to see my arcade’s run up to the close of 1986. Well, technically the game ‘ends’ at the start of that year, when no new machines will be released, so the ‘end’ does feel a little stunted and anti-climatic.

Arcadecraft - Screen

Many kids’ allowances will be spent here.

That’s only a temporary setback, however, as this is a game that will continue to grow. A patch is inbound to fix some issues and smooth the flow (no more asshole kids screwing up your hard work while you’re in the menus, thank you very much), and there’s one big content update coming already (due mid-March), though more are planned to flesh out the ‘years’ (new games and events) and permit you to move into bigger and better spaces. This current version is just the beginning.

As a simulator, Arcadecraft hits nearly every note perfectly. To me, it lacks that sort of continuous fun in micro-managing that Smooth Operators had once you’ve secured financial stability, but that’s being picky and possibly unfair considering the future patchwork. In the meantime, you’re still going to lose plenty of hours to Arcadecraft, and the pursuit of leaderboard glory will occupy some time and prove its replayability, now and when the DLC hits. Go ahead and put your tokens in this machine.