Tag Archives: BigCorporation

REVIEW: BLASTEROIDS

First off, if you find you have even a passing interest in BLASTEROIDS ($1.00) before reading this review, by all means, go and download DeadKings. BLASTEROIDS is a featured minigame there (along with Checkers & Breakout), and DeadKings is an excellent game that throws in everything but the castle sink. You’ll pay the same price, and you get about 575%1 more game. No need to thank me.

BLASTEROIDS - Screen

For everyone else still here reading this, BLASTEROIDS is a stand-alone title that is… you guessed it, an Asteroids clone. It plays exactly how you remember it, and the vector graphics are as tidy (albeit simplistic) today as they were in the halcyon days of 1980s arcades. You control a triangle-shaped ship, and you are able to spin 360 degrees and thrust forward. Large asteroids lumber into view, which you then shoot, breaking them into smaller asteroids, avoiding the resulting pieces while continuing to destroy them all. Then you advance to the next round, and pad your score some more.

There are some added perks to the game, including skin-saving bombs that will destroy all tiny asteroids on-screen, or a shield that can absorb collision damage (so long as you don’t thrust straight into a big asteroid, it will take a few hits). You can also earn extra ships / bombs at different point plateaus.

While the gameplay undoubtedly was cutting edge for its time, and ate up thousands of quarters in said arcades, its brand of action isn’t nearly as addictive in modern times. That’s not Asteroids‘ fault, mind you, we’ve simply moved on to bigger experiences.  Exacerbating that problem here is the fact that BLASTEROIDS doesn’t have a online leaderboard, or even record high scores for that matter. You could argue that the game itself is the ‘reward’, but again, modern palettes may demand something more substantial.

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There’s not much else to say about the game that a flash version can’t do just the same, and nothing left to sort, save for which of the three camps you fall into. Either you have a nostalgic itch that needs scratching ( …I did. I hadn’t played Asteroids in years before this), you’ve never played Asteroids before2, or you have no interest in revisiting the umpteenth homage to a verified classic.

Whatever group you identify with, BLASTEROIDS doesn’t judge, just merely exists as a reminder that Asteroids existed before it. That reminder will cost you a dollar3.


  1. Yes, it’s a made up percentage. But so is just about every other statistic you read on the internet. And anyway, I’m not lying about the amount of content you’ll find in DeadKings. It’s seriously like a ton of stuff. Fun stuff. 
  2. Blasphemous! 
  3. Or consider your purchase a ‘Thank You’ to developer Big Corporation for the awesome DeadKings
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REVIEW: DeadKings

The game of Checkers1 is an old one, possibly the oldest. It’s rules are relatively simple; two sides, two sets. Men can make diagonal moves on the board, only going forward, while King pieces—having reached the other side of the board unscathed— have the luxury of moving diagonally in either direction. The idea is to ‘trap’ and / or ‘capture’ all of your foe’s pieces. There are good moves and bad moves2, and a fair amount of strategy involved, but generally, anyone can jump right in and play.

Ditto for DeadKings3 ($1.00), although in many ways, Checkers isn’t the game’s primary focus. As the sequel to a fan-favorite game called, appropriately enough, BloodyCheckers4, you’d kinda expect it to be. I mean, you’ll play plenty of rounds of Checkers, against the AI and / or human players. All of the parts and rule sets are there, mind you, and some not-so-official powerups, but DeadKings is also all at once a dungeon crawler, an RPG, part roguelike, and even a co-op adventure game, if you prefer to play nice with others.

Dead.Kings - Screen

To that end, you are a reincarnated knight, brought back to the entrance of a vast, extremely hazardous, and unmapped castle. Your ‘goal’ as stated is to ascend the floors of said castle, finding ways around locked doors and gates, triggering a number of devious traps and enemies, and challenging dozens of opponents (including Death Himself) to a very impolite game of Checkers5. All of this, in order to eventually level up your knight and reach max level, to open every door, and to claim the Sword of Valor for your own.

Easier said than done, natch. Though really, it’s not the ‘games’ you should be worried about. The castle itself is the real challenge, practically a living, breathing character, providing multiple ways for you to die and get lost in its labyrinthian corridors. That said, you can also thrive, once you’ve built up a small treasury of gold and earned a few abilities / items. From there (and once you’ve gained the ability to warp around the map), it’s essentially an open world. Do as you wish. Uncover some secrets, burn some bats, or troll your co-op partner and teleport him to the pits of the castle6.

Whatever happens, it’s important to keep your light handy. As in the original game, your candle is basically life itself. Should your flame be snuffed out, you are in a world of trouble. Besides the obvious result of being left in the dark, you cannot open chests, doors, or enter paintings (how you start Checkers matches, buy certain powerups, etc.) without it. Later in the game, this is potentially less of an issue, but in the early going, you’ll have to be on guard.

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Given that mechanic, the maze-like floors, and the shifting nature of its hazards (DeadKings has its own version of Lost‘s Smoke Monster), the sheer scope of the castle can sometimes be intimidating. The game is built with co-op in mind, which should cut down on any frustrations you may have. Although, as is the case with other games this size, a few bugs still exist in the current form. Fixes are inbound, but none really detract from the overall experience.

Thankfully, the game keeps you too busy and too entertained to notice. Play some Checkers (or don’t), solve the castle’s various mysteries, adventure with— or against— a friend, and, perhaps most importantly, continue to explore. Even then, you’ll likely never run out of things to do. After five-plus hours, I’ve only scratched its surface7. And that’s a very good thing. However you choose to play, and whatever endeavor you wish to focus on, DeadKings— and its expansive castle— gives you plenty of excellent options.


  1. Checkers is my game, and really, my only game. Although I was taught the basics on a couple of occasions, I still to this day can not sit down and play a game of Chess. My simple mind just doesn’t know it. Mock me if you’d like. I deserve it. 
  2. And if you should need some refreshment of the rules or wish to learn some new strategies, DeadKings offers plenty of lessons. Educates as much as it entertains, if you will. 
  3. This review is also featured at Indiepitome
  4. An admission: the game was released before my time reviewing XBLIGs, and therefore, I have not played it to any great degree. Again, mock me if you’d like. I deserve it. 
  5. If you so desire; a forthcoming update will add a few minigames to spice up the match-playing, and you can always bypass the Checkers games entirely (see ‘RageQuit’). 
  6. A sarcastic ‘Thanks!’ to GNAWMAN for that. 
  7. Only 25% completed, and I’m Level 18. Seems there’s a lot of castle still to discover. 

‘Dead Kings’ is Sequel to ‘BloodyCheckers’; Coming Soon

BloodyCheckers and Blood & Bacon (Review) developer BigCorporation is putting the finishing touches on their next project, Dead Kings. The game is a sequel to the beloved castle-crawling, checkers-playing original, featuring a larger castle to explore (six floors), and full co-op support, allowing you to uncover and pillage the castle’s treasures with a friend.

The above trailer doesn’t show off any gameplay whatsoever, but it’s still worth a watch if you’re curious about the work (and some Easter Eggs) going into the game. Only a select few developers could make watching three minutes of menus interesting.

If you want to keep tabs on the game’s development, you can ‘like’ Dead Kingsbrand new Facebook page here.

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Dead Kings - Screen

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Big Thanks to astute reader ‘Soosh’ for pointing out the info to me. I am a terrible journalist. 

REVIEW: Blood & Bacon

First-person shooters are suffering a crisis. Where once XBLIG was happy to see a FPS, going so far as to forgive bad design or controls just for the sake of playing one, now the problem is over-saturation. Too many trying to copy too much, bouncing from military shooter to zombie wave shooter. Too many falling short of the accepted norm, skimping on content or releasing unpolished messes. Too many recycled ideas and endless pseudo-sequels. Then, like a blood-red bacon… ahem, beacon, of hope, enter Blood & Bacon (240 MSP).

This game is an antibiotic for what ails indie FPSes. No half-baked concoction, no stiff controls, no detrimentally-repetitive waves, and perhaps most importantly, no zombies. Well, no traditional zombies. Instead it’s undead livestock, refreshing enough to feel different, and dead enough not to upset animal rights groups. Yes, it’s a wave shooter (with a 100+ ‘Days’ to fight through), but only in name and format. Trust me, you haven’t played a wave shooter like this.

Nor have you seen this much blood. When the screen gets busy (and it will, with you versus hundreds of enemies possible), so does the exploding viscera. Blood & Bacon is on a liquid-only diet, the self-professed bloodiest game on Xbox Live. It’s hard to argue against that boast. It helps that the weaponry on tap is geared towards said carnage, running from the typical shotgun and rifles to an uzi, grenades, and one very ‘effective’ gun that you earn later on that is best saved for larger crowds.

Rounds and the roster of baddies start off simple, and gradually increase in number and challenge. Enemy types shuffle in and out, never quite the same combination, continually changing the approach and challenging you to mix tactics. Powerups to boost your speed and / or killing potential, as well as ammo and self-revives, prove to be invaluable. By the time you reach the first multi-phased boss, and the even sinister-er Princess Blubbergut (…the experience is memorable, and defies explanation), you’ll have left Easy Street behind and wandered into a rural quagmire, no one there to hold your hand.

Well, save for the online co-op, which is where Blood & Bacon reaches its fullest, Left 4 Dead-est potential. Teamwork here is not a suggestion but a necessity, working together to lead and dispatch tougher, armored foes, and tackle the higher levels. Careful management of the health pumps and keeping your partner standing takes precedence. Victory is not handed over lightly, but the sheer satisfaction that comes from beating a particularly tough wave or exhausting boss fight, alone or with a friend, far outweighs the struggle.

Blood & Bacon - Screen

Definitely not for the squeamish.

That hard-fought progress is what keeps you coming back, complimented by the smaller things that build the larger whole; story elements, the excellent voicework and soundtrack, controls / camerawork, and plenty of interesting (and well hidden) easter eggs to be found. Simply stated, there’s nothing here that upsets or feels unfinished, and any faults you may find will be temporary. With the promise of patches and free DLC support (a new map, enemies, have been mentioned) for many months down the road, you can rest easy knowing the game will be updated and expanded upon.

When it’s all said and done, Blood & Bacon stands as nothing less than the resurrection of the wave shooter, all pork and no gristle, full of the exacting attention and care you don’t typically see in indie development. It’s even more impressive to say that after several hours of playtime, I still haven’t had my fill of things to do or see. The game brings with it a new look to the first-person genre on the indie channel, making more than good on great expectations and raising the bar for other developers. An absolute must play.

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EDIT 9/1: A ‘lite’ version of the game, re-titled B&B Fatfree, has been released for $1. Comprising the first ’50 days’ (of the full 100) of the game, it still contains all of the greatness I stated above.

All You Need in Life is ‘Blood and Bacon’

Warning: Lots of flashy goodness.

BloodyCheckers developer BigCorporation / Kilroyfx has been teasing a first-person shooter for a while now, and that FPS was recently revealed to be the ridiculously over-the-top (in a good way), undead farm animal shooter Blood and Bacon. An XBLIG-exclusive, the game looks to spruce up the typical wave shooting trappings, boasting hundreds of livestock in a round, miniboss / boss fights, and several weapons to do your slaughtering with. Perhaps more importantly, you’ll be able to tackle the waves with a friend. Online co-op is supported.

Gameplay appears to be fast and fluid, emphasis on fluid, as Blood and Bacon is the self-anointed bloodiest game on Xbox Live Indie Games. That speed, and some elements of the HUD, give it a Left 4 Dead taste, which is certainly a welcome comparison. The good news? You’ll be able to judge that pedigree for yourself soon enough.

Blood and Bacon is eyeing a late July / early August release, and will cost 240 MSP. For updates, you can follow the official Facebook page.

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Blood and Bacon - Screen

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