Tag Archives: video games

Year Four of theXBLIG

Today marks four years(!) that theXBLIG has been online. Things have been slow, with gaps in-between posts (mostly my fault, partly due to a lack of releases), but the site is still going. That has to count for something, and I am damn proud to be able to say that much. Unfortunately, these ‘birthday’ celebrations have taken on an air of solemnity the past two years, as the Xbox Live Indie Games service has wound down and been given its official ‘sunsetting’ countdown (fast approaching its September 9th sell-by deadline, by the way).

It’s a sad event to have on your calendar, but as I’m often told by people with smiles too big to be natural, ‘all good things must come to an end’. Just as XBLIG will soon reach its conclusion, so too must ‘theXBLIG’. Time marches on. It’s a natural progression. It’s not all going to end in tears, of course. Indie developers have multiple avenues for publishing their games now, and the pastures beyond XBLIG are undeniably greener. If nothing else, XBLIG can stand proud knowing that it was the ‘starting off point’ for dozens of indie game careers, and maybe even the first time any of us had heard of or played ‘indie games’. Its place in history is secure.

As for theXBLIG, I will finish out reviewing new games as they come. I promised you that much, and I promised myself the same. After that, I have plans to do a limited run of must-play XBLIG games, probably starting at the end of the year and running through the first part of 2017. I’m not sure of the format, but with no new games to write about, that will probably be my personal ‘send off’ to the service, and the site. This should give anyone looking for a few good games to play before the final shutdown a short list to go by.

Regardless of the inexorable future, I want to once again thank each and every one of you for visiting this site. Whether you’ve been coming here for years, or just once in a great while to check for free codes, whether you’ve left a comment or just lurked in the shadows, it’s been an absolute pleasure for me to play these videogames and write about them for you. So, Thank You.

With much love and much(er) appreciation,

Tim

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Year Three of theXBLIG

Whoa… Three years online for theXBLIG… I mean, that’s…

Oh, right. It’s been awhile since I’ve written something down here. Excuse me for a moment while I dust off the articles and clear out the cobwebs from the corners of this site.

(clears throat) Ahem. Okay, that’s better.

Wow, three years of reviewing XBLIGs on this very page. Er… pages. I never thought I’d get this far. I know it’s not an eternity by any means, but it’s still a good chunk of time, particularly in internet-time, where sites rise and fall on a daily basis. Over that span, the site has amassed over 315,000+ views and published almost 400 reviews and articles, spawning 5,100+ comments and countless discussions that were only slightly-related to videogames.

To me, that’s an incredible thing. Not because I sometimes have a short attention span and a tendency to move onto different things before I finish the first, or because I feel like congratulating myself1, but rather because in those three years, the service known as ‘Xbox Live Indie Games’ (or as ‘XBLIG’ to its close friends) has provided us with so many great games2 and proved to be such an amazing experience for myself and plenty of others.

That experience hasn’t come without its share of downsides, of course. There’s been no shortage of duds to suffer through, and it’s no secret and no mystery that XBLIG isn’t what it once was. At this point, new releases of any quality are a luxury, and the future of the service (and this site) is anything but guaranteed. I can’t make any promises either, but I know I’ll be around until the very end.

That said, there’s always the very real chance I won’t get another online ‘birthday’ to celebrate, so I might as well offer up a huge ‘thank you’ to all my fellow indie journalistic types, to the great indie developers I’ve been privileged to meet and chat with, and, last and certainly not least, all of YOU guys for stopping by and willingly subjecting yourselves to my brand of rambling. Keep playing games, everyone, and thanks again for three fantastic years!

With much love and appreciation,

Tim

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  1. Well, maybe a little. Yay! 
  2. There’s occasionally-updated leaderboards for that. 

‘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! 

‘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.

‘Dead War’ Features Zombies, Guns, Tactics

Two out of those three features guarantees a certain amount of success on XBLIG, so adding some actual ‘thinking’ to the mix is a welcome bonus! Above is a playthrough from the first chapter of Dead War, developer Bandana Games’ upcoming squad shooter.

Due to be executed that day, a death row inmate instead finds herself in the middle of a zombie… incident. How convenient! The good news is (well, aside from being ‘not dead’), you’ll get to mow down plenty of undead as you search for answers and try to curb the outbreak. You’ll do this on your own during some stretches, while at other times, you can recruit others— and their firepower— to help you.

Thankfully, the game looks to break up some of the ‘shooter monotony’ by giving you plenty of objectives (both optional and story-based) to tackle. Between that and the potential for some tactical firefights, Dead War just might convince the world it needs another game about zombies.

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Dead War is simply ‘coming soon’ to Xbox Live Indie Games. You can follow the developer on Twitter here, or keep an eye on the development blog here.