Indie Winter Uprising Feature: Epic Dungeon, Ubergridder, Asteroids Do Concern Me


Epic Dungeon
Genre: Hack-n-Slash
Developer: Eyehook Games
Price: 80 MS points ($1)

I wasn’t sure what to expect out of Epic Dungeon when I downloaded it. I had heard it was a roguelike dungeon crawl, which while it may have certainly been inspired by such, this is not the entirely the case. If anything, the game reminds me somewhat of flow. Now I know you are thinking I must be drunk to compare a dungeon crawler to flow, and I might be, but give me a minute to explain. In Epic Dungeon you choose your character then make your way through different levels of different dungeons. There’s no attack button, you get near an enemy and you point the joystick in the direction of the enemy and the character auto-attacks. You have buttons assigned for different skills to use, that once used start a timer before you can use them again. The right trigger is assigned to drink health potions, left to interact with things and the bumpers are used once you’ve gained enough experience to level up.

The game is roguelike because you get one life. That’s it. You die, you start over again. Plus the random dungeons, needing to use identify scrolls for loot, and so on. The game is not turn based however and doesn’t hate you like most Rogue style games. You hack and slash through so many witches and spiders that you start wondering who the bad guys is (I mean it’s not like the Witches broke into your home and started slaughtering everyone you know) but the action finds a rhythm that, at least for me, strikes a perfect balance between too difficult and too easy. The time I’ve spent with it almost felt like a meditative trance, which is where I draw the flow comparison from. There aren’t many games of this type that find that balance of loot, maim, kill, potion, level, loot, maim, kill, etc, but Epic Dungeon sets a pace that is comfortable for casual players that should also satisfy the masochistic old school dungeon crawling fans.

Add to the there is a lot of little humor to be found in random events in the game and you’ve got a game that’s a lot of fun for just a dollar. The simple graphics might be a turn off for some players, but it works for the game and more importantly when playing it’s obvious that the person who created it has a good understanding of the mechanics that make a game like this enjoyable to play.

Recommendation: Buy


Ubergridder
Genre: What genre is Pac-Man in? That one.
Developer: BadgerPunch Games
Price: 80 MS Points ($1)

Our website has also reviewed the game separately right here. Consider this a different opinion on the game from someone who also thinks it is similar to Pac-Man (not a clone, there is a difference), but who doesn’t think the only thing missing from the game is the fact that it isn’t Pac-Man.

This is the kind of game that’s perfect for anyone who hasn’t had enough of Wall-E, or if you’re older, Johnny-Five. The game stars a robot that looks a lot like either of the aforementioned androids, the difference being Wall-E was a trash bot, Johnny-Five was meant for the military, and Ubergridder’s robot, Robert, is repair bot. Robert is in deep space when some tentacle aliens attack his ship, or if the Japanese are to be believed they might just be attempting to make love to the ship. Robert has to fix the damage over several stages.

This is done through grids, as the name of the game suggests. The different levels are layouts of different grids. You guides Robert across the grids attempting to trace all four sides of smaller boxes within the grid. This repairs ship panels. The only problem is that there are also tentacle aliens who wish to make sweet love to Robert as well. He doesn’t swing that way and has to repair the ship all while avoiding tentacle rape. It’s an easy situation to sympathize with, I’m sure we’ve all been there before.

So you complete squares which fixes panels while avoiding the aliens. Once all the boxes in a grid are fixed you move to the next grid/part of the space ship. At this point the grids become broken up in different ways, and as you progress the speed of the game picks up. Robert does have alien chow he can throw out to distract the aliens, but it only delays them for a moment.

While it is only vaguely similar the best way I can describe the game is to say it is like Pacman. You have to run around the grid while avoiding the aliens. It’s simple and at first I wasn’t that impressed but I got hooked on trying to beat my own score. Speaking of, the high score list is local scores only and it would’ve been better to have an online high score list if possible as I found that trying to beat the default scores was what really kept me going. Also the aliens have some slight pathing issues, making it easy for them to get stuck in levels where the grid is broken up, something that didn’t have a large impact on the game but made me wonder why the alien was dry humping that part of the grid.

I’d still like to know why the developer wants to punch Badgers.

Recommendation: At least try the demo


Asteroids Do Concern Me
Genre: If you want to stretch things, Space Flight
Developer: Evil Robot Logic
Price: 80 MS Points ($1)

Here we go with one of my least favorite of the Winter Uprising games so far, though it says a lot about these games when I’ve still been enjoying it. Asteroids Do Concern Me is a sidescrolling game where you control a spaceship, you press the A button to raise the ship, you let it go to have it descend. Asteroids appear on the screen and you have to avoid hitting them while trying to get the maximum distance possible. There are glowing orbs that increase speed, and multiple difficulty levels that have different speeds from the start. There are also different graphical filters you can apply, like the Double Rainbow filter that turns the whole screen into something that looks like the imagination of a four year old girl, where all the asteroids are cherubs or unicorns.

There’s a good sense of humor with the game, with multiple sayings that pop up when you die to insult you and the different visual filters, but throughout my experience with it I couldn’t help but feel that the game wasn’t much different than a bunch of free flash games I’ve played online. If you play the demo you have pretty much experienced all the game has to offer. Hell, buying the game seems to mostly unlock more ways for the game to insult you for dying. I don’t mind simple, addictive experiences, but replace the spaceship with a helicopter and I’ve played something a lot like this before, for free.

Recommendation: Avoid (try the demo if you’re curious)

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