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Review: Kivi’s Underworld December 29, 2008

Posted by Jesse in : Game Reviews , comments closed

Game: Kivi’s Underworld
Developer: Soldak Entertainment
Version: Full version
Platform: Windows, also available for Mac OSX

Kivi’s Underworld is a hack ‘n’ slash game from the creators of Depths of Peril. If you’re a fan of PC role playing games, Kivi’s may immediately remind you of Diablo or Icewind Dale. But after playing for a little while, you’re going to realize that you’re playing something different. Where are my experience points? How do I change my armor? Where is my spellbook? Nowhere! This is a different experience, and it’s really refreshing.

Instead of controlling a single character that you spend hours tweaking and equipping, Kivi’s is built around unlocking lots of unique characters that each play differently. Switching to a new character can completely change the way you play a level, and you’ll need to play each level again to fully experience everything. Upon completing a level, you earn points based on your performance. These points can be used to upgrade your stats that effect all of your characters at once.

The combat system is simple, but includes plenty of strategy. Each character has a unique activated ability, and a special passive ability. Additionally, you will find special powerup items around the levels that can be used to give your characters temporary boosts, replenish health, or attack enemies. Even early in the game, combat is fast and furious. Saving your powerups until you need them, and conserving your mana until need your special abilities is crucial to success.

The game has a great presentation. Screenshots do not do the game justice, because they’ve done a really good job with character animations and particle effects here. (Check out the Youtube video below.) The default graphical settings are tweaked low so that the game will run on a large range of computers, so make sure you increase the resolution and turn on the effects. The sound effects and music are excellent too. My favorite thing is the voiceover while tells the story between levels. We need more voice acting in PC games!

I’m really happy with Kivi’s Underworld. I’m impressed with what Soldak has managed to put together in such a short time period. This is a great game, and an excellent value. Grab the demo now!

Top 10 Xbox Live Community Games

Posted by Jesse in : Game Reviews , 4 comments

It’s the end of the year, and that means top ten lists of all sorts of things are popping up everywhere.  In that spirit, here’s my list of the top ten XBLCG games released so far.

  1. Blow
  2. Blow is a puzzle game that reminds me of games like Lemmings, The Incredible Machine, or Eets.  It’s one of the best games I’ve played this year, and if you like puzzle games and own an Xbox 360, it deserves your immediate attention.

  3. Johnny Platform’s Biscuit Romp
  4. As you might know by now, I’m very partial to platformers.  JPBR is a single screen platformer, with a total of fifty-five levels.  That’s quite alot of gameplay for two hundred Microsoft Points.  I thoroughly enjoyed the game and hope that the creator gives us a sequel.

  5. Biology Battle
  6. This game draws alot of comparisons to Geometry Wars, and rightly so.  Biology Battle is a very high quality dual-stick shooter that is alot of fun to play.  It has high quality visuals, great audio, and a nice sense of humor.  While the game is fun in single player, it truly shines in multiplayer.

  7. Word Soup
  8. While I’m not normally a big fan of word games, this game has easily earned a spot on my list.  My wife and I have spent many hours passing a controller back and forth trying to beat each others score.  (She wins most of the time.)

  9. CarneyVale Showtime
  10. Here’s the big winner of this years Dream Build Play competition.  As soon as you fire it up, you’ll notice that it is polished to a glow.  The creators have paid alot of attention to the details here, and it really shows.  I’m surprised this one didn’t get picked up for release as an Xbox Live Arcade title.

  11. Ultratron
  12. I’m a big fan of the titles from Puppygames.  This is a port of their game of the same name.  Just like the original, it’s a great game and having access to the Xbox 360 controller only makes the game even better.

  13. Duotrix
  14. Here we have a falling blocks based puzzle game where you have to control two play areas at the same time.  As you might imagine, this can become pretty intense, pretty quickly.  Add in powerups and powerdowns, and you have a very interesting game.  Watch out for that mystery powerup!

  15. Artoon
  16. Artoon is a platformer that is sort of a modern reimagining of Q-Bert.  You control Art, and he is constantly bouncing, and you need to control him to make him bounce on platforms in the correct order and the correct number of times to keep your score multiplier going.  Each world has a different visual presentation, and makes the game feel like you are playing through different pieces of digital artwork.

  17. Classicard
  18. I really like playing spades and hearts. I’m not terribly good at either, but they’re fun. Classicard has both of those, plus euchre, knockout, and some other games I’ve never heard of. It’s a very solid single player game, but even better it includes up to four player gaming on Xbox Live. This is very well made and an incredible value.

  19. Bloc
  20. Everything I wrote about Bloc in my review is still true.  It’s a good game.  A recent update from the creators have made the game even better.