The Xbox Live Indie Marketplace is a land of broken games by would-be developers, complete rip-offs of other successful games, and digital STDs from the plethora of games that use sex to get you to buy their game. There are, however, a select few games that transcend this genre and shine a little bit brighter and give us some hope for the future.
Dead Pixels from CANTSTRAFERIGHT is one that I was surprised about. The game is set up to emulate the 8 bit days of yore mixed with a couple Grindhouse type effects thrown in. The story starts with you needing to run your way through 20 city blocks to get to the evacuation choppers. You can move slowly through the streets and search random buildings as you go for ammo, guns, and other random items that can be sold for money to buy worthwhile things like MORE AMMO. If you are like me, you have problems with some zombie games cause you try to kill every single guy on the screen. However, like Dead Rising and some of the older Resident Evils, you will quickly find that you have to make each shot count or you may find yourself poking zombies to death and running for your life looking for anything to protect yourself.
The visuals are charmingly simple with pixelated graphics and the old timey scratches throughout. The backdrops don’t change much however and you start to feel like you are just running down the same rotating backdrop repeatedly. The music goes from old sounding 8 bit music during the intro to some more modern hard rock to get you in the mood for blasting heads. It wasn’t a bad choice, but I personally would have loved to keep the whole old school style and stick with older 8 bit music tracks.
The controls aren’t initially as smooth as you’d expect solely due to one choice that allows you to shoot left with one button and to shoot right with another. It sounds kind of silly at first, but if you remember Smash TV, it’s a great functionality to have in a horde environment because it allows you to shoot one way while running the opposite. So early on you’ll find yourself shooting the wrong way or wasting a grenade by lobbing it the opposite direction, but you’ll quickly learn how to utilize it. Their are a wide variety of guns that you can collect in the game that have names drawn from the Resident Evil world such as the Chambers shotgun or Valentine rifle. The game also has an RPG style element to it where you can use the cash you collect to upgrade certain stats like running speed, weapons proficiency, and carrying capacity. The ramping of power behind these upgrades is quite steep however and you’ll find yourself having the worst time trying to kill zombies, run around them, to having enough life, speed, power, etc, that you are untouchable for quite a bit of the game. The levels themselves
ramp in quite the same way as well. One level will have you against a couple zombies while the next will suddenly have wave after wave rushing after you.
So the game has it’s drawbacks, but the best part is that it is only 80 Microsoft Points. That’s $1. As in, you’ve spent more on a game for your phone that you only play on the toilet. And since you can only buy MSP in bulk and end up with a small amount left over no matter the purchase, you’ll easily find yourself with enough to get this game.