Platform: Xbox LIVE Indie Games, Xbox 360
Publisher: Orbital Games
Price: 80 Microsoft Points
Snake is one of the first popular arcade games released in the 1970s and found a home console release on the Atari 2600 in 1977. The game has taken on many variations throughout the years, and now Orbital Games has released its updated version for the Xbox LIVE Indie Game known as Octopede.
The first thing that hits you in this game is an awesome soundtrack, which is very reminiscent of 8-bit titles of yesteryear. The game simply starts up, and gives you a very in-depth tutorial of the game mechanics. It is a very deep game, and it seems to overwhelm you right off the gate with a lot of information. It’s a good thing that the game offers the tutorial, but I would have liked to have seen a gradual increase of tips rather that a rapid-fire assault of all the mechanics. The first few times you play, it is very hard to remember and decipher what all the small items on the screen are and what you are actually trying to accomplish.
The goal of the game is to basically create a “tail”, and the longer the tail the higher your score will be. You increase your size by collecting “bytes”, which are represented by green dots on the screen. The red dots on your screen are trying to destroy your tail and steal your “bytes”, thus decreasing your tail and score. Shooting these gives you points and more room to nagivate your map. There are several weapon power ups too, such as nukes and missiles. As you progress, the game builds walls around you that you can blast through or navigate around.
Orbital Games does have a very solid graphical engine for Octopede, with a very vibrant and dynamic design. Although simple, everything flows well, and there are some nice special effects. The music really stands out in my opinion, and even though it is just one song, it is probably my favorite thing about the game. The control is serviceable, but I recommend the d-pad to the control stick as it doesn’t feel as fluid.
The main flaw with this game is the lack of an online leader board system, which really detracts from the game. Considering it is a Xbox LIVE Indie Game, and you have to be online to play it, it doesn’t make much sense as to why this was omitted. Scores are stored locally however. It may not be a perfect game, and the control could be slightly better, but this is a solid take on the Snake puzzle genre that is worth the asking price, as long as you don’t care about online leader boards.
+ Crisp Graphics
+ Excellent music
+ Interesting twist on the Snake game format
- Controls are a little stiff
- Overwhelming at first
- No online leaderboards