The Xbox Live Indie Games Winter Uprising has begun and is already proving that there really are quality games available on the cheap.
The previously reported Xbox Live Indie Games Winter Uprising has gotten underway, and it started strong with the release of Epic Dungeon for just 80 Microsoft Points ($1). The real-time roguelike is definitely worth the price of entry and was a great way to kick off the promotion.
Epic Dungeon sends players into a 50-level randomly-generated dungeon to kill monsters and find loot. Sounds great so far, right? You'll choose one of four classes which each start with a unique skill, such as a freeze or poison attack, but as you level up you'll be able to acquire the other classes' abilities too. Everything about the game screams roguelike other than the real-time movement of monsters, but the factor of permanent death is making me consider this nothing but a game in the challenging RPG sub-genre.
That's right, when you die in Epic Dungeon, you're dead for good. You can't turn this off (to my knowledge), and maybe I'm a masochist because I didn't want to. You'll just have to live with the fact that a poor decision will make you start over, though a chest with one single item collected in a previous game will be available on a replay.
Players don't just run around slashing spiders and witches, you'll also encounter spots that feature "quests." These quests are basically multiple choice decisions that lead to various outcomes, but they're very well done and sometimes hilarious. For example, in one quest I cut off my toe for a witch that was creating a brew, reducing my stats but earning me two valuable potions. I could have offered her my hair instead, but the toe wasn't that important to me.
As I was enchanting my equipment and hoping to save up enough money to buy a new amulet or weapon at the goblin shop, I remembered that I only paid a single dollar for Epic Dungeon and was amazed. Say what you want about Microsoft, but it's really created a great portal in Xbox Live Indie Games that allows anyone to jump in and develop a quality game that can be released to the world. Sadly, many Xbox Live Indie Games are total pieces of garbage, but it's looking like if you stick to the titles featured in the Winter Uprising, and other highly rated titles, you'll get a lot of bang for your buck.
I'm personally looking forward to Zeboyd Games' retro RPG followup to Breath of Death VII, Cthulhu Saves the World, but two other games have already been released in the Uprising: Hypership Out of Control and shooter Break Limit, each also just $1. The Uprising's trailer is below, featuring footage of all the upcoming games to be available over the first week of December, save for any unexpected delays, and the promotion's website is here.