Review: XBLIG: Felix: Tale of the Night

This review originally appeared on XBLARatings.com.
Beat’em Ups from the 1990’s were one of my favorite genres of games. I couldn’t get enough Final Fight in my life, and when Double Dragon’s Billy and Jimmy came together with the Battletoads, I knew nothing else in my life would come close to that moment.

Felix: Tale of the Night (or “Felix Fox” as the game’s artwork suggests), has grounded itself in the classic beat’em up style. Jump attacks, quick attacks, hard attacks, and even some blocking maneuvers are put to work in a great mixture of 2D and 3D platforming.

The game plays like your traditional left-to-right side scroller, but will have some elements where you run toward or away from the camera. These moments, unfortunately, aren’t often obvious and you’re left staring at wall wondering where to go next.

In the brawler classics, if you stood still for too long, a large arrow would traditionally pop up overhead, advising you to move forward! Felix Fox, meanwhile, left me to guess. No hints or arrows ever appeared. To make matters worse? Some of the level progression involved a skill you didn’t know you had.

Felix can wall jump, this is made evident if you take part in the tutorial. And, unlike many games that feature such a move, Felix: Tale of the Night actually pulls of wall jumps very well. They are crisp and easy to execute. However – Felix can climb trees. Evidently we’re supposed to know that, because shortly in to the first level, you’re left staring at a wall too high to climb, and no other walls to jump off of. A simple sign-post in the background and a “press Y to read” prompt may have even been enough to suffice, but the frustration and embarrassment that quickly sets in as you stare at a wall is undeniable. Add to this random “quick time events” (when will they go away?) and you can see where some of the frustrations begin.

Additionally, we’re evidently supposed to realize that the large stump an enemy held was able to be used as a stepping stone and that we would be climbing in to the third dimention – after clmbing trees and walls, realizing I was supposed to press “up” on my controller took me a moment.

My final complaint is due to a lack of checkpoints. The game is not overly difficult, and your health bar seems to last for quite a while, but if you make it to the boss of that first level and die? Well, you have a solid ten minute journy ahead of you – with no stim-packs, health vials, or pinecones to replenish your health along the way.

Still, despite all of that, the game is down right fun. Mashing a few buttons and flipping a bear over your head, ala Ryu’s “kick” throw in Street Fighter, is a blast. Catching a baddie in a fury of punches and finishing him off with a spin kick is just as satisfying as it was in any classic street brawling game, and the classic side scrolling action at a faster more modern pace is a rush.

I don’t see a reason for the setting or the characters, I think the game would be just as fun if human beings were duking it out on the mean streets of some “megalopolis.” The game’s score would suffer more from this 1990’s cutesy animal throw back, but I genuinely see past it and enjoy the different types of enemies and beating them up as they come my way.

Worth noting: 1) skip as much dialogue as fast as possible. Not that it’s poorly written, to the contrary: you may quietly chuckle to yourself just playing the tutorial. But the sound effects selected for printing dialogue on the screen was an unforgivable detractor.
2) There are some odd graphical “hitches” that seem to slow down the game for a fraction of a second when you’re running too fast. It takes away from the otherwise liquid-like gameplay.

Games I had no idea were on Xbox Live


Perhaps I have, indeed, been living under rocks, or working my “real world” job too much, or too worried about my backlog of games, but just for a fun weekend update, I thought I would write up a list of several games (mostly recent) that I had NO IDEA were on Xbox Live Arcade.

I’m not necessarily saying I like this games, just that I had no idea that existed for us Xbox Live users! In some cases, I know so little about them, I’ll be checking out demos in the near future, and I encourage you to do the same, if a title is new to you! It’s worth noting that none of the games listed below are Xbox Live Indie Games, even if they sound like it – so you should expect to be rewarded with gamerscore if you play these!

MLB Stickball
Sonic & Knuckles
Domino Master
Ms. Pac-Man
Aqua
Ben 10 The Rise of the Hex
Gin Rummy
Minesweeper Flags
Puzzle Arcade
Phantasy Star II
Super Contra
Rainbow Islands Towering Adventure

Backorder Bonus: Win Gears of War 2 Flashback Map Pack!

When Gears of War 2 launched, the pre-order hungry gamers got a few extra multiplayer maps for free. The maps were then released on the Xbox Live Marketplace for 400 MSPoints. The map pack included five maps for an astonishingly reasonable price. Some people hated the idea that they were just “remake” maps, but Epic recognized that and made the maps essentially $1 each. The remade levels from Gears of War 1 multiplayer in this map pack are: Gridlock, Subway, Canals, Mansion, and Tyro Station.

Maybe you didn’t pre-order your game, maybe you bought the game used, and maybe you just have no intention of paying for old maps! Either way, if you still don’t have this map pack and you’re interested, here’s your chance!

All you have to do is leave a comment on this thread between now and 12:00 NOON EDT on Friday, April 9th. A comment will be chosen at random and then sent a code. If you leave your gamertag, I can easily send you the code over Xbox Live. If you do not leave a gamertag, I will only be able to contact you if you are a registered user of WinBreak.com.

Four Xbox Live Indie Games reviews

After looking closely at the site XBLA Ratings, I thought how very useful it could be for future players and people new to Xbox Live. I encourage anyone who hasn’t seen the site to check it out, and contribute to it, as I have.

That’s right, I took the time, today, to write up a few things that I had been considering doing write ups on for my own site, and contributing them to theirs. I believe what they’re doing is worth while, and though I may not be any huge name in the industry or anything, I just wanted to put my support behind them. I have contributed four reviews for various Xbox Live Indie games, in an attempt to bring more attention to a unique service that Xbox Live offers, and to help out some of those independant developers. Check each one out below:

Colosseum, Review.

Felix: Tale of the Night, Review.

Neo Terra, Review.

Streets of Fury, Review.

UPDATE: Weird ODST Content BACK on the Marketplace!

The picture above was discovered months ago by the folks at Joystiq. These thigns were wiped from the Marketplace a long while ago. But I figured, with the game launching

    soon, they might just reappear. And sure enough, yesterday, they did.

    Everyone paying attention to ODST knows that Sgt. Johnson will be available to players in Firefight Mode as a bonus download for preordering. Haven’t preordered the game? Want Sgt. Johnson? Rich? Go ahead, try and download him! “Something Special” – when plugged in to everyone’s favorite search engine, reveals that the “Something Special” DLC is actually none other than Sgt. Johnson – now for the remarkably low price of 99999 . “EN Dolphin Data” has made a triumphant return to the Marketplace, as well, though attempts to download it fail repeatedly. This one is still a mystery.

    It should be noted that these items do not show up with the rest of the game’s Marketplace Content.

    UPDATE 1: Something popped in to my head today. Will still can’t verify exactly what “EN Dolphin Data” was – but in the recent Bungie Day ’09 Podcast, someone (I don’t recall who) had mentioned that there may be another piece of DLC. Well, nobody specifically mentioned DLC, but they mentioned that there may be a use for your Halo PC “yellow sticker” CD-Keys. I believe he was meaning those keys for the Halo 2 “Games for Windows Live” game, and not just “Halo CE” keys from a decade ago. But the game’s “CD-Key” is, infact, 5 sets of 5 characters (a “5-by-5” if you will)… the same as the codes for the Xbox Live Marketplace. It’s very likely that, whatever this Dolphin Content is, might be unlocked by Halo 2’s CDKey. But what will it be? This 4MB file of “EN Dolphin Data” could be it, but who knows exactly WHAT it is? Perhaps I’ll give that a shot? Looks like it’s still wait and see

Halo Wars' "Historic Battles" Screen Shots!

Yesterday, we received confirmation of the existence of new achievements and the “Historic Battles” Map Pack coming to Halo Wars for a lovably low 800 MSPoints. Still, if you wondered what these maps are going to look like, check below!

Click each of them for the largest ‘available’ resolutions. I hope to get higher res shots soon.

Poll: Dualing Exclusives: Killzone 2 vs. Halo Wars

[poll id=”4″]

On Friday, February 5th, Sony will launch an exclusive Demo for the platform exclusive Killzone 2, available only on the Playstation 3, and downloadable from the Playstation Store. Microsoft, on the same day, will release via Xbox Live their demo for the console exclusive game Halo Wars. Who will pull in more downloads?

Halo Wars ViDoc, Mythic Screens, and more!

Last night, TeamXbox broke an interesting story I had heard nothng about. A Swedish online retailer had made mention of a “best of Halo” Xbox 360 system bundle. It would include Halo 3, Halo Wars, a 60GB Xbox 360 “Pro.” As of yet, I can’t find any official documentation confirming this.

Next up, some screenshots. Just three of them, all from the upcoming Mythic Map pack. I want to take a minute to explain where they were: on a closed Microsoft “press” website, under the category of Halo 3: ODST. It’s sounding more and more like the map pack will ship on disk with ODST. Two of them look familiar, though the one for “Sandbox” is not one that I, personally, have seen before. Click on each for a ‘full size view.’ (~12MB TIFF’s).

Finally, I just wanted to remind everyone of a very overlooked Halo Wars ViDoc #1: “Halo Times Ten: Halo Wars.” This is available on the Xbox Live Marketplace, or you can download it to your PC (almost exclusively, it’s hard to find!) from our site.

Ninja Blade Demo Impressions

I recently had a little hands on time with the Ninja Blade demo. Several other websites are all doing the same, and I imagine it’s only a matter of time before a demo comes to the united State Xbox Live Marketplace. I hope others get to try this game before they buy. I just wanted to provide a very short summary of what I found.

Graphically, the game is stunning. It uses concentrated camera angles, thus forcing much of the 360’s power into tight frames, making sure it looks good, and still plays smooth as silk. The combat engine makes the game a lot of fun. “Special moves” included, you can pull of some flashy looking combos with ease. The level design is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Some games like to bring in the “veritcal” aspect of levels, but none have done it in this scale. You literally RUN down the side of the building, pulling off movies that you would expct to see in a Jet Li movie!

The game flows seemlessly from one segment to another, and the voice acting is on par with some of the better titles lately. It might not be the best I’ve heard, but it certainly adds to the environment you’re placed in. It appears as though the story was actually given a bit of thought, as well. For me, that’s a make-or-break detail. The game is set in the not-too-distant future, in a time when the Japanese government has created a Ninja Strike force to combat some kind of mutant or alien menace. You are the best that team has to offer.

The game uses “the Simon system,” as I call it. A series of commands you need to mimic, as seen in countless games these days, from Indigo Prophecy to Spider-Man 3. I have a tendancy to shy away from those games, I’m frustrated by my own poor reaction time! But this game leaves response ample time, making it a bit mre enjoyable for someone like me!

Overall, it’s the kind of game that if I saw it in the store, I wouldn’t be buying it. Until I tried the demo. The demo for Ninja Blade is a fantastic selling point, and I sincerely hope they bring it to other marketplaces, so that others can try this game that they may be a bit hesitant to buy.