Indie games, Skwug, Crescendo Symphony, Horn Swaggle Islands, Gum Drop Celestial Frontier )( XNA Roundup #28

Indie games are hip, community games are gone, Skwug makes us go weee and Crescendo Symphony brings some international flavor to the Xbox Indie games catalog. Horn Swaggle Islands and Gum Drop Celestial Frontier round out this MEGASODE of XNA Roundup featuring news and reviews of all the best Xbox Indie games. Carlos from mevio is our guest, check out the mevio tech blog here: Episode sponsored by Godaddy, use the code XNA20H when you check out to get 20% off hosting.


Anonymous said...

Check out Nextwar which is now 80 points for a tower defence game. Simple graphics yet great presentation and a fantastic game!

Good show guys keep it up

Soulfire Soft: Concept Director said...

Hey Carlos, the Japanese game you mentioned with school girls was not a dream. Your probably thinking about a game series called Touhou and Crescendo Symphony works almost exactly the same way. Touhou unfortunately, doesn't have an English release. Supposedly the game was so difficult, only people who played 24/7 could beat it. I wouldn't be surprised if Crescendo Symphony is just as difficult. Also in Touhou, the only place your character could get hit was a small dot in the center of the sprite, so bullets passing right through you without harm sounds correct if this game really is modeled off of the origional Japanese franchize.

BTW, love your podcasts! I have been letting everyone know of your vids who have the slightest Idea of XNA. I will be sending out a game soon and hopefully it will be good enough to be reviewed by you guys! ;) till then, keep it up! :)

Eric said...

Other reviews have said it is just the one level (there's a boss fight, then you go to loop 2 which is the same thing, and so on...) in the Japanese shump. Myself I couldn't beat the boss, though I was getting better, didn't feel much desire to finish (or buy) once I found out there's not much point.

The game is a bit limited in that there's only one regular enemy, two sub-boss types, then the boss. But it all functions very well and looks nice (though the all purple kinda washes out the detail).

This developer could flesh this game out into a full sequel with levels, variety, and perhaps a better difficulty curve for those not as good at shumps, and it'd be worth buying at 240 or even 400.

Anonymous said...

Nick the dude, why are your eyes always closed in the preview image? I find this very strange.

Btw keep up the great work.

Vili said...

Just a personal piece of hopefully constructive criticism from this viewer, who has been watching ever since the launch of the program.

I feel that with the recent(ish) change of the episode format to Nick and Carlos hosting together, XNA Roundup has become less a proper review show and more a program where two guys talk freely and fairly subjectively about the games. In other words, you have lost some focus.

Previously, when the show was just Nick reviewing one or two new titles each week, XNA Roundup episodes were compact, well thought-out, informative and professionally delivered. The show answered the basic questions "what is it?", "how does it work?" and "is it good enough?" efficiently, giving just about the right amount of information to make a fairly informed buying decision.

Nowadays, however, there tends to be too much talk that is not really interesting to someone who just wants to know whether the game is worth trying out, which I suppose is why most of us follow you. Especially this latest 19 minute episode just felt way too long.

The bottom line is, I feel that I get far less information out of these new episodes than I used to.

While I really like the idea of two hosts, perhaps you might want to consider going back to a more scripted episode format. It is obviously more difficult to pull out a scripted discussion in a way that sounds natural to the viewer, but it would bring back some focus and speed things up.

I now also often feel that you make too many remarks about things that someone who hasn't yet played the game can't really relate to, such as particularly difficult points in the game, and so on.

Finally, I would personally like to see more of the game being reviewed, even if it means not seeing you two while you are talking. Showing the game on the background and you on the foreground sort of defeats the purpose. Again, I preferred the olden times when pretty much all we saw was the game, and Nick delivered his review with a voice-over.

It doesn't have to be either/or, though. Instead of using the game footage as a background, perhaps you would be able to divide the screen in a way that both the game and the presenters can be seen, without anyone blocking anything?

Just my two Microsoft Points there. Thanks for the show!

Soulfire Soft: Concept Director said...

I actually would disagree, I may be wrong, but the impression I have gotten from these two is Nick is more knowledgeable of the American style games and Carlos has a more appreciation for both Japanese and American styles. I especially support Carlos for giving RPGs a great deal of attention when most people just make fun of the "gay anime styles" as I have heard said before by many Xbox fans. Now that we are seeing a large majority of Japanese games establishing a new home on the 360, it would be nice to have someone who really understands J-games to share with people what really makes them great. The same thing goes with any new game genre that makes its way onto the console or in this case, Indi-games.
Also The fact that they can work together enables viewers to retain more information on different point of views. When Carlos will like a particular game, Nick could argue some flaws that Carlos missed or the other way around. If it were me doing the show, I would find multiple discussion hosts who have main interests and are more knowledgeable of different genre of games; one on sports; adventure, shooter, J-games etc.

I understand your point but I prefer the long episodes. I like to see more games reviewed in an episode and more information on a game being discussed in an episode. However, I would agree they in favor with each other often and I get the feeling they may be a little reluctant to disagree with each other. Also the episodes do seem more spontaneous and not fully planned out. Throughout the recent episodes I have seen more random jokes and less serious well planned discussion. It is good to have humor in the show but I think it could be improved and planned out better.

Anonymous said...

I disagree with what vili said...

I like having two hosts just talking about the games.

I like long episodes!

and I love that the games are in the background. I would like to see some clips of game footage of specific events shown when you are talking about it. for example, you mentioned how you were playing and you had like 17 things flying around your ship... it would have been great if you had a clip of that and showed it.

Also, I think you guys should focus more on releasing more episodes. I would like to see two episodes a week. This does not seem unreasonable because you guys are putting 4 games into an episode now. I don't feel that is necessary. I would prefer a 4 minute episode on a single game over a 20 minute episode (which takes nearly 2 weeks to make) on 4 games.

anyways just my 2 cents...

Anonymous said...

Have a look at this video:

Notice how whenever the host talks about something in the game he shows a clip of it?

It would really help the viewers understand what you are talking about a lot more if you did the same.

Chris said...

Hey Nick,

Long time viewer of the website, first time mailer. I enjoy all
your videoblogs and find them well produced, especially with all the
sarcasm. Your Tweets are also very informative too!

My team and I recently released a game for Xbox 360 that I
think would appealing and was hoping you could do a review
or article for our game: Spectra Musical Massage
Yes, I know the word "massage" may turn you off, but I assure you it has
many more features that sets it apart. Plus, we've been working on this
wayyyy before the craze!

You can find all the information about the game from the link below.

Spectra Musical Massage info:



Bigdaddio said...

Hey Nick, you guys don't have any way to contact you directly. I was interested in advertising on your show.

Nicholas Iannone said...

Damn! lotta comments love to see the interaction here. As far as contacting us, you can email .

Collin said...

The only other Japanese shooter that I've played where your ships were people, like Carlos mentions, was Mobile Light Force 2 on the PS2. I'm not sure what the name was in Japan, but the US release had a god-awful cover.

Also, watching Gum Drop play in the background reminded me of Solar, the game where you're a sun and you get planets to orbit you. Is it by the same developer?

Anonymous said...

Come on guys, what ever happened to "each and every week?" I think you guys are doing something great here and you could have a huge influence on the gaming industry with the evolution of indi developers. You're going to lose your audience If you cant take responsibility for your own podcast and fall short of releasing when you say your going to release. Treat the indi games like IGN or GT would treat new releases in the mainstream industry.

Neil said...

Why is there such a delay in new reviews. It used to be every week!

Soulfire Soft: Concept Director said...

He let us know what was down in the podcast. Kinda disappointing but understandable.
I still think XNA roundup has too much of a reputation to be left in the dust just because the lead guy has things to do. There is some things you can do to keep the show going every week and still be involved. I would advise finding new hosts for the show who can take care of the celebrity part and you can be the head producer behind the scenes. you can even make a few appearances on the show here and then but you have to find ways to keep the show going even if it means your not actually in it. It may be hard now but If you keep this up I think it will be worth your while. I mean if you don't, my studio and I will continue where you left off with our own show.

~best of luck

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