Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Review: The Last Pod Fighter

The Indie Games section of the X-Box 360 LIVE service is a very crowded marketplace filled with many bizarre creations that could be good, bad, or just plain rotten. When this section was first introduced to LIVE, I was mildly intrigued because of its potential to be a portal to unending creativity. Unfortunately, after the never ending number of "vibration massage" games, my interest in the 360's indie scene waned down and I haven't even bothered with them for the longest time until my friend, who is a member of developer Fighter9, provided me with an opportunity to play The Last Pod Fighter, their new game that just hit the Indie Game Marketplace just two days ago.

The Last Pod Fighter is your typical variant of a 3D space shooter where you control a ship in a full 3D environment. You basically have to fight waves after waves of enemy ships and these are punctuated by boss battles where you have to destroy a large capital ship. It is all very elementary and the auto lock-on system makes things very accessible. There are many power up pods that attach themselves to your ship - these are dropped off by destroyed enemy ships - and some of them are actually pretty cool to use, like the "Gravity Pod" that sucks up enemies that are close to it. The game comes with two gameplay modes: Arcade and Survival. The former is divided into rounds and the latter is about how long you can last the non-stop viscous waves of enemies trying to destroy you. Both of them are fun to play with the time and score counters being great reasons to replay the game as you try to beat your own records on your next play session. Graphically, the game looks decent but sometimes, all the flying lasers, swirling power-ups, and large explosions almost made the game kind of pretty. The real problem with the game's visual presentation is that you are stuck playing the game in only one environment: you end up seeing the same planet and asteroid formations. There is also this illusion that you are hardly moving forward because there are not enough particles moving into the screen, which can be a bit distracting.

I always appreciate big bosses!

Despite those small complaints, The Last Pod Fighter is a fun and engaging game. I haven't mentioned that it has a really strong soundtrack - worth the price of admission in itself - and the sound effects sound expensive . It was shared with me that the game may receive an online multiplayer expansion - which would make the game a lot better - but whether or not that will come into fruition, the game is a dollar (80 Microsoft Points) worth spent if you are looking for a little arcade shooter action.

RATING: 4 out of 5

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