Stick ‘Em Up, Slot ‘Em In

A couple of games have been distracting me from finishing the awesomely excellent Mass Effect 2 recently.

The first is Xbox Live Indie Game Stick ‘Em Up from the UK-based indie developers Whatever Games. It’s a fun little run and gunner with wireframe visuals, starring a stickman with a variety of overpowered guns. There’s a good sense of humour (you can unlock giant fake noses for your stickman to wear) and there are also vehicles to jump into – launching off jumps and going round loops in the jeep is a significant highlight. The music, which sounds like it has been lifted from a 16-bit game, soon gets a little annoying but if you get some friends over and sit them down to play the four-player mode then I’m sure the sound of laughter will drown it out.

Free Xbox 360 download Game Room has been the second distraction. For a freebie it’s quite good – you can decorate your own arcade and play demos of classic arcade (and console) games, including Asteroids, Crystal Castles and Millipede, using the 20 free credits you start off with. There are also a few easy achievements – by my reckoning there’s 85G to be had before even spending a virtual penny. The cost of buying an arcade game to own outright and play as many times as you like is 240 MS Points, and once you own it you can set high score challenges for friends to beat. It’s nicely presented and the emulation is spot on but something like this is either going to live or die depending on how well its supported. At the moment there aren’t many classics – it needs stuff from Sega, Capcom and Tatio. And if they don’t arrive quickly, then it could become as dead as a real arcade.

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