Conventional wisdom is that the XBox Live Indie Games channel (XBLIG) is generally a grab bag of crap. The games there tend to be lower quality, have worse production value, have short gameplay experiences with little or no replay value, and frequently either lack in originality or are so far off the deep end in terms of creativity that they aren’t even fun. Don’t get me wrong – it’s great that Microsoft made a channel where anyone can create and post games (though I’m annoyed at them co-opting the phrase “indie games” for their own use), and I think that it can be a terrific learning experience for new developers to have to opportunity to commercially release a game to the masses through the channel. But the unfortunate upshot is that most users tend to regard XBLIG as home to garbage.
But there are good games there, if you know where to look! Recently we’ve been playing Ninja Bros at the office. It’s a short and fun puzzle platformer in which you control 2 to 4 ninja brothers in their never ending quest to push buttons, open doors, and then exit the level. The game is quite tricky though, as all the brothers move in unison whenever the left joystick is moved, and all have separate jump buttons. From this simple premise the game developers have crafted some incredibly fun levels that really explore the mechanic, and completing each level is quite rewarding. Add in some simple yet polished and appealing pixel art and you’ve got a real winner of a game.
Ninja Bros cost $1 (only!) and is a real steal. I strongly recommend picking it up and seeing what one of the best games on XBLIG looks like. You’ll have a great time playing!