10tons Ltd have been making games for a few years now. They have slowly but surely developed a definite style and have seemingly improved with every release. The developer behind Neon Chrome, Sparkle 2, Baseball Riot and King Oddball have revealed a new title, to be released through the ID@Xbox program, Time Recoil.
Time Recoil is a top-down twin stick shooter featuring slow motion gameplay. You are a member of the Recoilers. Your mission is to locate and kill Mr. Time, who controls a time-based weapon of mass-destruction and you will need to stop him in the past, or the future is over. To do this, you must use the wormhole at the rebel base to travel into the recent past. Along the way you’ll have various missions to complete, ranging from assassinations to rescuing scientists. Always expect the unexpected.
To aid you in your missions, you have a very special super power. You can slow down time by killing. Any subsequent kills will give you more time slowdown and will allow you to conduct unbelievable slow motion feats. Dash through walls to make them crumble, chalk up more kills in slowdown to grant special moves, with the more you gain, the more devastating the move. You can even combine slowdown and special moves to form a devastating chain.
Time Recoil is a story of rebellion and revenge. You are the last hope of a rebel organisation who wants to free the world from the grip of an evil mad scientist dictator. Charge your special move, start off with a simple dash and build it into a devastating psy-weapon to defeat Mr. Time.
If friendly competition is your thing, try the Speedrun mode and beat your friends into submission.
Time Recoil is scheduled to release on Xbox One in the summer of 2017.
Do you get excited by physics puzzlers? You know the type. Fling a ball, grenade, bird, rock, whatever, in the hopes of hitting a specific target? If you do, you’re going to love the latest ID@Xbox title to hit the Store, King Oddball.
Developer, 10tons have been producing Xbox titles for a little while now, having delivered Sparkle 2, Crimsonland, Baseball Riot and Neon Chrome recently on the platform. Their latest offering looks just as whacky.
King Oddball is here to destroy the world. The premise of the game is very simple. End the world in a unique skill-based puzzle game. The titular King is suspended in the air, armed with an incredibly long and sticky tongue and three tough rocks. The tongue grabs a boudler and swings. Time your release by tapping a button. How hard can it be?
If your timing is right, you can crush as many targets as possible. Crush more than three of the earth-based enemy with one rock and you’ll be rewarded with an extra one to finish the job. Try to anticipate the roll and bounce of your rocks and aim for strategically-placed explosive crates to wreak havoc on the puny humans.
The game features intuitive, single button gameplay, more than 120 levels with many secret locations to conquer. Marvel at the eccentric art style and original Jonathan Geer music score.
Can you help King Oddball conquer the Earth with your rock-flinging skills, or is this the type of title you’ll end up flinging away?
King Oddball is available now on Xbox One, with a limited-time 10% saving on the normal price of £3.99. Will you be picking this up?
Remember those happy days in the playground playing marbles, making sure every shot counted, with the goal of staying alive and being champion, well welcome to Sparkle 2.
You’re welcomed to the game with what can only be described as a bright colourful splash screen and music that could have come straight out of a Disney movie. A swift hit of the A button whisks you into the story because as we know, all good games need a story and sparkle 2 is no exception. A warm voice explains about five keys that have been scattered to the wind and as of yet no one has discovered them. It’s up to you to accept the challenge to try and find them on the promise of once they have been found they will unlock something valuable (their words not mine). So armed with my eagerness for riches and fortune I jump into the game having first checked down the sofa as that’s where my keys normally are, and with the help of the happy-go-lucky musical score written by Jonathan Geer, I enter the world of Sparkle 2.
Sparkle 2 is the sequel to last year’s hit Sparkle Unleashed by 10tons Studio. The game follows on from the original concept where you have to protect one or more holes from an ever increasing snake of bright and colourful marbles. As the marbles move down the path, armed with you own personal marble slinger (controlled by the left thumstick), fire your own marbles (button A) into them. Creating a chain of three or more marbles of the same colour makes them explode and disappear with the aim to remove all marbles before they drop down the hole(s).
The first few levels are easy, letting you get used to the game and even taking you through a basic tutorial. Then the pressure starts to pile up with multiple marble paths to defend and faster marbles being deployed. This makes you have to think quick on your feet and just like being back in the playground, make every shot count as this game in the later stages doesn’t forgive easily.
Luckily you have help on your side in the form of Power Ups like push back, which does what it says on the tin and firestorm, a little power up that destroys a large number of marbles before you’ve had a chance to blink. These are useful but at the same time you need to plan on when to use them and sometimes there’s just not an option with the ever-increasing march of marbles. Along with the power ups you collect as you progress through the levels you also unlock enchantments. These are abilities that you can attach to your marble slinger to alter how it works. A useful one that’s unlocked early is the Speed Boost, allowing you to fire faster or Tranquility, which makes the game easier but the side effect is that the level takes longer to complete.
As you play through all 90 levels (yes 90) you work your way through a colourful story map aiming for specific landmarks that hold one of the magical five keys (or not) all narrated by the mystical voice. The cut scenes are limited but beautifully drawn with the minimal amount of animation to keep your interest in your journey and with the music score setting the scene. I do have to admit after a while the grind does get a little, been there, done that but for some reason the music spurs you on and there is that little voice in your head saying just one more go. I honestly don’t know what they have put in Sparkle 2 but it works and it works well. At one point I thought I had only played for about half an hour to find I had actually been playing for nearly two hours!
Now I won’t tell you what happens when you collect all the keys – that’s for you to find out – but trust me it’s definitely up there in the moments I won’t forget.
Backing up the story mode there are three other options: Survival, Challenge and Cataclysm. Survival as it sounds is where you just have to survive the ongoing onslaught of marbles on one of 32 levels. Challenge is 24 levels of three varying difficulties and the challenge is to complete them all. Finally Cataclysm is total carnage over 20 stages of extended levels. This is the true test for a Sparkle champion.
Sparkle 2 has no multiplayer option but I don’t think it needs one. The game is simple, stunning but unforgiving and will keep you amused for hours even if you aren’t really sure why. This is the sort of game that anyone in your family can walk by and just pick up and play and for only £6.39 you would be mad to pass this by even if you own Sparkle Unleashed or another puzzle shooter equivalent.
In modern gaming there seems to be a divide in what is expected from games today. On one side you have the Hollywood-esque tours de force of exposition and plot that defenders of the gaming past time oft quote as the reason gaming is not just for children, but should be treated as a mature, ageless medium of its own. You then have the middle of the road games that try to find a balance between engaging story and tactile game mechanics which make up the majority of games on the market today. Then you have games that don’t care about character development or emotional engagement, focusing solely on pure, refined, unadulterated mechanics to draw a crowd.
Crimsonland without a doubt falls into the latter camp. The plot consists of “survive increasingly difficult waves of enemies until you can reach the next wave of difficult enemies”. That’s it. There is no character arc, no redemption or soul searching, just Guns, enemies and blood.
Those of you close to my age (or older) may remember the old classic, Smash TV, and Crimsonland hits a lot of the same notes, but on a much larger scale.
Graphically, you can tell that this started its life as a 2003 indie pc title from the team over at 10tons Entertainment. Simple and small, it does therefore allow for most of the fighting area to be visible at one time. This is in itself crucial when it comes to the multiplayer.
A recurring theme from my last few reviews, Crimsonland doesn’t have an online multiplayer, so gathering up to three of your closest gaming buddies for some couch co-op is the only way to play. This in no way dimishes the game as the most fun I had was when playing with several players. That said, unlike previous titles I reviewed, there is enough game here to roll solo if you so wish.
Like most twin stick shooters the targeting can be a little fiddly to get to grips with at first, not made any easier by the size of the sprites, but once you get the hang of it you will soon be decimating enemies with consummate ease.
Each of the 60 story levels see you dropped in toting a starting pistol with waves of enemies spawning in increasing numbers or difficulty levels. As you progress and dispose of enemies, new weapon types and boosts appear to make progression easier. There is a wide range of weapons available to unlock as you progress and you will soon find ones that suit your play style. This variation extends to the boosts as well, with a wide range of specials that provide temporary boosts and extra damage to ease the passage of each round. Add to this the three difficulty levels, and you get a lot of bang for your buck.
Other than the main campaign, there are 5 other modes to absorb your time, each based on ever increasing hordes of enemies. These are also where the perks you have been unlocking in the main campaign start to play a part. Basic Survival sees you equipped with your trusty pistol and ever increasing waves of enemies. Rush has you attempt to survive an alien onslaught while limited to a trusty assault rifle. Weapon picker slaps you down with limited ammo, but more weapon spawns at random locations. Nukefism does away with ammo altogether and has you running around making good use of the powerups that appear far more often and finally Blitz is a fast pace survival where you can only use the weapons and perks unlocked in the campaign. As you progress your experience will rack up and you will level up. At each level up point you gain the ability to select a perk to improve your chances of surviving further.
This is where the perk system truly shines. Each conveys its own weighted benefits such as Thick Skinned which reduces your overall health but decreases damage taken, or Ammunition Within which allows you to keep firing while reloading but each shot diminishes your health.
Although it lacks the finesse or graphical excellence of some other games I really enjoyed my time with Crimsonland. If you have a close group that play together, this is a brilliant game for playing with friends.
With the release of Sparkle Unleashed now out of the way and that game bubbling along nicely, Finnish developers 10Tons Ltd have revealed their next Xbox One release, Neonchrome. This will be self-published through the ID@Xbox program.
This is a cyberpunk top-down shooter that puts me in mind of the Team17 classic Alien Breed series already.
Few further details are available at the moment, other than a late 2015 release date, but those lovely people at 10Tons have produced a few Alpha screens for your delight.
Keep your eyes peeled here for gameplay footage, as soon as it surfaces.
Sparkle Unleashed is a marble shooter from 10tons Ltd – a small indie studio – it also happens to be their first Xbox One release having already released a number of PS3 & PS4 titles, STEAM games and a number of mobile games including Android, BlackBerry, iOS, Symbian and Windows Phone 8. Truly a skilled group of developers.
Sparkle is a small franchise name 10tons Ltd have been working with for a long while now with Sparkle, Sparkle 2, Sparkle Epic and now Sparkle Unleashed as part of the family. In Sparkle Unleashed 10tons Ltd promise we’ll be able to experience the fabled Sparkle brand action puzzle like never before as we make our way through a secluded world of mystery, light magical braziers and discover a way to banish the darkness once and for all.
The Xbox One version of Sparkle Unleashed offers 108 levels, along with a survival mode and extra difficulty settings. Starting out, Sparkle Unleashed is pretty easy to play and if you’ve ever played Bubble Witch Saga on your mobile (What… it’s a long commute to the office!) then you’ll be familiar with the style of gameplay. Coloured orbs come gradually along the screen, working their way towards a hole – thereby ending the game. Our job is to match up orbs by firing them towards those of the same colour. It’s a familiar concept and well executed here. At all times you’ll have two different orbs to switch between to make it a little easier to manage.
As you progress through Sparkle Unleashed you’ll unlock potent power ups and use the ones you like the most to overcome a variety of challenging orbs like chained and rock orbs. In addition to unlockable power ups there are also a number of challenges to take part in as well as Survival Levels which require you to get as many stars, between one and five, as possible.
Sparkle Unleashed is fairly easy-going at first with moderate movement speed on-screen, but as you progress through the initial 10-20 levels you’ll quickly notice that things start to heat up. Soon enough you’ll be presented with multiple strings of orbs coming along at once and things get much trickier. Of course if you make it this far along then you’ll be well acquainted with what to expect and be able to handle it.
Throw in a suitably thrilling soundtrack by award-winning composer Jonathan Geer and Sparkle Unleashed is a fun title that is also easy on the ears.
Overall Sparkle Unleashed is a fun game for wasting away a few minutes you may have spare. If you’ve played the other titles on your mobile device, this may be worth picking up to complete the series. If you are looking for something to play whilst waiting for your next 50GB+ AAA release to download and install, again this is for you.