Free Stuff on XBox Live Arcade!

Undertow

Attention! Go download Undertow for free while you still can. After 1/27/08, you will have to pay 800 Microsoft Points (Satan’s Dubloons) for this game. Is it worth 800 Microsoft Points? No, but that doesn’t mean much since few games on XBLA are worth 800 dubloons. Originally this post started out as a review of Undertow but just the mention of Microsoft’s eternally damned XBL currency has spawned a need to discuss something that has been sequestered in me for too long, XBLA’s pricing strategy. First Undertow, then pricing.

Again, go download Undertow for free while you can. Its a delicious game published and developed by Chair Entertainment, the makers of Advent Rising, a classic PC space game. Undertow takes place under water in 2d/3d side-scrolling environment, where you battle underwater pirates in domination or deathmatch modes. The full version offers a single player campaign or online matches supporting up to 18 players. Also offered is a co-op mode for you co-op junkies.

So whats so great about Undertow? Well, I wouldn’t use the word great here but it does have many strong points. There are three races to choose from each with four classes. You swim around capturing bases on the map and hold them as long as possible while the other team’s score is reduced to zero resulting in a smack-talk filled victory. The maps are fun and plentiful. The graphics are respectable and the gameplay is clean, straightforward, and thoughtfully executed. It is obvious that the developers put a lot of effort into this game.

So why shouldn’t you pay 800 Credits for this independently developed game? Well, plain and simple, the gameplay gets tiresome and lacks depth. Nothing truly feels rewarding in this game. Killing, bombing, picking up power-ups, upgrading your class, zipping through the underwater tunnels, is all swell, but it doesn’t leave you with that euphoric high of gaming accomplishment that makes you crave more. Sure it’s fun for 30 minutes here and there but only if you play with friends.

So how much would I pay for what could possibly be the best 3rd party release on Xbox Live Arcade? …..500-600 dubloons I say! Actually 400-600 Satan Dubloons is all I would pay for anything on XBLA and most games are priced at 800. That comes out to around $10 for every 800 spent. $10 is a commitment I am not willing to make for a game that will only provide 30 minutes of entertainment and I suspect other Xbox Live users would agree. $10 is a psychological price level that I feel most gamers regard as a commitment. They say to themselves, “Well, am I really going to play this game?” and then they look at 800 dubloons, and think, “Oh fuck no, I would rather buy five Big Macs and wash them down with a nice cold bottle of Zima!”

Honestly, think of all the sexual gratitude you could receive in Tijuana for 10 bucks and then tell me you want to spend 800 Satan Dubloons on XBox Live Arcade…yeah, I thought so!

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One Response to “Free Stuff on XBox Live Arcade!”

  1. this looks rad. i really want an xbox

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