Editorial | 11/17/2011 at 11:10 AM

Indie-Ana Co-Op and the Fall Review

Think of it as a Time for Reflection

Amidst the anniversaries, the treasure seeking, and the... well, whatever it is, there are those games that help us relive those simpler days of couch co-op adventures. This week in Indie-Ana Co-Op, we take a look back at some of the games and features we've covered over the past few months.

Dead Pixels
Developer: Can’t Strafe Right Studios
Genre: Role Playing
Available On: XBLIG
Co-Op Mode: Local (2 players)
Price: 80 MS Points ($1)
Demo w/ Co-Op Available: Yes  

When Scott Pilgrim vs. the World hit XBLA and PSN, gamers who fondly remembered the days of River City Ransom rejoiced. Here was a beat ‘em up that very much followed in that 8-bit classic’s footsteps. While there are plenty of games that fall into the same genre, few employed the same RPG/world exploration mechanics that River City Ransom did, which rather amazes me as a co-op fan as it’s a great formula. Imagine my surprise, then, when I stumbled across Can’t Strafe Right Studios’ Dead Pixels, a co-op game that employs the same RPG/world exploration mechanics in a shooter format with everyone’s favorite enemies: zombies.

The Co-Op Experience: Partner with a friend locally as you shoot your way through the zombie horde to try and reach salvation; each player can equip and upgrade however he or she sees fit, but overall progress is saved to first player’s account only
Dead Pixel is Geared Towards: Co-op gamers. Really. There’s not any set audience with this one. It’s $1 and entirely fun. So stop reading my words here and go buy it

Parasitus: Ninja Zero
Developer: Heart Attack Machine
Genre: Action & Adventure
Available On: XBLIG
Co-Op Mode: Local (2 players)
Price: 240 MS Points ($3)
Demo w/ Co-Op Available:

Overall, Parasitus: Ninja Zero has a lot of elements taken from the “golden” era of gaming for which many gamers go in search: an unforgiving difficulty, graphics that look as if they’re lifted straight from the Genesis or SNES, and fun, yet simple, control scheme. As a single-player experience, you may find yourself doubting any kind of replay once – and if – you finish, but as a co-op game, it’s more easily enjoyed and definitely recommended for those gamers seeking a challenge. If that sees like a bit of a divided opinion, my only response is that that’s how the game tends to leave you feeling. There are moments where playing through the levels and hacking/slashing the enemies is incredibly fun and satisfying, and there are equally moments where you’re grateful there are only five levels to play through. Working with someone to beat a game that feels like it’s intentionally cheating you out of a victory is what made some of the earliest, and even later, co-op games truly great. To that point, Parasitus: Ninja Zero serves as quite the exemplar, and it is also what makes it worth playing.

The Co-Op Experience: Partner with a friend locally as you hack, slash, jump, and curse your way through five levels of mutants, zombie dogs, demons, and other generally bad things out to destroy the planet
Parasitus: Ninja Zero is Geared Towards: Gamers looking for a challenge that they haven't experienced since that bird on level 3-2 in Ninja Gaiden...


I hate that bird...

Developer: Team Mango
Genre: Shooter
Available On: XBLIG
Co-Op Mode: Local (2 players); Drop-in, Drop-out
Price: 240 MS Points ($3)
Demo w/ Co-Op Available: Yes 

There is, without a doubt, a swathe of twin-stick shooters out there in the gaming world today. Some of these fall into the “rack up a high score” methodology of gameplay, while others lean towards providing a little more story and depth to the experience. Dysnomia falls into more of the latter, providing you with plenty of opportunities to shoot aliens and other creatures, while giving you a little more than the same five or six backgrounds at which to look.

The Co-Op Experience: Drop-in and drop-out with a friend locally as you blast through hordes of aliens in order to repair your ship and discover what happened to the colony upon which you’ve unfortunately landed
Dysnomia is Geared Towards: Sci-fi twin-stick shooter fans that want a little story and adventure mixed in with their guns

Gaming With Devs, Episode 1

As something new for Indie-Ana Co-op, Mike "pheriannath" Katsufrakis and I headed up to Philly for a day to chat with Mike Ambrogi, Tim Ambrogi, and Hal Larsson from Final Form Games to chat about their recently released 4 player 'shmup, Jamestown. In addition to an interview that covered everything from their biggest challenges in making the game to their favorite co-op moments, we recorded a little clip of us playing through almost the entire game with them providing some commentary along the way. Hopefully, this is something we'll be able to do with more developers in the future!

Cadenza Interactive Announces Retrovirus

The fine fellows at Cadenza Interactive have teased a new game for some time. Simply calling it "Project 2" and promising us that it would have co-op, the curtain was finally lifted on their new game, called Retrovirus. Set inside of a computer that's been infected with a deadly virus, the new game seems to take its cue from many of the great flight shooters from the mid-90s offering players "six degrees of freedom" movement in addition to "unique weapon systems... puzzles, combat, and exploration" all with a full co-op campaign. While still in its alpha stages of development, we're hopeful we'll get a chance to see a bit more in the next couple of months.


The fall has certainly provided a lot of great co-opportunities from both the AAA and indie front and while things will undoubtedly die down a bit going into the winter season, there are still plenty of great games out there to discover and share. In fact, if you should come across, tell us about it! Write someting up in the User Blogs section of the site! Your review may end up featured in the next Indie-Ana Co-op, or another fine Co-Optimus feature.

Thanks for reading and have a great Thanksgiving!