The Xbox Live Indie Game marketplace is full of terrible, poor quality games. But there are also a few decent, good, or even great games out there.
For 240 Microsoft points, or $3 U.S., you can get Avatar Adventures Online, from indie developer squarebananas. AAO is the closest thing to an indie MMORPG on the 360.
It’s not technically an MMO-only 16 people can populate a world, but there is both solo play and online play with others (unfortunately like all Xbox Live indie games however, you need to be connected to the internet to play, but this is Microsoft’s policy). As the name suggests, you and other avatars populate a world and fight monsters, do simple quests, and form teams or parties of up to six people.
Like standard rpgs you have potions, armor, and weapons you can buy from shops in town and equip. You can also learn magic spells by either leveling up or doing quests. Spells consist of your standard sets of magic such as healing and freeze spells.
The quests are pretty simple, and usually involve collecting x number of items looted from killing monsters and reporting back to the NPC character. Unfortunately this can get repetitive fairly quickly.
Graphic wise it’s definitely a basic game. Each section of the world is large and mostly featureless except for the occasional tree, rock, or cactus. Textures in the game also leave something to be desired. Still for an indie game it is huge, and there is some variety in terms of locales such as deserts, pastures, and shale pits.
Music and sound effects are okay as well. You won’t walk away humming any of the in game tunes, but the music changes noticeably depending on whether or not you are traversing a new location or actively engaged in battle. You won’t be distracted by out of place music or sound effects.
Engaging in a battle consists of using the right shoulder button to select a target. From a distance you can cast spells or fight up close with your weapon.
You can also chain attacks together if you defeat enemies within a set amount of time. Doing so gives you extra experience, which grows depending on how many enemy kills you can chain together. This is where having a team comes in especially handy, as several can attack at once or in turns to keep the experience chain going, so all party members get boosted experience. While there is a lot of grinding involved, leveling up occurs pretty quickly, especially with the boosted experience trick of working together as a team.
Enemies don’t appear too threatening at first however-initial encounters consist of chickens, cows, and crabs. As you progress further in the game however don’t be surprised if you find yourself getting killed by a high level butterfly. Still even here the game is lenient-when you die you can choose to either respawn at the nearest town or simple wait twenty seconds and respawn where you died.
Trading works similar to the battle targeting system. Simply target a player and select trade from the menu. Then each player submits what items or credits they want to trade, and approves or declines it.
Messaging is pretty simple too-especially if you have a keyboard or an Xbox controller chat pad. You can message the whole world, certain players, or even just send a message to all in your team.
Aside from the minor violence, the only negative content in game will come from other players. Like any other game a few bad apples will always be around, but you can “blacklist” them and avoid contact. Since all chat is text based you won’t have to hear anything, it simple shows up in the in-game chat log.
Overall despite it’s flaws Avatar Adventures Online is a fantastic game, especially for only 240 MSP. If you’re looking for a good, cheap game with online capabilities and hours of play I highly recommend it.
Tags: avatar adventure, avatar adventures online, avatar adventures online review, avatar adventures review, indie game, indy game, squarebananas, xbl, xbox indie, xbox indy, xbox live