The Xbox 360 had its own version of the App Store in 2008, all but hidden within the console's menus. Xbox Live Community Games, later renamed Xbox Live Indie Games, allowed independent developers to share and sell games created with Microsoft's XNA tools on the Xbox Marketplace. These games didn't receive nearly the promotion or real estate afforded indie games on Xbox Live Arcade, the official indie game store, which itself wasn't a guarantee for a game's success. Nonetheless, a couple dozen game makers committed to the platform, using it as an entry point for their studios. With little oversight, XBLIG regularly released some of the weirdest games on consoles at the time, one of which will finally travel to a more familiar, better foot-trafficked platform this month.
Weapon of Choice was the first game from Nathan Fouts' indie studio, Mommy's Best Games. Fouts cut his teeth on the Resistance and Ratchet & Clank games, where he designed and programmed both franchises' overpowered weapons. His first solo project picks up where those games left off. A jet engine gun launches the player across stages; a rifle fires organic blades that slice apart giant worm creatures; and projectile launches spew bots to float in mid-air and zap lasers into nearby enemies.
Behold the jet engine gun
The 2D hand-drawn world is layered with bright colors and curly lines, like the back of an eighth grade notebook come to life. And like the video game maps the nerdiest among us drew to pass homeroom, the stages have new characters to rescue and branching paths to discover. All of this is set to heavy metal, because of course it is.
Weapon of Choice will be released on Steam on September 23rd as part of the Mommy's Best Action Pack, which includes Shoot 1UP, Explosionade, and Game Type. Each game is a lovingly crafted ode to the games of our past, no less charming than Weapon of Choice. As for Xbox Live Indie Games, Microsoft announced yesterday that it has begun the "sunsetting process" for the service, which is to say a service that never quite got the love it deserved is saying farewell, making way for its successor, ID@Xbox.