You probably have been told before to never judge a book by its cover. While you usually can do this with almost every game on the Xbox LIVE Indie Games channel (especially most of the games featuring Avatars), some titles feature such great gameplay that you can and should get over their look. This is the case of Cute Things Dying Violently, a bloody-yet-cute action puzzler launched during the Indie Games Summer Uprising promotion that’s going on right now.
The goal of the game is simple: get as many of the lovely Critters in the elevator as possible. To do so, you can either flick them in the air or hold them in place for a little while, all of it by moving the huge crosshairs above the little creatures. As this would be too easy, many obstacles like springs, sawblades, oil tanks, lasers, and more are put in your way. Think of this game as being Angry Birds, except with moving characters and movable items. To make your every failed attempt less of a pain, the Critters die in a cartoony-yet-highly-bloody way (like Super Meat Boy) which is quite funny the first few times around. As for the levels, they start off really slowly but get rather complicated later on as complex paths and high precision are needed to succeed.
Length-wise, Cute Things Dying Violently will take you about three to five hours to complete depending on your skill and patience level. Considering that the game is available at a mere 80 Microsoft Points, you are getting quite a lot out of your money. Still, achievements (called Achieve Mints) have been added in to the game. Demanding you to complete off-task objectives, each achievement rewards you with really enjoyable mini-games which include killing the most Critters in a specific amount of time and to “paint” all of a level’s sawblades with “red paint” in the shortest amount of time. In addition to all this, a multiplayer mode was added to the mix. I honestly believe that this game mode could have been left out but some people might find some enjoyment out of it.
The main problem I had with Cute Things Dying Violently was with the overall presentation of the game. First of all, the graphics look like almost any basic Xbox LIVE Indie Game title you can find on the platform and that you would pass on just because of its look. While it does not interfere with the gameplay at all, more advanced and developed visuals would have been much better. Also, the music and sounds also sound very bland at a point where it really gets on your nerves after a while. To make things short, the game could have stood out a lot more from others game if there would have been a lot more work put into the way it looks and sounds.
Other than this, I thought some of the game’s levels were a little bit too hard. This wouldn’t have been a huge issue as I’m all for hard games but you at least need to clear all of a stage’s levels in order to move on to the next stage. Luckily, the number of levels on which you will get stuck for a long time is rather small.
Cute Things Dying Violently is a good game. Making the little Critters will definitely be something you will love doing for a while, but it’s the amount of levels and challenge that will keep you hooked. Despite its somewhat unattractive look, there is a lot of fun to be had with this game, especially for 80 Microsoft Points. Final verdict? Buy it.
– Great and challenging puzzle gameplay
– Lot of content offered for the low price of admission
– The music and sounds are bland/repetitive
– The graphics feel like a below-average Xbox LIVE Indie game
– The final chapter will be too frustrating for certain gamers (too hard)
Game experience at time of redaction: Game cleared (215 Critters saved, 1 level not cleared perfectly), unlocked all the achievements, tried the Multiplayer and Level Editor.
Cute Things Dying Violently is available on the Xbox LIVE Indies Games channel for the Xbox 360 for 80 Microsoft Points (1$USD).