10 Amazingly Awful Games Vol 2 – Review

A title like 10 Amazingly Awful Games Volume 2 has to be a marketing ploy. I never played the original 10 Amazingly Awful Games because I had enough faith in its self-assessment to save my time, but I’ve heard that they weren’t actually bad. On that flimsy basis, I thought it was worth taking a chance on the sequel, Volume 2.

The game’s developer said recently that his aim was to parody old low-grade game collections such as the infamous Action 52. I’ll admit I was a little curious as to whether this worked as a parody or merely retrod the same ill-advised path.

As it turned out, the contents of 10 Amazingly Awful Games Volume 2 were quite variable in quality. In the interests of clarity and satisfying my neurotic leanings, here is a blow-by-blow account of what I found lurking within. Buckle up; it’s a rollercoaster ride. One of those rickety old rollercoasters that you find in dilapidated, windswept coastal resorts that are decades past their prime.

In the order that they occur in the menu:

Blobby Blobby is a very basic one-hit-death platformer with clumsy controls, unclear hit detection and bursts of unreasonable difficulty that seem to be designed to catch you out. Platformers live or die by their controls, and Blobby Blobby controls like trying to balance a blancmange on a tennis ball.

10 Amazingly Awful Games Vol 2 - Blobby Blobby

Blobby Blobby

Fruit Defender has you pressing the face buttons to pop fruit that approaches from the corresponding four directions. It’s executed perfectly soundly but feels depressingly pointless. There’s just no incentive to keep going.

Grid Warrior is basically a monochrome Space Invaders. A few negligible additions, such as enemy turrets at the sides and the ability to move up and down the screen, fail to enhance the experience.

I Madez a Clone Wiv Zombies Innit is one of the better offerings in this package. It’s a vertically scrolling twin-stick shooter with a few weapon pick-ups. Its title parody of I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MBIES 1N IT!!!1 gave me a chuckle but after that the experience went downhill. It functions adequately, and when I was seven years old this would have seemed like the best game ever. If you’ve ever played a twin-stick shooter before, though, this low-rent, entry-level attempt will just remind you that you could be playing better versions. As a rule, a game that parodies another game has to be either at least as good as the original, or amusing enough to compensate. The gameplay here is very basic at best, and the only humour to be found is in the title. The eye-scouringly horrible visuals don’t help, with primary school character sprites and backgrounds that look like the contents of a dinosaur’s stomach.

10 Amazingly Awful Games Vol 2 - I Madez a Clone Wiv Zombies Innit

I Madez a Clone Wiv Zombies Innit (with uncharacteristically sombre background)

Lame Defenders 2 is a side-scrolling space shooter. You shoot things. It’s more challenging than it seems and, like the zombie/clone game above, could be fun for a child who’s never played anything like it. I had flashbacks to my dad’s Atari 2600, in gameplay style if not in aesthetic. It’s still sinfully ugly though, and your spacecraft moves woodenly enough that it can be needlessly frustrating to manoeuvre.

Nastyroids is the classic Asteroids with weapon power-ups, a larger arena and occasional targets that fight back. If you’re someone who still longs to play Asteroids, you might enjoy this. I never really liked Asteroids that much, but this take on the formula does the job perfectly well. It gave me some simple fun for a little while. The expanded arena helps the classic clunky control scheme (rotate your ship with the left stick, then propel it forward with the right trigger) feel less frustrating, and its basic visuals are an upgrade over the wireframe graphics of its predecessor. Probably the best of the whole batch, by virtue of being a decent enough example of its type.

Seeker is a 2D explorer/shooter. I don’t know if it’s based on an old template like many of the other games here, but the game it reminds me of most is the dreadful Bit Crunch. Fortunately Seeker isn’t that bad. You roam around a randomly generated maze of rooms, dodging obstacles and shooting enemies, looking for keycards and the route to a computer that must be destroyed. Your health (or ‘power’ here) depletes over time as well as when you take hits, so the pressure is on. Seeker actually has some potential to be fun. If it wasn’t for a couple of glaring problems, it could be something I’d choose to play, at least for a little while. Firstly, it’s very easy to get stuck on corners. When leaving a room, I got stuck more often than I didn’t, particularly if I was hastily fleeing a group of enemies. Secondly, you can only shoot left or right, despite the manifest need to at least add up and down to the range of fire. It’s infuriating losing valuable points from my power meter just because an enemy approached from above and I had to manoeuvre across the entire room to be in a position to open fire. I think the lesson here is that the developer should give up on making batches of ten lazy, poorly designed games and focus on making one decent game. If he’d devoted the effort from the other nine games in this collection solely to Seeker, it might have been worth playing.

10 Amazingly Awful Games Vol 2 - Stormwheel


Stormwheel is a driving/shooting hybrid that reminds me very much of Action Fighter on the Sega Master System. The objective is to get to the finish line within the time limit while dodging hazards, shooting other cars and making blind jumps that require trial and error. As an Action Fighter clone, it’s fine. It does pretty much what that game did. The problem is that Action Fighter wasn’t much fun 25 years ago, and age hasn’t improved it. It isn’t offensively terrible but there’s really no reason to play it. It’s just not a fun way to spend your free time.

Terror Tunnel is a watered down Missile Command. Use a reticle to direct your fire against falling stuff. Hold the right trigger and move the left stick around. At one point I realised I was daydreaming about walking to the supermarket to buy lunch, but still successfully playing the game. Skip it like a flat rock on a tepid sea.

Viper Wing is a vertically scrolling space shooter. Hold the right trigger while weaving around. So bland that even its own description of itself uses the word ‘generic’. Presumably that’s a chortling display of the art of high parody but, as I said about I Cloned a Clone with Clones In It above, a parody still has to be a good game if you expect anyone to play it, or else be funny enough that people will forgive the mediocre gameplay. Going ‘ho ho, my game is intentionally generic’ at the beginning doesn’t qualify.

10 Amazingly Awful Games Vol 2 - Viper Wing

Viper Wing

All in all, 10 Amazingly Awful Games Volume 2 neither follows through on the grim threat of its title, nor really works as a fun parody. A couple of the games within are simple fun for brief periods, but there’s nothing here that can’t be found better elsewhere, usually very cheap. Admittedly you’re effectively paying a measly 8 Microsoft points for each game in the collection, but that doesn’t make it right. I wouldn’t forgo my lunchtime BLT in favour of munching down on eight boxes of toothpicks just because the price is the same, and you shouldn’t be tempted to buy ten games that occasionally manage to reach up and tug at the ankles of mediocrity. If you want all these games, it’s worth paying ten times the price for ten better versions.

10 Amazingly Awful Games Volume 2 isn’t amazingly, astonishingly, tourist-enticingly hideous. It’s just bad. I’d take one competent game over ten half-hearted ones any day.

Overall Rating: ★★☆☆☆ 

Reviewed from a copy provided by Boddicker Games for that purpose.

© 2012 – 2013, The Indie Mine. All rights reserved.

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Author:Alan Charlesworth

A medieval historian by training, Alan tries by day to balance impending doctoral research with branching into freelance journalism. He brings to bear his 25+ years of gaming experience to promote overlooked quality games and occasionally wax philosophical about the industry. Alan can forgive flaws, but is merciless with those games that have no respect for their audience. In addition to The Indie Mine, he reviews Xbox Live indie releases on his blog, www.theindieocean.com, and can be followed on Twitter @AlanWithTea

10 Responses to “10 Amazingly Awful Games Vol 2 – Review”

  1. April 20, 2012 at 12:01 pm #

    Unfortunately 10 Just Bad Games didn’t have the same ring to it as Amazingly Awful :p

  2. Lobster
    April 20, 2012 at 1:25 pm #

    Yeah, the whole “you can’t criticize me because I’m not really trying” thing stopped working in high school, and back then at least it was free.

    • April 22, 2012 at 6:56 am #

      I’m not saying anyone can’t criticise me because I’m not really trying. I have fun making the games, and some people will have fun playing them and buy it, some won’t and will not buy it. I have absolutely no problem with Alan’s review of my game or his criticism of it and have retweeted the review myself. This is his honest opinion of the game which I respect, I wasn’t here to say “You can’t criticise me” I merely left a comment.

      • April 22, 2012 at 10:16 am #

        It’s always good to see a develop take criticism with dignity. I made a point of saying more than once in the review that some of these games have potential if developed more fully. I can understand the thinking behind the compilation, but I think splitting your efforts between several games may not have been the best idea. I think you spread yourself too thin, so none of the individual games got enough attention to make them as good as they need to be.

        • April 22, 2012 at 12:20 pm #

          I think my main problem is with a lot of these games I’m treading water, each game I make gets a tiny bit of money until eventually I hope I can actually pay for a graphic artist to work on a game. My artwork is by my own admission absolutely dire, and I’m unlikely to get anywhere with the way my games look.

          I think I’d be happier going with a more ambitious game and really putting the effort in if I knew it was going to look the part as well, but with having to do the graphics myself I’m guaranteed to lose a lot of sales and trials through looks alone.

          Until I can afford to get decent graphic work done I feel I should just stick with games that I’m having fun making like this, it’s not so bad when a mess around game doesn’t do well but it would be pretty devestating if I invested all my heart and soul into a game and then that flopped because it looked like a 6 year old had eaten every colour of paint in the rainbow and then puked it on the screen.

          At least my programmer music isn’t quite as terrible as my programmer graphics :p

          • April 22, 2012 at 3:13 pm #

            I’d actually dabbled in indie development myself for XBLIG for a bit before realizing that I wasn’t going to be able to get anywhere without a dedicated artist. Even after bringing in some creative folk the project has fizzled out for the time being, but having talented artists on staff can really make a difference not only in the way the game looks, but also the motivation to keep working on the rest of the game.

            I didn’t make it through all ten games in the compilation because of time constraints, but I actually did enjoy the Space Invaders-type game Grid Warrior.

  3. April 22, 2012 at 3:34 pm #

    That art issue must be a tough one to overcome. Without an artist you can’t be successful, and without success you can’t hire an artist. I wish I could offer a solution. I can appreciate your frustration.

    The thing I find interesting about the reactions I’ve had to this review is that while most people agree that a couple of the games are (or could be) fun, no two people agree on which ones.

    • April 22, 2012 at 5:02 pm #

      I think in a lot of the cases it might not be so much that they enjoy a certain game but that it reminds them of an old game they used to enjoy. Most of the positive reaction I’ve had is from Grid Warrior, it was actually inspired not so much from Space Invaders as from an old Commodore 64 game called Gridrunner. The shield ended up in there because of Phoenix though. I say that I won’t do another one of these compilations,.but there is a chance it could happen again, it is a lot of fun to make as a developer.

      I may try for something where I can get away with the simpler graphics, again people seem to prefer the graphic style of Grid Warrior to the rest of the games on here and yet it has the simplest graphics.

      The left right fire in Seeker was done on purpose incidentally, that one was based on Nonterraqueous, another old C64 game. I did actually start a more fully functioned scrolling version of that game but it ended up not getting finished, I may go back into it and do that one next, though it will offer more shooting freedom when it comes to directions.

  4. April 23, 2012 at 9:30 pm #

    I’m excited to learn that you made money on these games! Way to go!

    This is just my impression from the few XBLA games that I’ve seen, but the standards for what is worth peoples’ money is much different on X Box than it is on a regular PC. I’m sure much has to do with the availability of games (the whole supply and demand thing). It is neat seeing simple little games making a few bucks.


  1. 10 Amazingly Awful Games Vol 2 « The Indie Ocean - April 21, 2012

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