Xbox Indie games tend to coem in three flavours. There are those that I class as the “shouldn’t have bothered” games that really are not even worth the very small amount of money that the devs are charging. Then the “you get what you pay for” games that actually are good, but limited in some way, and worth the asking price. Finally the “I feel like I have ripped off the dev” games that are so full featured and impressive that you really can’t believe that they cost such a small amount.
Cutouts!, developed by Rob Louie (more on him in a minute) is an old school, side scrolling platformer with an irresistible charm. What will hit the player first is the graphical style where everything within the gaming world is made from felt. Yes, I said felt. You know, like the fuzzy felt that we used to play with as kids. Although fairly simplistic with it’s detail, the overall effect of using this underrated material is nothing short of amazing.
Beyond the visuals, everything else is as you would expect from a classic side scrolling platformer, with lots of jumping, both over environmental hazards and on the various meanies that you come across. There is also the collecting of buttons to provide the player with extra lives.
The game plays across three different worlds, with three levels in each. This is one of the games only flaws in that it is over far too quickly. There is a lack of depth and once the nine levels have been completed, there really is not much of a reason to come back for more.
As an overall package, with the stunning visuals, short length and average gameplay, controls and sounds, CutOuts! fits quite comfortably into the “you get what you pay for” category of Indie games, where the game may have some flaws, but is unoffensive and worth the asking price.
What makes the game far more interesting however, is the manner in which it was made. If ever there was a good indication of a developer to watch in the future, this is it. Rob Louie, the man behind CutOuts!, made this game all by himself. That’s all of the visuals, the sounds and everything, made by one man in seven months. And that is seven months whilst attending school and holding down a part time job. I am sure that you will agree that it is quite impressive. Imagine what this guy could do with a budget, a team and working on it full time. Keep your eyes peeled as I think we will be seeing a lot more of Rob Louie.
Cutouts! is an unoffensive game that will give older gamers a nice sense of nostalgia, whilst the younger gamers will find it easy and enjoyable to play. It is well worth the asking price, if only to ensure that the dev goes on to make bigger and better games. If nothing else, it goes to prove one simple fact: The world needs more fuzzy felt.
CutOuts! is available on the Xbox Live Indie Store for just 80MSPoints.