For his birthday, one of the things I gave Drew was some Xbox credit to explore indie games. The games on there are all between one to five dollars, and while a lot of them are unplayable or uninteresting, the best games are well worth the money. This time, Drew discovered this one-dollar gem: Super Amazing Wagon Adventure.
On the surface, it’s a side-scrollling shooter, which is not my favorite genre. But the skin makes up for it–we start out with three heroes (use the auto-generated names or make your own) traveling west in a wagon. They must kill deer and collect meat and pray they don’t spontaneously get pneumonia…all the while fighting off machine gun toting bandits, leaping over rivers, and fending off hungry bears, giant bats, and the occasional horde of buffalo.
The events of the game are random, which means on the occasional trip our heroes might leap too far and have to fight aliens in space–wagons and all–or happen upon some “edible” mushrooms and have to fight off their inner demons…anything is possible. Beat one of these random adventures and unlock better (or harder) wagons. The unlockables and the randomly generated events make the game very replayable–we’ve still not run into every unlockable, and we’ve played it a bunch of times.
It’s available for PC and on Xbox Live Indie. Plus, it’s at least as educational as Oregon Trail. (Here’s what I learned from that one: no one actually made it to the west. They all died of dysentery on the way. The end.)