Although Microsoft only brought one Xbox One game of its own to PAX South (the highly anticipated State of Decay), our favorite company's presence mostly focused on indie games for Windows – be it PC, phone, or tablet. They called this showcase the Texas Indie Game Lounge. Games available for play in the lounge included Shroud of the Avatar for PC, Gravity Gunners (ID@Xbox), Raising Hell, the Gordian Knot, and Greeble 2.
Developer Fractal Fox's Greeble series tasks players with rescuing tiny creatures called Greebles from the gaping maw of a giant monster. Whereas the first Greeble only appeared on iOS, the sequel will launch on Windows Phone, Windows 8 and RT, Android, and iOS. I got some hands on time with the tablet versions during the show and quite enjoying the monster-tapping game play. Read on for full impressions and an exclusive hands-on video of the upcoming Greeble 2!
An ancient predator returns
Whereas the first Greeble was an endless-style game with little story to speak of, Greeble 2 introduces a proper campaign mode with story. The narrative revolves around the peaceful Greebles' struggle to evade and defeat the Litchkin, a gigantic predator that threatened them long ago. You'll meet a variety of characters that often voice genuinely clever and amusing dialog.
The Greebles live in a tree. In the first level I played, the voracious Litchkin attacks the tree. Innocent Greebles constantly fall from the tree towards the Litchkin's waiting maw. To save them, players just need to tap each Greeble before the Litchkin catches it. The more Greebles the Litchkin eats, the higher it rises on the screen and the harder the level becomes.
Greebles must be pretty tasty, because the next level finds them pursued by a gigantic insectoid monster. The protagonist Greebles race down the inside of a tree via elevator while the hungry beast chases from above. This time, the Greebles you have to save rise from the bottom of the screen, mixing things up a bit.
The monsters' presence on the tree corrupts its fruit, which occasionally flies by during the elevator level. Tapping the corrupted fruit will harm all of the Greebles on-screen, so you'll need to avoid it.
Meanwhile, the view gets darker as you get deeper into the tree. Luckily, yellow Greebles start to fly by around that time. Hitting a yellow Greeble will cause it to stay in place and light its surroundings for a short while. You'll have to decide how early to hit the yellow Greebles, as you might want to spread your light out a bit or replace one that's about to go out. New types of Greebles will appear in other levels as well.
The seed has been planted
The story mode will consist of at least 12 levels, with the possibility of future updates bringing more levels. Once players complete the campaign and save the Greebles, they'll unlock an endless mode similar to that of the original game.
Greeble 2 will be coming to Windows Phone, Windows 8, Android, and iOS within the next few months. It will be a premium game, and a universal purchase on Windows platforms. I really liked what I played of it on Windows 8 and iPad; the Greeble-tapping gameplay should work great on phones as well.