A lot of the time, Indie games are forgotten due to lack of exposure and it is hard to compete with bigger titles. Everyone has to start off somewhere and shouldn’t be ignored because they aren’t published by a famous publisher or don’t have a three million dollar budget and a full team. Indie Spotlight is a feature that looks at an indie game and says what is good and what is bad about it. Indie Spotlight doesn’t give a numerical score to any indie game because they are in their own category.
Ambient Water is developed by Yaystuff and when it comes to creating games that defy the traditional use of an entertainment system they know what they are doing. Ambient Water is an extremely simplistic game; less of a game actually and more of a calming sound library.
Professionals are always stating that calming sounds help you study, sleep, calm down, and preform many other functions. Ambient Water provides six soothing water based sounds that do exactly what the experts call for. The six water sounds found in Ambient Water are: Beach (Beach waves), Rain (Falling Rain), Stream (Bristling Stream), Docks (Boat Docks), Falls (Water Falls), and Under (Under Water). Each are accompanied by a single picture that represents the sound. You can select between any of the six on the fly by moving the joystick and pressing “A”; you don’t even have to open the visual menu if you know the order.
All the sounds are exactly what you would expect and they are all very calming. There are only a few things that bug me about them. For instance, The Beach Waves and Boat Docks feel empty without the seagulls in the background or an occasional boat horn. Though Beach Waves has seagulls in the background, they aren’t clear and almost not there. Rain has a nice thunder effect making it one of the best in my opinion. Stream and Under are both very nice as well and very calming.
My final remark has to do with the still images, it may have been nice for moving video. Could have seen the waves hitting the beach, rain actually rolling off the leaves, a deer walking onto the screen and drinking from the stream, the boats bobbing up and down with the waves, the falls actually falling, and fish going across the screen. In my opinion this would have been a nice touch, but it would have taken away from the effect of the calming ambient sounds and instead you would have been too distracted watching the deer or counting the different fish that appear.
Although listening to sounds may not be the conventional use for the Xbox 360, it certainly is a nice use while studying for a test or doing your homework. I was listening to the Rain sound during the writing of this spotlight and it is amazing how fast I finished. Usually I have my TV on or I write a bit between levels and during loading screens.