Great Shot Kid! One in a Million!
By Brett Wolfe
Reviewed on Xbox One
Released on November 8th, 2016 on Xbox One and PS4, also available PC
Developer: 10tons Ltd. Publisher: 10tons Ltd.
Attention Recruits!! You are the first line of defense against this threat! Your lives are at risk and you may not survive, but you are the only hope! Do not disappoint! Welcome to the War! Xenoraid is a top-down shoot ‘em up developed and published by 10tons Ltd. While based on Outpost Enceladus, an alien signal is intercepted on their warpath on Earth. You take control of four fighter pilots in an all-out war against an alien race heading towards Earth.
This title contains five chapters described as battles that contain various missions with checkpoints intermitted between. In addition, there is a survival mode that contains three different maps. This title reminded me a lot of Space Invaders mixed with Ikaruga. The simple level designs and mechanics, which gave the vibe of Space Invaders, the atmosphere added Ikaruga to the mixture. With this in mind, the game is not a bullet hell kind of game, it is actually kind of easy. This title differs from the usual shmup with the ability to control four different characters at the same time. While a large portion of shmups have co-op (this one included) the single player modes usually have you play as a single character against the enemy combatants. The ability to have four different pilots changes the game completely from other games in this genre. If there is an enemy too strong for one of your ships, enlist another ship that deals more damage. If your ship is too large to maneuver throughout the asteroid field, go to the smaller, more mobile one. This concept changes the game entirely and puts more strategy into your gameplay instead of just giving you a badass character that can take on 10000 enemies. It is wise to know that if you are not careful and switching out ships when they are needed, you will lose ships quickly! At the beginning of each battle, you are given four pilots with a base rank. Take out a bunch of enemies with that certain pilot, you will rank up. Each pilot can level up three times and each rank will grant a sum of credits into your account. These credits can be used to buy both Tech Upgrades and Ship Upgrades. The Tech Upgrades are perks that will affect each of the ships and are kept throughout the entire battle. These abilities are interesting and are really helpful in a battle. A couple of my favorite upgrades to use were the ability for the most damaged ship to receive full healing after a mission and another addition to each ship that would shoot flares to pull large projectiles away from the ships. Ship upgrades, on the other hand, are ship specific and change between different models of ships. Some examples of these would be the ability to shoot the ship’s weapon faster or the ship’s specific heavy weapon will do more damage. Xenoraid includes a perma-death aspect in which if a pilot dies and you complete the mission, you are assigned a new pilot at the basic rank. This is very similar to the feature that is prevalent in titles like XCOM and because of this I treated my characters as I would in XCOM. The Ship Upgrades are the primary reason for putting a strategy into your gameplay and trying to keep your characters alive.
The visuals of this game seem standard to similar shmups that have been releasing lately. The asteroids and the ships (both friendly and opposition) have this fascinating science fiction appeal and the background looks like paintings. The backdrop of space is mesmerizing and is really enjoyable to look at. The soundtrack, on the other hand, is kind of average. The triumphant noise that plays both when entering the being victorious is simulating and sounds great. The other sounds in the game like the normal chatter and gun fights, however, just get annoying after a little while and do not bring anything special to the table.
When I received this title in my inbox for a review, I did not know what I was getting into. I had not heard anything about the game and the most that I know was that it was a shoot ‘em up. I was familiar with 10tons work and knew that they delivered a great experience, so I was excited to dive in. I was not disappointed at all. The game instantly got me hooked and I couldn’t stop playing it. However, I did find myself getting frustrated a little bit. After beating the first battle, which is pretty much a tutorial level, I noticed myself losing ships. This is where I started realizing the benefits of strategy with this game. I recommend that when playing this game, do NOT make one of your pilots the hero of the fight. Switch them out frequently whenever they are either damaged or they are just not the right fit with the enemies that are presented to you. You will lose a lot fewer ships this way. Plus, the more combat that each pilot sees the more likely they are to level up.
Overall, Xenoraid is a super enjoyable experience that I would recommend to anyone interested in it. I have not played a lot of the co-op, but the entire game can be played in up to four player co-op. While it can be a little frustrating at first, just be patient and learn the enemy attack patterns. If you are interested in a cheap title ($10 USD) for either single player or co-op experience, I would check out Xenoraid!
Note: A copy of this game was provided for the purpose of the review.
Final Score: 8.5/10
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