STAFF REVIEW of Xenoraid (Xbox One)


Tuesday, November 22, 2016.
by Brent Roberts

Xenoraid Box art For those who read this and think a PlayStation 2 is an antique gaming platform, bear with me one moment. One of the highlights I remember growing up, in what people know as "The Arcade Days", were the hours upon hours playing classic top down shooters. From the days of Galaga to now, these 2D scrolling shooters have been a warm blanket in the gaming genre. Not trying to be complex with a meaningful story, nor trying to be anything more than just enjoyable. Now developer 10tons has released a game called Xenoraid. Does this top down shooter hit its mark? Let's find out.

Earth has always wondered if they were alone in the universe, pondering the question if anyone or anything is out there. Well, in Xenoraid we finally get our answer. In true 'Independence Day' movie fashion, aliens begin to invade the Earth's space. We try to communicate with them (because that always works in the movies right?), only to find out that these aren't peaceful aliens, or stupid Star Wars Phantom Menace Trade Federation aliens, but they are rather the Samuel L. Jackson hostile anger management type. I've just now made the plot of the game more entertaining than it actually is; you're welcome. The game is set within a series of stages and each stage has up to 10 individual levels. You complete missions and earn coins for completion and can use this 'currency' to upgrade your ships, but there's a bit more to it than that.


You get a total of 4 different fighters to control which are mapped out and assigned to your four face buttons A, B, X, Y. The gameplay mechanics are incredibly simplistic as the Left Stick moves your ship and the Right Trigger fires your primary weapon, with the Left Trigger firing your secondary weapon. The beauty of this is that you are able to select and configure your loadouts how you want to, should you have the coins to purchase it. Upgrades to your primary and secondary weaponry, along with other ships, means you should be ready to spend a lot of coin (see what I did there). But if you think repairing your ships costs a lot of coins it’s not nearly as much as it costs to replenish a defeated ship.

From the beginning you're given a small amount of coins which you can either spend on your ships in terms of individual upgrades and purchases, or you can save them for bigger and better things. You won't have full access to all available perks at the beginning as you will have to unlock them as you complete missions.


The whole entire upgrade system is the reward hook and we all took the bait. It's the reason that you will want to continue the missions no matter how repetitive they may become. See, in most top down shooters the object of the game is to not get hurt, but in Xenoraid the object is to switch out ships to help dodge incoming fire. Have your guns overheated and the screen is filling with enemies quickly? Don't dodge their fire until you can shoot, swap out your fighters and continue the assault. Sadly, though there are issues here, being the control system, and even though it's very simplistic, is very, very soft. There are improvements you can buy to help with this over time, but for the most part it almost feels like you're using 'The Force'. Since you can only fire straight no matter what, you'll start to quickly adore the ship swap feature.

While the sluggish play control is a big setback I should also mention that the campaign cannot be completed in single player mode, but only local co-op. This is a major blow because incorporating an online multiplayer aspect would be incredibly beneficial as it would allow more people to play together thus increasing sales. Not incorporating an online multiplayer system effectively limits your audience. And that isn't just in the single player mode, but the survival mission mode as well. This mode is your only other option for gameplay and is essentially a Horde-like Mode, but in a 2D vertical scrolling shooting game. You're timed as to how many enemies you destroy, time spent alive, and other metrics; however, like the single player, co-op in this mode is local only. Those two things really set this game back a light-year.


Since this 2D vertical scrolling shooter isn't trying to be incredibly realistic, or even highly polished, it's graphics offer what I'll call a rustic charm that was found in these types of games throughout the years and decades before. It's certainly not going to win any artistic awards but at the same time it will provide much nostalgia for those that remember those "The Arcade Days". The soundtrack though is period perfect. That high intensity electronic music almost makes you wish you had quarters to put on the screen to indicate you got next game.

If you're a fan of the 2D vertical scrolling shooting games then Xenoraid will undoubtedly be a must buy for you. Priced now at under $10 this game should be on your radar. Yes, there are some hiccups along the way, such as no story, soft play control, and no online multiplayer connectivity, but the customization and build structure of the game lends itself to hours of enjoyment and fun.




Overall: 7.0 / 10
Gameplay: 7.5 / 10
Visuals: 7.5 / 10
Sound: 7.0 / 10

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