Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Carlo's Take: Xenoraid Preview!

(This article contains information and opinions about an unfinished product, which may be different in the foreseeable future.)

Flying and shooting things with a spaceship in a 2D plane seems like something that has been done many times over since the times of the arcade machine. So what can 10 Tons bring to the table utilising such an aged concept?

Let's start with the gameplay, and essentially if you've played one of these types of games before, you can expect a similar experience here: you maneuver a ship around the screen that progresses forward at a fixed pace, dispatching the foes which come at you from different sides of the screen. It's also a game best played with a gamepad/controller, as the keyboard and mouse controls, although fully rebindable, don't have as good of a feel to them when playing.

How Xenoraid attempts to shake things up however, is with the addition of different kinds of ships and an overheat meter. The overheat meter just prevents the tried and true tactic of holding down/button mashing the fire key, and the ship type variation assures you are equipped for different situations with scatter guns, laser beams and flamethrowers making up some of the arsenal.

Each ship has a pilot, and there are upgrades that affect individual ships and ones which affect all of them. You can take 4 on each mission, and can switch between them after a short time. If you choose to play in co-op, then the other person takes control of one of these ships and limits the amount each person can use. It's an okay system that you get used to, although it's nothing that changes the game entirely.

Xenoraid itself handles quite well. The ships control smooth and responsively, and shooting and switching ships is fluid. Fun to play and easy to get into, anyone can pick it up provided you have extra controllers. If it's too easy for you, you can also turn hard mode on, and there is also an extra survival mode just as an added feature.

The sound is average at best. While the soundtrack carries a familiar sci-fi, space faring tone, there is nothing about it that stands out. It serves its purpose, much like the sound effects in the game - while they do sound decent, they don't sound as impactful and futuristic as they could do.

Visuals and story are basic. You fight aliens on different areas around different planets, and new characters command your pilots along the way. It doesn't do much to set up a universe or to connect with characters, and something like that would have been appreciated. The overall aesthetic of the game is cartoonish. I felt the game itself looked fine, however the characters in between the missions could have used more work. They weren't as detailed as they could have been, but given how little it focuses on them it doesn't matter as much.

Overall the game as it is now is a mixed bag. I feel its simplistic style would more suit it towards a mobile console such as a Vita (Which it is coming out for) rather than the PC, but it is a enjoyable experience best enjoyed in short bursts.I would recommend it for a short playthrough for people who are fans of the genre that enjoy them purely for the gameplay - because there isn't much else that's excellent about it.

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