Friday, April 24, 2015

Xeodrifter (2014) - Nintendo 3DS

I've had my eye on Xeodrifter ever since I first heard of its release months ago, but I was on the fence about picking it up. I love "Metroid-vania" games, so I figured it would be right up my alley, but I have a bad habit of buying eShop games on my 3DS and leaving them un-played (an issue I'm currently trying to rectify).

8-bit glory.
Recently there was an eShop sale for Renegade Kid titles, however, and at about $5 I decided to take the plunge, put everything else aside, and finally play Xeodrifter.

Xeodrifter, as I've already mentioned, is an action platforming title that takes a great deal of inspiration from the NES classic Metroid. It boasts a pseudo 8-bit aesthetic, retro music, and non-linear gameplay, which all comes together in a wonderful nostalgia-fueled package.

The game, following its old school roots, is light on story, but follows an interstellar drifter who is exploring a cluster of planets when the warp core on his ship is damaged. You can only travel to the four planets in this tiny corner of the cosmos, but must find a way to repair your warp core to carry on your mission of discovery.

Bring it on, Boss Man!
You can travel to any of the four planets when you begin the game, but you will quickly realize that you require certain power-ups to access many of the areas in these alien landscapes. You can acquire these abilities by facing off with giant alien bosses located on one of the four mysterious worlds.

The drifter is equipped with a simple gun and the ability to jump when you begin playing, but as you battle your way and explore the four planets you'll find many power-ups that will give you more health and allow you to upgrade your weapon to take on the alien creatures you'll encounter.

The game is short, but sweet. I finished it in around three hours on my first playthrough. The pacing is great and keeps you enticed to play, but you can easily put the game down whenever you please. One problem I have with "Metroid-vania" titles is that I often lose my place. I legitimately keep a book where I record my steps as I play games in this subgenre so I know where I'm going between gaming sessions. In Xeodrifter, more than likely due to its simplistic nature, I never had an issue remembering what I was up to and having to backtrack significantly to figure it out.

My finished game file.
The controls are tight, the colours and retro-themed art style pop beautifully, and the music - although
at times a little repetitive - all come together to make for a really fun, accessible indie title. The only issue some people might have would be the length, as the game is a little on the short side. For a guy like myself, I enjoyed the short play time, but I can see where a title that's three hours long could be a problem for some. There is some inherent replay value to search out all of the health and gun upgrades, but I would say that I found most of them on my first playthrough, so that might not really flesh out the game enough for those looking for more bang for their buck.

All in all I can recommend Xeodrifter to anyone that likes a fun, retro-style indie game that doesn't break the bank and also won't take weeks to finish. You can pick it up on the Nintendo 3DS eShop as well as Steam for around $10.99 at full price, as well as a Special Edition on Steam for $16.99, which includes a download of the soundtrack and a development diary for the game. Xeodrifter is also slotted to be released on Xbox One, PS4, and Playstation Vita later this spring.

Hope you enjoyed,

No, thank you!