Thanks to 10Tons for the review code
System: Switch (eShop)
Release Date: 11/17/2017
Xenoraid looks pretty darn dull, using 2D art that’s animated rather stiffly for the ships and enemies, leading to a not-so strong first impression. Backgrounds during missions typically consist of colorful stars or random planets, and don’t really make much of an effort to stand out or do something really eyecatching. Inbetween stages, NPCs will talk to you to brief you on the story (so generic and forgettable I decided to not even bother talking about it) and help you with the status of your four ships, with a UI akin to that of JYDGE when these scenes take place. This menu, the one for the Tech Lab and the design of the NPCs are by far the best looking parts of the game that don’t come across as cheaply made.
The main gimmick of XENORAID is that you retain ownership of up to four ships that you can swap out on the fly with the four face buttons on the controller, while you use your weapons with the shoulder buttons. Each ship has their own health bar and weapon to use, which means that if one is severely damaged or if one has a special weapon you’d prefer to use, you can easily swap them out in a pinch as you clear through waves of enemies across multiple missions. That being said, you do have to clear multiple missions in succession before hitting the checkpoint of each world, and if you happen to fully die on say, stage 6, you’ll have to redo Stage 4 and 5 again just to get another shot. This checkpoint system is pretty irritating, but at least the levels don’t take an eternity, although redoing them over and over again if you have constant trouble does suck.
The good news is that you can choose to use the small bits you gather from destroyed enemies in order to purchase a variety of things, from upgraded weapons for the ships to permanent enhancements that will stick around afterwards. This can make a tough stage that you’re stuck on a bit easier if something specific is giving you trouble, but for the most part the game isn’t really that tough unless you want to gather all the in-game achievements, since a couple of them can be tricky. (although a lot of them are basic) You can even part up with a co-op partner to have some extra firepower on hand, in both the main game and the score-attack based Survival mode, but this wasn’t a mode I was able to try for the purposes of the review, as I stuck to being purely solo during the time I spent with the game.
In conclusion, XENORAID is a pretty average shooter with not much to be impressed by. The four-ship mechanic is OK at best, having a few backup ships to swap with on the fly, but the overall flow of the game doesn’t do much to stand out, and that combined with the $10 pricetag makes this game not really something that I feel is worth that price in the slightest, even compared to other great 10Tons titles such as Jydge and Tennis in the Face. Maybe it’ll appease you if you’re into games like these regardless of presentation and lack of variety, but it didn’t do much for me sadly.
I give XENORAID a 5 out of 10.