Xenoraid doesn’t really have any aspects that have never been done before, nor does it add anything new to the space-shooter genre. However, it is a solid and plucky entry into the category of space shoot-em-ups that will keep you playing likely from start to finish in one sitting.
In the near future aliens are attacking Earth, who’d have thought it. If you arrived at this game hoping for a captivating story, you may want to keep searching.
You play as a squad of 4 human fighter ships who have to stop oncoming waves of alien scum. You are able to move all over the screen, as is required in order to dodge the constant barrage of gunfire heading towards you. The ship tilts left and right as you move as such, and rockets or bullets you fire will always fire directly forward in the direction your ship is facing. This means aiming can be quite tricky at first, though in the long run once you are more experienced with it, it makes taking down enemies much more satisfying as there was a much higher degree of skill needed to land the hit.
Enemies come in many shapes and sizes. Some big, some small, some round, some all kinds of weird shapes. Generally though, the only difference between them is their amount of health and the way in which they fire their bullets. The variation is quite nice and the pace at which they are introduced is very well crafted. The overall design of this game is good, it takes only a few missions to completely understand how the game works and to be able to play it to a reasonably high standard. Being truly good at the game however will take plenty of time and skill.
By finishing missions and killing lots of dirty alien filth, you will earn points which you can use to buy passive upgrades, or upgrade you squad’s ships individually. You can switch between ships at any time while playing, which can also be used as a dodging technique since the space where your ship should be is vacant for a second while the ships transition. This is a very nice design choice as it adds a core gameplay function to a mechanic that was already strategic in of itself.
Passive upgrades are very useful and not all that expensive either, at least not to begin with. Ship upgrades are useful too. To begin with you will have two ships with machine guns and two with shotguns. All have their own variation on a rocket, which is limited as it does much higher damage. Regular fire is unlimited, although fire too fast for too long and it will be required to cooldown. Upgrades for ships generally increase health, movement or the power of their attacks. If one of your ships is destroyed however, it is gone for good and you will be required to spend your points on another one of your choice. As well as these, you can also simply spend 50 points to heal a fraction of a ship’s health. The squad system is a very good addition to the game, as it adds much more depth and strategy to the game, as well as making the gameplay feel much more meaningful.
The graphics in this game are fairly appealing. The backdrops are nice and the particle effects are nicely made and not too over the top. The ships however do look rather bland, both for the humans and aliens. It would have been nice to at least see something unique in the way of enemy ship design but, they’re passable and it is easy to identify which ships will do different attacks just by looking at them.
The soundtrack could be better and, similar to the ship design, is kind of bland. It doesn’t aid the experience in any way. It could do with being faster paced and with a much better beat to it, I just found myself playing Spotify in the background and turning off the music in the settings. The sound effects on the other hand are completely fine. Explosion sounds are satisfying, which is good, because there are a lot of explosions.
You can pick this game up for around £7 on Steam which, admittedly, I feel is slightly too pricey for what is really on offer here. All in all though, this is a very well designed space shooter game that you will almost certainly have fun with, even if you’re not a particularly huge fan of the genre.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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