Mega Man, Metroid, Castlevania–these are names that cause a swelling of love to rise up inside of us, the gamers that grew up during the peak of the NES era. It should stand to reason, then, that we’d love the current explosion of so-called metroidvania style games that have come out of the indie-game boom; and we do love them … sometimes. Other times, they’re overly difficult, uninspired, or eschew the modern touches that would actually–dare I say–improve the classic formulas.
That’s why I didn’t try Xeodrifter right away. After all, for every Axiom Verge, there’s a dozen poorly animated get-hung-up-on-every-ledge platformers overfilling our libraries, and I needed to let my disappointment glands recover before trying another title that may make me miss the old days for the wrong reasons.
That was a mistake.
I really enjoyed Xeodrifter, and there are some good reasons why: the graphics aren’t at all simple, just low res. In fact, they’re beautifully crafted, and the four worlds that make up the game each have an atmosphere that is unique, while still fitting solidly into the title’s setting. The music is swell, too, though it’s not something I have to own on vinyl (such as was the case with Hotline Miami‘s OST). The controls are excellent, and I found myself just cruising around the levels like a kid would skip along the sidewalk.
The difficulty isn’t high, but I really enjoyed the boss fights. Strangely, there is only one boss, but it continually upgrades with each meeting, giving you new powers/actions to contend with. I encountered a couple of rage-curse moments,
but no rage quits. There are life and weapon upgrades throughout the game, too, the latter being customize-able (though I found power was all I really needed to augment).
The character, enemy, and boss designs are awesome, the designers forgoing the Contra/Turrican-esque hyper-detailed visuals for something a bit like an alien-inspired Mega Man. The boss design is aggressively cute, almost catlike, and the ultimate deathblow might make you feel a little guilty (but not that guilty).
The only downside about this beautifully crafted title is it’s length; I beat it, secrets aside, in about two hours. Still, the price is more than worth a purchase, and there’s something really nice about being able to complete a game without cursing your 5-hour play sessions the work day after. The title is also (and originally) available on portable systems, and would be a great train-ride or lunch break getaway. Get it, and
you aren’t likely to be disappointed.
Graphics: 5/5 – I loved the care given to the animations and pleasing design.
Sound: 4/5 – Almost amazing, but solidly great.
Length: 3/5 – I can’t help but want more, and that’s another compliment.
Worth it: YES.
If you play Xeodrifter and just can’t get enough, check out developer Renegade Kid’s other side-scrolling platformer, the awesome Mutant Mudds.