This is Gaming Cypher’s PC review, done by John Pruitt, for XENORAID by multiplatform game developer 10tons Ltd..
Xenoraid is a scrolling shoot’em up arcade style game that will keep you on your toes for hours. The artwork is well done and the effects are visually stimulating. The system requirements also don’t require too much from your computer, and the soundtrack promotes a consistent sense of urgency to safeguard the human race. If you are a casual gamer who needs to kill some time, or even a competitive gamer for the leaderboards, you may want to add this game to your stockpile.
The gameplay reminds me of old school genres that included minigames in between sections, namely the airship missions in Jade Empire. There are a lot of games that include the scrolling shoot’em up style, but Xenoraid incorporates it very well. Die-hard fans may be disappointed that there are no power-ups, but you can purchase upgrades for each individual ship. You learn fairly quickly which of your ships are better suited to use in given situations and there are plenty of tricks you can pick up along the way. One trick in particular that the game suggested was using the “swap pilot” mechanic in order to dodge incoming fire. I would also try to figure out which ships/weapons worked best with certain alien types. Often times I would miss with all my missiles and overheat the primary fighter’s machine gun. I also spent some time learning how to maneuver in the Survivor mode, which is an endless stream of enemies pouring out of space to destroy you. Asteroids are pretty overpowered, so you might want to watch out when a procedurally generated cluster rushes towards you. Survivor mode is a fun aspect to include in addition to the campaign, and you can find yourself on the leaderboard once the aliens are through with you.
The controls initially feel kind of erratic, but you get into the rhythm as you play through each mission. A mission generally does not take up too much time depending on how quickly you take out all the enemies. As you hit checkpoints you are free to come back later at any point, and it works out very well. The mission details give you a heads up before you nose dive into an alien swarm about how difficult it will be and how much money you will receive. All the while, you have to keep up with the upgrades from the research center and you have to perform maintenance on your fighters. You do not necessarily get the best budget, so the games makes you think strategically about how you are going to proceed throughout the campaign. To make things even more interesting, there is a multiplayer aspect, which allows you to play with 2-4 players in local co-op. The addition of multiplayer increases the game’s replayability and offers the chance to share the experience of an alien onslaught. See how far you can make it before being overwhelmed by xenoraiders.
I did not think the story was anything to get excited for, but the dialogue kept me interested enough to push forward. Some parts are repetitive like hearing that there’s going to be a new enemy type, but it’s fun to actually fight the enemy for the first time because you don’t know what it’s capable of when it first flies into your field of vision. There are more than forty missions in which you can use a combination of fighters. I personally enjoy that the pilots are named and can receive promotions. I’m the type of player who fell in love with my XCOM characters, so when I get a pilot killed I feel a small sense of guilt because that person’s death was on me. To make things worse, you can see their last words right before they blow up on the left side of the screen. One of my major complaints from a level-design/storytelling perspective is that when you finish an area in the campaign, and begin again in a new sector, you do not carry those characters over. You don’t keep your upgrades either, but you do get access to new fighters.
Overall, I think this is a solid game. For the price of ten dollars, I would definitely recommend trying it out. Just keep in mind it is a game focused on the gameplay aspect as derived from old school minigames. Xenoraid does its genre justice by making the experience challenging yet fair. I think a fair rating would be 8.5 out of 10.
Watch the new Xenoraid trailer:
Xenoraid is now available for PC on Steam.