Old Incentives, New Mechanics
I’m sure most of us remember playing Galaga when we were younger — it’s a great game that for many of us started our journey as gamers. I recently replayed the original Galaga and while it’s a blast, I couldn’t help but wish it had some modern features. When I heard 10tons was releasing Xenoraid, a modern Galaga-like game for Nintendo Switch, I was really excited. Was the excitement justified or is Xenoraid a basic Galaga clone?
Xenoraid has the same cliche space story that by now we are all used to: aliens are invading our planet, so we humans find a way to modify old spaceships into war machines. I found Xenoraid‘s storyline to be one of 10tons’ best yet, despite it being pretty cliche. There wasn’t any character development or even any meaningful dialogue, but it didn’t need to have any of those because the goal to stop aliens felt personal and gave me reason to continue shooting my way through waves upon waves of enemies. Xenoraid doesn’t offer the longest campaign ever either, but the campaign was clearly not the focus of the game — it is there for those who want to get better in preparation for the survival mode.
Although Xenoraid follows much of the same old style that you would expect it to, there are some new gameplay mechanics that make the entire game more unique. The game lets you have four ships, which represent your lives, except that each ship has a different firing style and special ability. While this may seem like a simple addition, it adds the opportunity for so many more things to come along with it: for example, the addition of upgrades where you must make clever choices as to how you will use your coins to further survive the war, and on which ship to spend those upgrades.
The game’s beautiful art design also adds to making the game feel modern. The backgrounds were beautiful to look at in both handheld and docked mode.
Choices All Around
Upgrades aren’t the only choices you will have to make in Xenoraid; the order you use your pilots and against what enemies will make a difference to just how long you can survive. This adds a whole new layer of freedom to Galaga-style games that I never knew I needed, which in turn made for a much more meaningful experience.
The real focus of Xenoraid, as mentioned earlier, is its survival mode. In this mode you can choose between three planets (representative of easy, medium, and hard difficulties) and will fight until all your four pilots are dead. The survival mode can get quite difficult especially on hard mode, but it never feels cheap, instead it feels like a deeper test of your skills which is something I quickly came to love. The longer you survive, the more points you earn, which will place you on a leaderboard that ranks you against both your Switch friends and the world.
Left Wanting More
I mentioned that the campaign wasn’t long and I feel like that is one issue with Xenoraid: it doesn’t have much replay-ability. There is the survival mode with its leaderboards, but how much longer that will keep you playing will depend on how many people purchase this title. Outside of survival mode, I would’ve appreciated rankings in the campaign mode, as it would at least made me want to go back and replay levels for better scores.
System reviewed on: Nintendo Switch.
Disclaimer: A review code for Xenoraid was provded by 10tons for this Xenoraid review.