Grabbed Xeodrifter with the rest of September’s PS+ Titles. If you haven’t done so, I highly suggest you get it while it’s still free for the month. It may be the best of the offerings for September. Started it on PS4, but then found more enjoyment playing it on Vita. Xeodrifter is a great pick up and play experience. Even if I was only playing for fifteen minutes or so I always felt like I was making progress. This is due to the overall design of the game striving to do one thing; to provide the most concise Metroid experience ever made. Nothing is superfluous in Xeodrifter.
Xeodrifter offers very little to the player on the outset. Your ship is marooned in a small system of four planets. You need to fix your warp drive and you can only do so by exploring the four planets. Pick one of the four and check it out, you can jump and you can shoot in four directions. Good Luck.
It has a soundtrack that reminds me of a Gameboy Color game, and that’s not a bad thing. The death jingle that you will hear over and over can get stuck in your head and I’m not sure if it is the rage or the jingle but always makes me want to jump back in and give it another go. Its graphics are what I hinted at before, a very boiled down Metroid looking host of levels. Each is a different color and require numerous trips back and forth. I didn’t get a super strong feeling of awe due to the levels not being that well differentiated between each other, but I’m not sure if it matters. If we’re sticking with this conciseness thesis, then I dig it, you have a blue level, you have a red level. Good enough.
Each level has the same spacely smattering of enemies that don’t necessary try to kill you as much as block and slow your progress. This may help make it a nice speedrunning title. So, not impressed by the enemies, but once again, not sure if it matters. They serve their purpose and they become easier to defeat as you begin to upgrade your abilities. There are three things you can upgrade in this game, once again focusing on simplicity. Your health and your gun can be upgraded by finding their respective items hidden in the four levels. Gun upgrades can be placed into one of five slots that affect how the bullets are fired. For example, you can make it fire slow but large projectiles, or make it fire something like a wave beam that covers a large swath of the screen. The locations of these upgrades vary. Some are obvious, some require later skill upgrades, and some are hidden in secret passages that may not be easy to spot. Skill upgrades are only obtained by defeating the game’s bosses.
Once again, we’re back to discussing this idea of conciseness. Hear me out. There are seven boss fights in this game. In each one you battle….the same boss. They turn him a different color each time and give him one new move. This was kind of a sticking point between the different editors here at PSNStores, but I’ll offer my take as to why I think this was a perfect design choice. After every boss battle, you are awarded a new ability that helps your traversal of the planet. In almost every case, this ability will come into play in the following fight that you have with the boss. Xeodrifter upgrades its boss just as it upgrades the player. If you agree with me on this zen minimalism that I believe the game is going for, than this boss offering is perfect. Not only is your toolbox growing with each boss defeat, but so are the tactics that you employ. The single boss idea could have been a tragedy, but I believe it was an expertly executed idea that makes you feel like you are constantly progressing and growing within a relatively short game (There’s a trophy for finishing it in under and hour). It took me probably 3 or 4 hours to finish, but to the unpracticed, this game demands a pretty high standard of perfection from the player. You’re expected to make it to the boss’s lair in one go, and that means only being hit a few times. Some may be turned off by single checkpoints before a boss fight, but I think it only adds to expectation that Xeodrifter has for its player.
In such a short game I don’t feel it necessary to go into extreme detail about the different skills you collect. There are some genuinely cool skills given and the later one I wish could have been used a little more before finishing the game. I’d rather not spoil any of them, because one of the early skills is truly cool and really helps give this game a single unique aspect. Instead of hearing me describe them, go take a few hours and collect them, you’ll love the run ( and may think about playing through it again right after).
A copy of this game was downloaded through PlayStation Plus for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here.
What I Like:
- Great on the go
What I Dislike:
- Few enemy types
- Same goes for environment