Xenoraid Review

Lachlan Bruce

Another week, another release by 10tons. At this rate they will own half the Switch eshop!

In the not too distant future, an alien fleet is spotted heading towards Earth. All attempts at communication have failed, and so we must ready our current spaceships for war and take the fight to them. The story may be simple, but it is effective at setting up the world and getting you straight to the action.

Xenoraid is a shoot ‘em up style game, where you must destroy all enemy ships that come at you. You have free movement to fly where you please, but you are limited to firing straight ahead toward the top area of the screen. However, unlike most shmups (shoot-em-ups), as you bank left and right the angle of your shots change, which makes you think about your positioning in a different way than you usually would in this genre. You can also switch out between 4 different ships on the fly, which gives you a few frames of invincibility as your craft change out.

Xenoraid Switch review

Set lasers to stun

Speaking of the 4 spaceships, each one has a different main and sub weapon type, from your standard machine gun and missile combo to a flamethrower and EMP grenade. Each craft is different in size and control differently, making choosing the right ship for the job very important. For instance, when having to weave through asteroids you will want to use one that is small and nimble, where if you are facing a heavily armored foe you will want to change to a big ship with heavy firepower. They all have individual health too, which can force you to change out your damaged ship for a fresh one or face a heavy fee to replace a destroyed fighter.

Completing each level nets you credits, which you can spend between missions to upgrade and repair your ships. You will need to do this, as the enemy ships you encounter get much stronger as you progress through the story. The upgrade mechanics aren’t deep at all, but it is a nice touch. In addition to upgrades, you can spend credits on tech advancements, which can up your damage output or even add extra defensive capabilities to your ships that you don’t have to personally control.

Xenoraid Switch reviewNow what should I spend my credits on…

Unlike other shmups, Xenoraid has randomized enemy patterns. This could be a deterrent for veterans of the genre, but I found it rather refreshing. It added a bit of tension, not knowing when or where an enemy would fly, and having to react to gunfire rather than memorize the routine of each level.

Besides the main campaign, there is also a survival mode. This is just your standard “endless hoard of enemies come at you until you die” affair, which is great fun and gives you something to do after finishing the story. These are also score based runs, so if you are into leaderboards then get excited, cause this game has them.

Xenoraid Switch reviewSee, I told you there was leaderboards

The graphics are a little bland overall, with the backgrounds being the worst part of the game. The ship designs are nice, and seeing different thrusters activate depending on the direction you move your craft is neat. The bullets are white dots which really stand out against the space backdrop. This is great in a shmup, as dodging incoming fire is arguably the most important part of the genre, and clearly seeing what’s coming at you goes a long way in helping you stay alive.

The music is subtle, and mostly un-interesting. It is never distracting, but also never stands out. The sound effects however is where this game shines. The sound of your guns are deep and feels like it has real weight, as if you are firing a powerful weapon. The explosions are satisfying, and it was hard not to smile when hearing that loud bang from a downed enemy.

Xenoraid Switch reviewIt would be so peaceful if not for all those darn aliens

I had a great time playing through Xenoraid. Avoiding gunfire, cycling through spacecraft, and slaughtering enemies was a pure joy. This game is great as a handheld game, and it is perfect for playing in short bursts through a level or two before continuing on with whatever event your partner has dragged you off to (I hope she doesn’t read this). Although this is not the best shmup out there, it is still an enjoyable one, and worth your time if you are a fan of the genre.

A code for the game was supplied for review purposes.

Good

  • Solid controls
  • Great sound
  • Satisfying gameplay

Bad

  • Bland music
  • Graphically uninteresting
  • Short campaign
7

Good

Lachlan Bruce
Lachlan is a long time gamer from Australia, favouring RPGs and 3d platformers. He is a musician and rabid NFL fan. Lachlan has an unhealthy fascination with the Sega Saturn and spends far too much time playing retro games and the latest Madden, rather than tackling his ever growing backlog of new releases.

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