By: Jeff Cater
Xenoraid is a brand new shoot ‘em up in space done by the folks at 10 Tons. In it, you control an elite fighter squadron for the United States Star Fleet that must respond to a new threat has been discovered in our solar system.
You have four ships at your disposal throughout your playtime and can switch between them on the fly. You may upgrade them individually in order for them to further fill out their roles, like the pilot of the Buran will definitely want to be fitted with Improved Seeking Missiles so less of his payload goes to waste; same with fitting a Tanto fighter with an automated guidance system for his laser.
Mixing these fighters’ abilities depending on what type of enemy waves you’re facing is a crucial feature, and also a fun one. As you continue to pull the trigger, your weapon will start to overheat. By pressing any of the face buttons you’ll switch to the ship bound to that button, and a ship that has been temporarily “parked” has a much faster cooldown for its abilities.
Stages consist of waves of enemies bearing down on you from the top of the screen, and you have to weave in and out of their fire and negotiate obstacles with the left stick. The response in the stick feels great while still retaining a nice sense of momentum and weight in your ship’s movement.
You cannot really aim your weapon independent of your ship, however, so head in the direction of your target and squeeze that right trigger until you either break your controller or induce your weapon’s cooldown. Pulling the left trigger will activate your ship’s secondary ability like a speedy missile or tesla field, and those generally are not on cooldowns but are instead limited in use numerically.
Aside from a pretty standard campaign, there is a survival mode that starts throwing serious ships at you pretty quickly. The great thing about the campaign and Xenoraid’s survival mode is that both can be played in four-player couch co-op. It’s not the deepest experience, but it’s fast paced and packed with action. It’s sure to provide a great time to anyone who picks it up.
Xenoraid is an incredibly easy game to get into; it resembles most mid-90s computer shooters like Raptor or Firefight just with cleaner visuals. Nice, meaty explosions accompany neat weapons effects with some rather well-done backdrops, and a good variety (visually and mechanically) of enemy types to contend with.
The soundtrack is really enjoyable as well, and is done effectively and used sparingly enough that you won’t really that it’s pretty short and repetitious after a while.
Priced at just $10, Xenoraid has a light and easy to digest presentation, a super clear user interface, and is fun for anyone of any age.