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Sunday, August 16, 2015

Article: Revisiting Xeodrifter on Wii U

Hello again.
We've already covered Xeodrifter. This Metroid-alike is simple in design and execution, but it hits all the right notes, which is not a feat even Team Ninja is capable of (sorry, guys). However, it feels just a big too short and too straightforward to justify its original high price. But now, if you buy one version on a Nintendo system, you have it for the other! Whoo!

Having played the game before, I wanted to see which version I felt was superior, and if maybe revisiting this title would change my opinion in any way. In some ways, the Wii U version HAS changed my opinion, and in other ways, it hasn't, really.

Xeodrifter is still as chunky-looking, atmospheric, and enjoyable as ever, and my second playthrough of the game lasted roughly three or four hours, though obviously this time I knew where to go and what strategies worked for the normal and boss monsters. I noticed some intricacies in the level design and how certain things are hidden, and though I'm still missing about three more collectables from my arsenal before I'm at 100%, I think I now know where to look. It doesn't make hugging walls and shooting any more fun, though.

I remember feeling that Xeodrifter was a very hard game, but upon my second run through, I barely had any trouble- I think I died twice, once because of a stupid move and the second time because of a weird boss pattern. Otherwise, the movement and attack options of most of the wildlife don't really feel all that precise and are often exploitable. The boss battles were easy to jump back into, their movements feeling a bit more telegraphed than usual, but that might just have been because of the larger screen.

Something that has not improved the game in any way is the limitation to one screen that Xeodrifter has made in order to accommodate Off-TV play. Having to pause the game in order to access weaponry and view the map is... disappointing, to say the least. The game originally felt so fluid because you saw the map fill in as you continued to explore and knew your path back, but now those things are limited to a pause screen and you can't really switch your weapons on the fly for the same reasons.

One of my greatest praises for the original 3DS version was the freedom of the weapon system and its quick-switching action- I know it is a momentary pause that separates one weapon build from the other but it does slow things down just a bit. Also, the lack of 3D isn't game breaking, but the shifting sure looks nicer when you're playing with your mind on the 3DS screen. Overall, Xeodrifter is still a great game, but the Wii U version is not the ultimate edition. That's really okay, though, because it runs smoothly, has great design, and it's a blast to play, even if only for a short while.

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