Xotic: Review (PC)

Game Review: Xotic
Release: September 16, 2011 (XBLA Sept, 30, 2011)
Genre: Indie Arcade Shooter
Developer: WXP Games LLC
Available Platforms: Steam, PC, XBLA
Players: 1
MSRP: $9.99
ESRB Rating: Teen

There’s something compelling about distilling the sometimes complicated formula of FPS games into a simple run and gun arcade style shooter. Xotic focuses more on high score, multipliers, and item collection than killing endless waves of enemies and bosses. The game’s high score board is divided between a world-wide list and one that compares you to gamers from your general area.

The story of Xotic is a bit forgettable, but involves you being tasked with cleansing the various parts of the game’s world you’re placed on by removing all infections by the “Orb.” Along with shooting the red tainted growths within a level, you also must defeat the scattered enemies that inhabit the environments. As you clear each level, you will see the red taint replaced by vibrant, luminescent plants slowly taking hold of the planet.

Xotic Screenshot

Xotic feels much like a cross between Bulletstorm‘s high score FPS bonanza mixed with TimeSplitters 2‘s simplified enemy A.I. and shooting mechanic. At first, I felt myself fighting Xotic’s controls, but with a quick increase of the mouse movement speed, I was in charge of the situation. The game’s floaty jumps also seemed like a hassle, but with time I saw that they could be used to increase scores and get out of hectic situations quickly. Along with jumping, you’re also given a decoy that acts like a shield, and portable platform which becomes essential in the later levels.

When it came down to it, I had a lot of fun with Xotic, and enjoyed challenging myself by seeing how my high scores compared to people near me and around the world. The upgrade system also allowed for me to customize my choices in weapons, as well as how my character’s armor and health grew as I progressed through the game. Xotic is an indie game that shows great potential, and is only a few small improvements away from being a top-notch arcade shooter.

What I’d like to see in a sequel to Xotic is a bit more variety in the enemies, environments, and ways to score within the game. The enemies came in a few central types that used higher armor or different color patterns to help distinguish themselves from one another, which made the game repetitive. With the environments, I’d like to see more than just 3 separate themes, and I’d also like to see a bit more variety within the levels of the game. Even though there were quite a few levels, for the most part they all felt the same and had very little different in their layouts. As for the ways to score, I’d like to see points for how enemies are killed, as well as more variety in how the points are given when cleansing the environment.

For an indie game, Xotic provides an experience that is both simple and challenging all in a fairly polished package that’s well worth its price tag. The game’s focus on high scores adds a replayability that will keep you busy for a few hours past the point your beat the campaign.

+Inventive, plant/insect based weapons

+Highly customizable load-outs for your character

+Fast paced, arcade shooter action

-Not much variety in the environments

-Simple enemy A.I.

Final Score: 8 out of 10

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