Developer Peter Cleary and publisher Digerati present XenoRaptor for review. XenoRaptor is a twin-stick shooter with a heavy focus on score multiplying and customization. It aims to provide a fun combat experience through steadily escalating waves of opposition in different environments.
XenoRaptor is a meat and potatoes twin-stick shooter. There’s your customized space borne robo destroyer versus the waves of enemies that have come to topple you. Aesthetic customization is initially unlocked so that the player can alter the color scheme of their ship to their liking. Further options, such as different primary and secondary weapons, are obtained by playing through the various fields and getting higher scores by avoiding damage while racking up kills in each wave. Survive a handful of waves, and you’ll tackle a random boss from a variety of wily or gargantuan threats. If you want a partner to join along, XenoRaptor makes good use of the Nintendo Switch’s built-in double controller system for split-screen cooperation.
I’ve played through so many bad and frustrating ports of existing PC titles that XenoRaptor‘s straightforward approach to twin-stick combat is nearly refreshing. Not excellent, mind you, nor is it particularly memorable in any strong way. But for the Switch, it’s a decently solid title that takes advantage of the multiplay-ready nature of the system while delivering a decent array of escalating thrills in combat.
This isn’t a twin-stick shooter with the accelerator welded to the floor like Assault Android Cactus. The first few boards of XenoRaptor will likely feel dull to gamers used to immediate and intense levels of arcade difficulty. If it feels like a slog to start, maybe a bit too easy, give it some time to escalate. The empty fields of the first few waves will feel completely different by the time you have to pay attention to the asteroids meandering indifferently through the cosmos. Then you’re going to have to start thinking about the weapons you use – maybe the rapid fire gun is too imprecise when the enemy has somewhere to hide while you overheat, or the missiles less effective when you can’t control the target they’re heading toward.
That’s where XenoRaptor‘s large level of customization works well. As the boards escalate in threats from the enemies and environmental hazards, you gain access to a variety of options that let you feel out the combat in expansive ways. XenoRaptor incorporates these different combat options using a control scheme that makes good sense of the shoulder and face buttons available to the player. It’s a bit difficult to control if you opt for the multiplayer option just because of the comparatively tiny space available to each Joy Con. But if you have access to an extra controller, the split-screen action is a burst of fun for two players.
Playing with two players is also the preferred way of going through XenoRaptor. The waves of enemies are easier to hunt down and one big problem is how an enemy can stay just off-screen to prolong the level. Generally, the enemies will hunt the player down, but when there’s only one left there were several frustrating instances where I’d be zooming toward the enemy for a couple of minutes with no contact. Two players help cut down on the time drag when this happens, and it’s unfortunately often enough that I’d start to notice the lack of a strong creative hook or odd decisions like a sniper camera (which puts the camera further ahead only resulting in whiplash and reduced visibility behind the player).
Game was played and reviewed using a provided review code of XenoRaptor for the Nintendo Switch
XenoRaptor is a clear and simple twin-stick shooter that could be a fun time for two players. Playing solo, the simplistic nature of the combat and customization may feel shallow. With a friend, it allows for dual expression of play styles while sharing in some decently paced destruction.
- Solid controls, a wealth of customization, and a shifting battlefield combine for an interesting escalation of combat.
- Two-player mode is perfect for the Nintendo Switch.
- Little innovation- playing about an hour will give most players the full scope of the experience.
- AI issues when trying to wrap up waves by forcing the player to chase after single enemies for sometimes minutes of no combat.
Prognosis is Fair