Twitch shooters used to be a big part of my gaming life. I love the fast game play, unique weapons and replayability. Most of those games pit you against human opponents or really difficult enemy AI. Enter Xotic. There’s not that many enemies, no multiplayer, and completely combo based action. Does that stop this twitch shooter from being good?
The story goes, there’s this thing in the universe called The Orb. It becomes power hungry and begins infesting planets to absorb their energy and life force. It does this in the form of leeching entities known as scabs. These scabs attach to the flora and fauna and drain every bit of life out of them. You play as an insect warrior sent around the galaxy to kill the scabs and return the planets back to their former glory.
As stated above, the game is a first person shooter with a combo- and point-based concept. You can fire a primary weapon at glowing red scabs for points. Scabs produce a small explosion when shot and can set off a chain reaction that can destroy multiple scabs at once. This is where the combos come in. Strategically firing your shots at not only the right moment, but also the right area, is crucial for obtaining the most amounts of points. You will also find glowing “orb brains” that will offer up big points and point pick-ups.
During the missions, you can also obtain power ups that can increase your attack damage, point multiplier, give you regenerative health and many other buffs. Utilizing these power-ups and creating combos is the name of the game. Everything is point based, and you’ll be competing with other players via online leader boards.
There are enemies in the game. They come in a variety of flavors including regular attack drones, floating turrets and enemy spawn points that release these really annoying spider things. Killing all the enemies in a level will open the exit and allow you to leave. Most of these levels will take around 4 to 7 minutes to complete. Time is also taken into account when tallying up your score, so being quick on your feet will result in higher scores.
By completing levels, you will gain experience points that can be spent to upgrade your character’s health, energy and shields. You can also purchase and upgrade secondary weapons that include stunning electric blasts and homing insect missiles. The weapons can get switched on the fly during combat by pressing a direction on the D-pad. These weapons use up your energy. Once depleted, you will need to wait for it to recharge.
The game has a very unique art style. Bright, vibrant colors and out of this world character design really set the game apart from the average shooter. Of course, it goes well with the unconventional game play. The art style is all well and good, but it sometimes makes finding things rather difficult. There were times where I was getting shot but couldn’t for the life of me find out what was hitting me or where it was coming from. This can become an issue when finishing a level with the best score depends on killing all the enemies quickly.
The game would have been a lot of fun with some kind of multiplayer; kind of like a co-op Bulletstorm, but with less enemies. Unfortunately, the only way you will see other players is the online leader boards.
The only other real problem I had with Xotic was the jumping. You can jump with the left bumper. You can also drop a hard hologram at the apex of your jump to create a platform to stand on. This will allow you to create steps to get to higher places. There are also pick ups you can obtain that will allow for higher jumps as well as flight for short period of time. The real problem is that jumping is so floaty that you will miss your mark more times than not. Of course, after a few hours with the game, you’ll get used to it, but every once in a while it will rear its ugly head, and you’ll drop a combo.
For $10, Xotic is not a bad game. There are some missteps, but for a game that should be played in about 20 minute spurts just so you can get your twitch shooter on, it’s not a bad deal. The unique art style and combo based scoring can become addictive, if that’s your thing, but if you’re looking for something to blast a ton of bad guys and take on human opponents, you may want to look elsewhere.
Review copy of the game provided by publisher.