Xeodrifter (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Renan Fontes 15.02.2018 4

Review for Xeodrifter on Nintendo Switch

Length, while important, hardly matters if the actual content isn't up to par. The longest videogame isn't guaranteed to be worth playing, and the shortest can be as worthwhile as any long journey so long as its content leaves an impact. Renegade Kid's Xeodrifter is one of the shortest Metroidvanias on the market. Reliably beaten in fewer than three hours, it's hard not to approach the title without a bit of scepticism. Exploration is a key aspect of the genre, and three hours of exploration isn't the most appealing sell. That said, that doesn't mean the content explored isn't worth exploring.

As was to be expected from Renegade Kid when it was still active (now Jools Watsham's Atooi), Xeodrifter embodies the team's seemingly endless charm. The soundtrack is pleasant, with a fair share of catchy tunes, the graphics are simplistic but not without a defined style, and the colour palette allows the sprites and backgrounds to pop together in an easy on the eyes blend. When it comes to pure aesthetics, it's hard not to appreciate Renegade Kid's charismatic production. While that charm tends to leak into the gameplay quite frequently, take Mutant Mudds for example, this isn't exactly the case here.

Screenshot for Xeodrifter on Nintendo Switch

It should be stated that Xeodrifter is by no means bad. It accomplishes its goal of being a bite-sized Metroidvania and it does it creatively enough. The problem, instead, ends up being the creativity taken in crafting such a short-term, exploration-based, action-platformer. In place of an interconnected map commonly found within the genre, the world is split into four, smaller maps. In theory, these four worlds are an interesting alternative. The developer doesn't need to worry how each section interconnects with the other and can instead focus on a tighter, more consistent layout. The actual end result, however, does very little with the separation. The four maps don't benefit from being apart as they don't really offer any kind of specifically self-contained exploration.

Screenshot for Xeodrifter on Nintendo Switch

The disconnect between the four maps likewise leads to a disconnect between travelling from world to world. Backtracking is to be expected in a Metroidvania, but it's typically paced in a way where most players don't realise they are backtracking until the deed is done. Because of the inclusion of a pseudo-hub, backtracking between maps is painfully obvious. It also naturally leads to another issue: false non-linearity. While the four worlds are all available from the start, there is an actual intended order. Again, this is something common for the genre but it comes off poor when most of the map is available at once, even though progress is impossible in most areas. It also takes away from that feeling of stumbling onto an unreachable area early on only to return later with the proper upgrades. This still happens, of course, but it doesn't feel as natural or meaningful since players aren't guaranteed to try their hand at the same order of worlds.

Screenshot for Xeodrifter on Nintendo Switch

The gameplay is another great idea that isn't handled with the grace it needs to thrive. The drifter's gun can be enhanced and customised with several upgrades found throughout the four worlds. The variety present in gunplay is genuinely exciting and gives the gameplay an extra kick. Unfortunately, the game design hardly ever allows for a scenario where the gun's variety of customisation is put to the test. Regular enemies are bland and easy enough to kill with the default gun, and bosses are incredibly samey. There's no real instance where the gunplay is actually challenged.

While it can be easy to get lost in Xeodrifter's flaws, the exploration is well done for what there actually is to explore. Worlds feel disconnected, yes, but they are filled with enough nooks and crannies to investigate. Upgrades are rewarded at a healthy pace and the short nature does lead to a satisfying, constant feeling of progress. It's just undercut by a short playtime. It's admirable that Renegade Kid decided to go forward with a miniature scaled Metroidvania, but Xeodrifter could have been so much more if it had so much more.

Screenshot for Xeodrifter on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

While certainly charming and cleverly designed for its short length, Xeodrifter ultimately feels too disjointed for its own good. Separating the overworld into four, smaller maps is a good idea in theory, but the disconnect between stages takes away the interconnected feeling of exploration Metroidvanias thrive on. Bosses themselves are also a big letdown, especially since the weapon customisation would lend itself well to more varied foes. It's even difficult to recommend Xeodrifter as a beginner's Metroidvania since the early game is far harder than everything that comes after. It's endearing enough and can kill an easy three hours, but there are better Metroidvanias to choose from.

Developer

Atooi

Publisher

Atooi

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

Del_Duio (guest) 15.02.2018#1

I have this for the 3DS and I agree the boss fights are all basically the same enemy with added moves. Not worth the $9.99 IMO, I don't know how much they charge for this on the Switch but it's probably around the same.

$9.99 / £8.99 on Switch. I'm intrigued if this had anything updated in the transition from 3DS to Switch, or if it's just a quick visual polish and ride the Switch 'Nindie' hype train to easycashville.

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

Adam Riley said:
$9.99 / £8.99 on Switch. I'm intrigued if this had anything updated in the transition from 3DS to Switch, or if it's just a quick visual polish and ride the Switch 'Nindie' hype train to easycashville.

dont do it!
its not really a good game. 

even at $9.99 its over priced.

should be $1.99

IIRC, Xeodrifter was a PS+ title a few years back. I played a bit of it.
As soon as I saw the first instance of boss re-use, my interest in continuing with the game dropped immensely. 

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