By – Mike Andre
What a weird game. Alien, flawed, refreshing, boring, surprising, Xotic can be all this. Don’t let me scare you though, if you like weird things, read on.
WXP Games’s new creation plays like a traditional first-person shooter, except it’s everything but that. Your objective is to kill every enemy in the level so you can go the next one and, at the same time, collect as many points and powerups as possible. In between levels, you receive experience points which you can then use in new weapons and upgrades. None of this is new as many earlier arcade games played exactly like that but when you mix those concepts with some classic FPS action you get something pretty unique.
Good Concept, Problematic Execution
Problem is, we all know a good concept is nothing without a good execution. Sadly, and even though Xotic can be quite fun at times, there are too many problems for me to recommend it safely.
It’s a shame really because for the first hour or so the game can be quite enjoyable. The problems is that after that, once the novelty factor fades and shooting monsters in the face starts to become repetitive you’ll rather be playing something else.
Definitely contributing to that is the fact that most guns (or the gun and it’s multiple shooting modes to be more exact) feel unsatisfying and not that fun to use in the first place. Picture yourself shooting cardboard with a shotgun. That’s about the same feeling with some collision detection problems added to the mix. This alone can be fatal to a FPS, and the bad animations and awkward AI are not much help either.
I wouldn’t expect a high rate AI in a arcade game but in Xotic I’ve had enemies doing stupid things such as staring at me while I shoot them or suddenly turning their backs in the middle of a gun fight. In the other hand, they also do intelligent things like using obstacles as cover so it’s not like they are dumb on purpose, like the AI in Serious Sam or Painkiller.
A Lot Of The Same
But, unlike these games where you had a huge amount of variety in both locations and enemies, in Xotic you simply don’t have enough. Here you have 5 different locations (all of them looking very similar, unfortunately), and 3 basic types of enemies: the standard monster with its variants, stationary turrets, and the respawning kamikaze monsters along with their respective nests.
I understand that the rather small and, in some cases, almost claustrophobic levels probably don’t leave much room for enemies with significantly different patterns and behaviors but that’s no excuse for delivering so little. In a game where all you have to worry about is shooting monsters and collect points, I would expect a lot more than that.
Speaking of which, and even though shooting things to collect points might seem like an interesting gameplay mechanic at first, it can also get repetitive rather quickly. To turn things more annoying, you have to jump a lot if you want to be in a respectable position in the leaderboards or grab some specific powerups. And, needless to say, platforming sections in a FPS can only end in frustration.
Not everything about Xotic is bad though. Even though the visuals feel dated, the art style makes up for that. From the odd looking enemy designs to the composition of the levels, the game manages to be nice to look at sometimes.
The integration with Steam, namely the scoreboard, is a pretty nice touch as well and adds some replayability to the game as you might want to try to get higher up in the rankings once you’re done with the game.
Conclusion – Is It Worth Your Money?
Xotic’s concept is unique and the art style is beautiful but sadly it comes with quite a few (serious) problems. However it’s pretty cheap so if you are looking for something radically different and good to play in short bursts I think you might enjoy this. For everyone else I simply can’t recommend it because of all the problems I pointed out above, so buy it at your own risk.
- Time Played – 6 hours
- Widescreen – Yes
- 5.1 Audio – Yes
- Bugs – Sometimes bodies left behind, enemies sometimes stop moving, occasional problems with physics.
- Control Scheme – M/K or Gamepad
- DRM – Steamworks
- Availability – Steam
- Demo – Yes
- Review Specs – Core 2 Duo, Radeon 4550, 4GB RAM
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