Xenoraid is a space-themed, top-down scrolling shooter from developer 10tons, who’ve simply currently launched over JYDGE, Neon Chrome and Time Recoil to the Swap. Whereas these had been twin stick shooters with numerous ranges of choice and narrative, Xenoraid is much extra ‘straight up’, every figuratively and really.
Xenoraid isn’t a bullet-hell, fast maneuvering ‘shmup’. Most games in the genre traditionally have the the vehicle move at a consistent speed no matter where the player is directing it, very light and floaty, to keep up with the intense action of a thousand bullets or lasers coming towards you in a matter of seconds where if you fail, you will try to memorize its pattern and get through it better next time. The enemies in Xenoraid are procedurally active. While there’s always a specific number and certain types of enemy per mission, when they show up and how they will maneuver will never be the same. Partially because of that, Xenoraid is also all about player control first. Ships have a certain weight to them. Moving either left or right will cause the ship to tilt in its direction effectively allowing the player to shoot diagonally. Cosmetically, the ship sways in the direction you are going and compliments the feeling of the controls. Each fighter has a primary weapon and secondary weapon and you’ll soon realize that upgrading your favorite fighter might take priority over buying a new ship and vice-versa.
There are no pickups in each level. Secondary weapon ammunition are limited. Guns can also overheat. You have to be mindful of how much you are firing and not carelessly spray into the empty void. Each ship has their own health bar and damage taken is carried over after the mission in which ships need repairs by spending credits obtained. As one would expect, once a fighter has reached 0 health they cannot be used, but it’s not as simple as repairing a completely totaled ship. That fighter is gone permanently, upgrades and all. Perhaps you’d rather spend credits on armor and upgrading one or two ships instead of having 3 or 4 ships that have less features. It’s up to you. Completing each mission will earn you more credits so the choice to become more powerful will always be granted after each mission and luckily you can buy another fighter if you lose one, though it’s always best to retry the mission in order to keep upgraded ships. You also earn additional credits when ships move up in rank from more time played with them. Pretty much any gameplay mechanic in the game can be tailored to your advantage.
Xenoraid’s campaign contains just over 40 missions spread across 5 different chapters. You can choose to go it alone or have up to 4 player co-operative play locally to make it things more fun.
You begin each chapter with 4 fighter ships and 1000 credits which you can spend. You’re welcome to sell every ship but one for credits if you wish, or spend the credits you have by upgrading ship abilities. There are two categories of main upgrades: “Tech Lab”, which include offensive/defensive upgrades that will apply to all of your ships universally, and “Fighter’s Bay” which via menu behaves like a garage where you can repair, buy or sell ships, and upgrade each ship individually. More of either type of upgrades, as well as ship variants, unlock as you progress through the campaign. Owning 4 ships is never a bad thing and although it’s not required to play each mission, much of it falls to the player’s decision. You see, each ship owned behaves like an extra player in reserve. You can deploy and take control of only one fighter at a time per mission, but the others are in reserve which you can swap out on the fly (so to speak) on the battlefield.
There’s more than the campaign. There are in-game achievements for completionists waiting to be obtained, though the first 5 are earned naturally during the campaign. There’s also Survival Mode with three stages to choose from all with their own online leaderboard. The game is $9.99, but will be $8.99 during the launch week making it a nice action title and gets the Kasanova Seal of Approval.