Xotic Review – Freaky Alien Fun
By Michael Sagoe (Mikedot), OnRPG Journalist
Indie game developer WXP Games has just unleashed a strange new title that’s as fun as it is freaky. Xotic is an arcade style first person shooter that’s all about racking up mean scores for killing enemies, grabbing power ups and starting off huge chain reactions. It’s about as straight forward as a game can get, but let’s see if the core gameplay has enough going for it to warrant the small price tag.
The premise behind Xotic is simple: You're an alien dude with an alien gun in an alien world that must stop an alien orb from destroying the alien planet. Not much going on here in terms of a story, but obviously it's not the main selling point. You’ll be using your bizarre weapon (or should I say creature) called a Macroterra that morphs, mutates and transforms into various different gun. This crazy thing is your pistol, your shotgun, your sniper rifle and many other weapons all rolled into one.
Each level revolves around defeating several enemies including a "champion" enemy (which is really just regular enemies as a selected targeted) and finishing off the level while collecting power ups and score boosters as you go.
These elements alone would make for an average game, and if you're only looking to do one initial playthrough, you'll only be getting a few hours out of this, as enemies are pretty dumb and only exist in the game as kill fodder. The fun comes combining all these elements: killing enemies, grabbing power ups and shooting infected planets, all into one huge chain. With that in mind, Xotic is a game that demands to be replayed over and over, re-doing missions to improve your skills and your score, and then checking out the leaderboards to match up your puny score against the world. Getting high scores and perfect chains are tough, but just replaying the stages over and over just to see if I could get a perfect chain going gives the sensation of knocking over a bunch of dominoes… and it feels strangely satisfying.
Xotic uses those familiar FPS controls you’re all used to, and for the most part, the feel of the controls are decent. However, some collision detection problems were apparent that made my character get hung up on a few rocks, totally screwing up my runs. Running, jumping and platforming would have been decent if jumping didn’t feel so floaty, which makes halograms riding a bit annoying when you're trying to get off the ground as fast as possible.
Another issue with the controls is in regards to how fast you can switch weapons. Since the whole point of the gameplay is to dispatch enemies and shoot targets as fast as possible to maintain a high score, then why does it take a second or so to switch between weapon types? That mere second could be the factor that makes or breaks a good high score, and this small issue really effects the game’s pacing.
Overall, the controls work, but they could be better.
From a visual standpoint, Xotic has a nice and creepy look to it, with an overall design which is sure to please any fan of sci-fi. From a graphical standpoint, Xotic seems very dated, as textures look rather damp and blurry. Visual effects are constantly flying, making your PC screen look like it's about to barf up a rainbow (whether that's a good or bad thing is up to you.) Sound effects are average at best, and while the music here isn’t too bad, it doesn’t do such a great job in setting the mood.
Xotic sure is a strange game... A strange game that certainly doesn't push the FPS genre forward, but manages to provide decent fun for anyone that wants a little arcade action every now and then.
Gameplay – 4
Controls – 2
Graphics – 3