I personally love a good twin-stick shooter so anytime a new one comes along I take a look to see if it’s worth playing. XenoRaptor from publisher Digerati and developer Peter Cleary is one of the newest ones to make its way to consoles and it has you piloting a space ship called a cyberdragon and fighting off a space skeleton armada. Does it do enough to warrant a purchase for fans of the genre?
One of the first things I like about XenoRaptor is that it gives your the choice to play through the game by yourself or with a friend in Splitscreen co-op. The Campaign is free to play either way you choose so pick your poison. There is also a Boss rush mode you can play which is a nice extra should you get tired of the main campaign. That campaign mode pits you against waves of enemies across numerous planets. The game has three different difficulty settings to choose from but the game can still be hard even on easy. That’s because there are things that can still kill you in one hit if you aren’t careful even on easy whether it be certain enemy attacks or environmental objects.
Every world in the game pits you against 10 waves of enemies to blast through with you having to face a boss at the halfway point and at the end. It’s here though that I run into one of my main gripes with the game and that is that it seemed to take far too long to progress. You have an on screen counter that tells you how close you are to finishing a wave but it seems to go down very slow despite the huge number of enemies you are defeating. Another problem is should you die at any point in one of these ten waves you are forced to start over from the start of that level which feels too punishing for the long time it takes to clear each wave.
Controls are fairly simple with the Dualshock shoulder buttons firing your main weapon and special weapon. You also have a dash button and of course the two sticks control your movement and aiming direction. As you fire your main weapon it can overheat and this is yet another issue I have with the game. I’m not a fan of a game built around you having to constantly shoot putting something in there that restricts you from doing just that. If it does overheat you have to wait for it to cool down or use coolant found from defeating enemies. I’ve played a lot of twin-stick shooters and I don’t know that I can think of many great ones that have their weapons overheat if you fire too long. I’m just saying that there is probably a good reason for that. The game offers you the ability to customize your ship when you go to your hangar but to do that you have to back out to the main menu. Here you can equip new weapons, engines, hulls, and customization items that you’ve unlocked from defeating bosses in the game.
The visuals in the game look OK at best and the backgrounds are pretty much static. They are colorful at the very least but this game isn’t going to come close to wowing you visually. The soundtrack is also lacking although the sound effects of the weapons and enemies blowing up were pretty good. Those interested in trophies will find 12 in total here including a Platinum. You’ll have to kill so many enemies with certain weapons, score 1 million points, unlock 20 items, and complete certain fights to earn them all.
I love a good twin-stick shooter but XenoRaptor just isn’t one of them to me. It works and controls just fine but the rate of progression takes too long and the fact that your weapon can overheat is a bad design choice to me. It doesn’t do anything to stand out and rather just does things that make me want to recommend you pick up one of the many other twin-stick shooters out there.
*XenoRaptor is available now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. Reviewed on a PS4 Pro. Review copy provided by the publisher for this review.