Platform Reviewed – PS4
Developer – Renegade Kid
Released – 1st September 2015
Verdict – Metroid on a Diet
Xeodrifter is a low key but very effective Metroid love letter from Mutant Mudds developer Renegade Kid. Every box is ticked but crucially some thinking outside the box avoids clone criticisms. Make no mistake, structurally this is a Metroid game. Areas are only available when a new power up is obtained, all hidden throughout a hostile alien world.
What Renegade does well is grant you a tweakable gun that fires the same projectile but with a choice of alternate patterns that lend a vital hand when you strategically use what’s best against certain enemy types. It gives a subtle sense of customisation without getting bogged down in deep RPG tropes. The world itself is split up into four planets. There’s not much to distinguish them but a variety in colour palette and ways to navigate add spice if enemy variety is left to be desired. Controlling your titular spaceman is smooth and tight and only feels better once you upgrade your armoury. Platforming is fun and responsive but greatly enhanced by the cool plane perspective shift that worked so well in Mutant Mudds. In Xeodrifter, switching your spaceman to the background is an eye catching gimmick but provides challenging moments during some fast paced platforming moments.
Xeodrifter falters with having only one boss to battle. Each encounter highlights another attack pattern but it becomes a monotonous experience when you meet again for the fourth or fifth time. Checkpoints are also a sneaky affair, saving only when you reach a boss battle meaning if you die on your way there’s a lot of ground to cover. For the first time, forward momentum can be more of a hindrance than the usual backtracking which incidentally there is plenty of.
Xeodrifter is one of those games that does what it sets out to do and succeeds. It’s a bite sized Metroid game with a few neat twists and not an ounce of fat to slow things down. This is stripped down, well executed jolt of action platforming.