Our Favorite Type Of Hell
It would appear as if budget titles
and remakes with extra content
have been flooding the eShops of both the 3DS and Wii U lately, many of which are fun to play despite the low cost, but some ultimately being forgettable. XType Plus is both a budget title and a remake with extra content, but is it worth even the low cost of $3, or is it just another half-baked Indie title at best?
To set itself apart from its browser and Apple App Store freeware originals, XType plus has different modes to choose from, with a new Plus Mode exclusive to this version. There's also a Classic Mode, and for each mode there is an online leaderboard showing All Time, This Week, and Friends versions of the leaderboard. These additions, along with an arguable better control scheme than its predecessor's versions, make this the definitive version of the title and worth the extra $3 even if you own one of the other versions.
Classic Mode, if you're unfamiliar with the game, consists of taking down bosses one by one, and each time you defeat a boss, another one with even more firepower takes its place. You can defeat a boss by taking down its main part, which is somewhat bigger than the other parts of the ship, at the center, and unique. You must avoid getting hit by any missiles, bullets, or lasers, however, as you only have three lives that never regenerate. Once you get hit even once, you lose a life, though there is a somewhat small hit box for enemy projectiles to hit you; we were almost certain many times of our demise just to see that the enemy bullet apparently hadn't hit us. There is no time limit, but it's advisable to just keep moving forward with the game and shoot the entire game -- there's no penalty for shooting whatsoever. You can also shoot the missiles (but only the missiles) if need be, but they aren't much of a problem in Classic Mode. Once you get the incredibly simple and easy to pick up controls down (move with the left stick, move the right stick to shoot in that direction), you'll undoubtedly want to rack up as high a score as possible and even try to get to the top of the online rankings. Points are given to you with a twist in XType Plus, though, as you'll get points for destroying any part of the boss ship, but you can multiply these points if you aim closer for the center of the ship. If you manage to destroy an entire section of the ship by aiming at a sector closer to the center, every segment that relies on that sector will also be destroyed, and you score will go up a lot faster. Keep in mind that it's also harder to destroy these sectors until you defeat the ones connected to it on the outside, though, so it's up to you to decide if you want to be a bit more reckless and go after the harder to defeat sectors or stay back and destroy the boss ship more slowly, and at a sector a time.
The newly added Plus Mode has a few changes from Classic Mode, but they could make a lot of difference in what your strategy may be. Missiles will home in on you in Plus Mode, along with a timer and EMP Bomb functionality being added. It's a bit more important in this mode to look out for, and if needed to shoot, missiles in this mode. The timer starts you off with about two minutes of time, but while you have infinite lives in this mode, getting hit will reduce the amount of time you have left, and every time you get hit the amount of time reduced gets bigger. On the other hand, though, every time you defeat a boss you get time added to your timer, and the more bosses you defeat, the more time you get added back to your timer when you defeat another boss. If you can manage not to die often, and continually shoot the current boss, accumulating plenty of time in your timer should be an easy task. However, not dying isn't easy once you get to the bosses in which the game really does become a bullet hell -- which will happen in both Classic Mode and Plus Mode -- but in Plus Mode, you have three EMP Bombs which you can detonate in order to clear the screen of bullets. Use these bombs wisely, though, because you only have three available, and just like lives in Classic Mode, these never regenerate unless you get the Game Over screen. Plus Mode offers an interesting but equally difficult mode to play in if you're tired of Classic Mode.
The graphics in XType Plus are crisp and pleasing to see, along with being easy to understand. There are only a few music tracks in XType Plus, and none really adds much to the experience, serving mostly as background filler music. The music didn't really bug us though, we just stopped really noticing it after a while. There are a few other small things in the game we found to be quite useful, though; for instance, if you're playing the game with the Wii U GamePad, a bar shows up showing you how close you are to getting a score higher than the next person up on the online leaderboards, along with what that score is. After you get past that score, it goes up to the next score, and so on. You can also see how many bullets you've shot and how many enemy bullets you've dodged using the Wii U GamePad. Unfortunately, you cannot play XType Plus off-screen, which seems to be a missed opportunity and perhaps will be added in an update in the future. Another small but helpful part of the game is the ability to download replays off the leaderboards, which can help you if you're struggling in the beginning. You can speed up these replays too, which is great because some of the better players have longer runs. The only other thing I'd like to mention here, while not being intentional, is this game appears to freeze a lot, with it having froze on us four times thus far. We're not sure if it's just our Wii U though, or a common problem. Besides this, we noticed no other bugs.
For an affordable price, this easy to pick up and play game is well worth the purchase. If you're a fan of shoot-'em-ups, endless runners (of sorts), or even competing online to be the best, this game is really a no-brainer for you. The new content, plus the online leaderboards really optimizes the experience and can become addictive. It's the type of simple game quality we hope to see more of soon.
Overall Score: 8/10
Review copy provided by Phoboslab.