Video Game Review
Xbox 360 (Xbox Live Indie Games)
Developed by: Xona Games
Published by: Xona Games
Space Invaders clones are a dime-a-dozen in the gaming sphere although they’re less prevalent in today’s age than during the golden age of the arcades. To simply dismiss Xona Games’s Decimation X as a clone of one of the originators of the shoot-em-up genre is selling the game short. That being said, it’s not much different from Space Invaders. The graphics are not much better and the action is very similar (think of the original game but as if it were on steroids). Decimation X is a pretty good game at a great price that will easily suck away much of your spare time.
The concept of Decimation X is almost a direct copy of Space Invaders. The player controls a ship and needs to defeat all the enemies that are floating overhead before they land on the ground. The player has a few barriers to protect themselves from enemy fire although these slowly disintegrate as they’re being fired upon. The similarities end there as Decimation X turns up the volume exponentially. Enemies are aggressive and quick, firing a non-stop barrage of bullets. While the first couple of waves are easy to deal with, it only takes a minute or two before the screen is blanked out by all the firepower raining down from the top. Power-ups can be obtained by defeating enemies; sometimes one at a time although once a certain amount of enemies are defeated, a layer of power-ups fall from the sky for the player to try to collect before they disappear forever. The game ends once the enemies overcome the player (you can only prolong the inevitable for so long).
Graphically, there’s not much to talk about when it comes to this game. This game is designed to have a retro feel to it and it works very well. However, there are flashes of modern design interlaced with the retro look. Despite mostly being white sprites on a black background, the game has flashy pixelated explosions and special rainbow coloured sprites. The game runs at a very quick framerate which makes the action incredibly intense. Even though it’s not the game’s big selling point (as some could argue that the graphics are quite rudimentary), it has a certain charm that matches the aesthetic of the game.
The soundtrack is interesting but it does get tiring after a while. The game features only one musical score that plays on a loop. Although the music does help to build the franticness of the game, the modern electronic music seems out of place for a game that graphically looks like it would be something to come out of the 80s. More tracks would have been nice and with it the ability to select different styles. The sound effects are great and really add to the feel of the game. Even though they’re not realistic, the sounds match the style of the game and compliment it well.
Xona Games did a very good job with Decimation X. Sure, you can’t help but think that you’re playing a Space Invaders clone while playing it but considering that Taito seems to be out of the Space Invaders business, these game feels like what would be the natural evolution of the game. As an Indie game, it’s a good value as this game has a low price and will easily waste plenty of your time. It’s solid fun that feels like a step back in time.
(There will be a video review of this game up on the site later this weekend)