Xenoraid review for PS Vita, PS4, Xbox One

Platform: PS Vita
Also On: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Publisher: 10tons
Developer: 10tons
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: E10+

To an untrained eye like mine, there’s not a whole lot separating good shmups from bad shmups. I’m sure those who know the genre deeply would disagree, but for me, it’s just a matter of degrees between the two. As such, when I find a shmup that breaks from the norm a little, I’m more likely to think positively towards it than I am towards a game that sticks closely to the formula.

Xenoraid, luckily, is one of the games that deviates a little from the formula. It plays with the tropes like limiting damage and overheating weapons by allowing you to swap between four ships. If one of them is running perilously low on life, or if your guns have jammed up and the screen has filled with enemies, you can quickly throw it over to one of your squadmates. While shmups already rely to a certain degree on quick reflexes, being able to swap between ships adds another level of twitchiness that definitely adds a little something.

Admittedly, apart from that, Xenoraid is large what you’d expect from a vertical-scrolling shmup: you control a ship around the screen as you blast away at wave after wave of successive enemies. Your weapons, naturally, are upgradable, and the game is generally all about shooting as many aliens as you can.

In other words, it’s what you’d expect from a shmup, but for one minor deviation. But you know what? That one deviation may just be enough to make Xenoraid checking out.

Grade: B-