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Member Review: Decimation X - a retro inspired Xbox Live Indie Game

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Quote Originally Posted by Dhalamar View Post
A neat little 80 point retro inspired shooter Ö mix the left to right gameplay of Space Invaders and Galaga with bullet hell and you get Decimation X. An insane, fast paced, and sometimes infuriatingly difficult arcade shooter with support for up to four players locally.

Of course, there are a few bullet hell style shooters in the indie games section, but they generally fail miserably. This on the other hand gets it right. But if youíre looking for a walk in the park, this may not be your game.

And this is definitely a game. Thereís no storyline anywhere to be seen, you could make one up yourself though. It doesnít need it. This could easily be in an arcade machine from the 80ís or early 90ís.

The presentation isnít mind blowing by any means whatsoever in regards to just the general graphics, but it definitely gets the job done with nice explosions, and a frame rate that never dips regardless as to whatís going on. The enemies are very simple and rather neat looking due to that fact, easy to see shots that are a son of a bitch to dodge sometimes (but that comes with the territory). The simplistic sound effects work nicely with the overall look and feel of the game. There isnít anything exactly wrong with it as far as the graphics and sound go, itís just a bit basic. Oh. And the music. I could easily see myself just sitting back and chilling out to this techno soundtrack which really helped me to get into the game. I just couldnít picture playing this without that kind of music.

Now to the gameplay, which is for me the bread and butter of a game like this. Itís a bullet hell shooter in every sense of the word. The screen will be FULL of them. All you do when you start the game is fight off wave after wave after wave of enemies that move left to right or right to left depending on how you want to look at it shooting. And not even particularly AT you, they just shoot. A LOT. You have the shields that they chip away at that provide a level of protection, which you could probably gather from the screenshots. But there is also a neverending supply of powerups that donít do a whole lot with your weapon Ö but at the same time it does a hell of a lot. They mostly just increase the level of your attack over and over again in a seemingly endless array. Soon enough youíre going to be filling the screen with as many bullets as the damn enemies. And there is also a neat shield powerup that creates a large temporary area around your ship. And also the occasional powerup that will completely rebuild the onscreen shields. Being that itís a bullet hell shooter, if you donít like the idea of using pixel perfect accuracy to dodge bullets, this probably wonít be your game because thatís where itís stifling difficulty comes from. Itís an extremely accessible game, ANYONE can play this thing. But it gets REAL hard REAL quick. The highest Iíve been able to make it so far is level 20. And judging from the trailer for the game the levels just go on and on and on into infinity. There is so much happening on screen at once it gets a little insane, which is why I kinda say itís the Bayonetta of shooters for the 360 in the fact that from start to finish it just doesnít stop Ö except in a few cases. The one big problem I have with the game is the fact that the entire game comes to a SCREECHING halt when you die. You explode, the enemies stop in their tracks and stop shooting, and your character makes his way slowly from the right side of the screen to the left side THEN you start playing again. I can understand WHY it does that, but it just takes me out of it a little bit having to go through that. Thatís part of where the infuriating part comes in because of the game just stopping DEAD in itís tracks when you die. Iíím more into ďdonít stop the game when one dies. Just respawn them in the same spot with a few valuable seconds of flashing invulnerabilityĒ.

And the difficulty seems to ramp up pretty damn quick when you consider that it may only take you about 30 seconds to a minute clear a level. So after about 5 or 10 minutes of playing the game, if youíre as terrible at these types of games as I am youíre probably going to see ďGame OverĒ. But if youíre also like me, youíll probably keep coming back to it just because itís fucking FUN. As I said before, this does have multiplayer support, but seeing as how itís ONLY local Iíll never use it because I just donít personally EVER do multiplayer sitting on the couch with someone else. I havenít done anything like that since the 16 bit era of systems just because online gaming is so prevalent for me. Which is a big disappointment because this game with online multiplayer would rock. And it would be cool to see some screen filling boss, and maybe there IS and I just havenít gotten far enough. But not encountering one isnít really a big deal for me. But it would definitely add something to the game to see that every 5 or 10 waves.

8.5 Ė Itís simple, it doesnít bother with any kind of story. It just sticks you straight into the game where you just try to survive as long as possible. Itís an insanely fun shooter that doesnít try to be anything BUT that. Itís disappointing not to see online multiplayer however, and that brings the score down a bit. There is a high score list, and apparently that list will be global eventually, which is awesome and will also serve to remind me how TERRIBLE I am at these games when I start seeing people reach level 10 trillion or something. But yeah, this is THE best shooter in the indie games section of itís type right now and is definitely worth a buy whether youíre into these or not. At only 80 points, what have you got to lose. Youíll either love it like I do, or youíll play it, get pissed off at losing all your lives by about level 20 or 30 or whereever you do and go through it again just to get further. Hrmm Ö maybe I fall into both those categories.

--

Originally posted on my site (which is linked in my signature) on January 16th, 2010. And the developer responded with a comment about what I said about the death sequence.

"Thanks for the great review.

Iíll debate the death sequence here, for all those who care.

Death in games have become more and more easy to handle and easy to ignore. Death in our game MATTERS, because itís a score-running game and every life matters to get the highest score. But in beta-testing, players play as if death doesnít matter. What is wrong with them? They have gotten so use to playing games as being godlike that they have become weak in their gaming soul. Death matters in our games. It matters without us having to tell you, but we have to tell you. The short pause blasts it in your face that you died and it matters. Some gamers have complained about it, but they have not experienced the alternative, which is no pause at all. This pause was done not by accident, but by design.

We are considering shortening the sequence to find a happy medium, but making it shorter feels wrong to me as I am writing this right now. If you ďpass byĒ the deaths, the game quickly ends from shoddy play and feels incomplete. It truly is unreal how gamers today are given a godlike status in their games. Xona Games is about challenging skill-based gamesÖ no surprise we are top rated and best selling in Japan over any other country (as predicted by us)!!!"

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