03rd Feb2020

Digital Shorts: ‘Seaking Hunter’ & ‘XenoRaptor’ Review (Nintendo Switch)

by Phil Wheat

In DIGITAL SHORTS we review some of the latest video games that are only available digitally (at least in the UK), in a short-form review format. In this edition we take a look at two very similar titles, Seaking Hunter and XenoRaptor, which are both available now on the Nintendo Switch.

So why are Seaking Hunter and XenoRaptor so similar? Because they’re both indie games and they’re both fixed screen shooters. A genre which, frankly, I’m not the biggest fan of – mainly because said fixed screen visuals confuse the hell out of my brain… I don’t see the background moving, just the vehicles/characters NOT moving!

seaking-hunter-screen

Another port of a mobile game making its way to the Nintendo Switch, Seaking Hunter is a fixed-screen marine action shooting game that sees players take on huge sea monsters (or Unidentified Monstrous Animals) that are rampant in various underwater places, in what is – at its core – a boss rush game in the skin of a fixed-screen shoot ‘em up. These battles take place against simplistic flash-like graphics which are so basic it’s hard to tell the difference between levels – though what does stand out about Seaking Hunter are the UMA’s. The huge bosses that you fight are well-designed and look like they can do some damage (which they do, frustratingly a LOT of damage) yet they too suffer… in this case from all sounding the same. How you can design wonderful creatures but then use what is seemingly stock audio for their shrieks and wails is unfathomable.

After completing missions and collecting objects, you can at least earn enough coins to upgrade your arsenal and your armour, allowing you to take on the later, much tougher, levels. And good god, will you need the armour. The biggest frustration I have with Seaking Hunter is the sheer difficulty of maneuvering away from enemies and their attacks – the fixed-screen aspect of the game does nothing to help combat that frustration, instead piling on the pressure and the difficulty and making Seaking Hunter something of a chore to play.

And XenoRaptor is sadly no better.

xenoraptor-screen

Like Seaking HunterXenoRaptor is a combination of two genres – in this case fixed screen shooter and twin-stick shooter. The game sees players assume the role of a cyberdragon fighting enemies in outer space… Which sounds incredibly cool right? Yeah it might sound cool but the execution leaves a LOT to be desired. The biggest failing of XenoRaptor? The fact that the top-down graphics are so bloody small. Like “can’t make out any details” small. Which defeats the object of having a badass-sounding cyberdragon as the protagonist doesn’t it!

The game itself is your standard twin-stick style gameplay: aim with one stick, move with the other, and shoot with the triggers. That’s it. Simple. There’s also a dash mechanic built into the game which is pretty much redundant unless you desperately need to collect a power-up before you die for example. In terms of weaponry, the most essential part of any twin-stick shooter, XenoRaptor has two options – standard and special attack. And guess what? The frustratingly slow, or lack thereof, movement (to be fair you do “move” across the space landscape but it’s so slow and so badly rendered that this feels, for all intents and purposes, like a fixed screen shooter) is offset by the special attack, which allows you to take down wave after wave of enemy. Only said attack is also limited in its use. Gah!!

But hey, at least XenoRaptor has a pretty cool electronic soundtrack to game along to. If only it too wasn’t so limited and repetitive. Oh and where’s the games narrative? Even in campaign mode there’s no real story. Which means that badass cyberdragon idea ends up being completely wasted. For shame.

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