X-Scape Review «

If X-Scape looks a little familiar, it’s probably not because you’ve played it before. Even though X-Scape comes from 1992’s X — a 3D Game Boy game that never made it stateside — most players will recognize the influences its developer had on another little groundbreaking 3D title known as Star Fox. With that little bit of backstory, suddenly your chittering companion and the massive, disembodied head of your arch nemesis make a lot more sense; lending yet another nostalgic element to the delightful “retro futurism” found in X-Scape.
While its abstract art style and color palette are its most outstanding features, X-Scape’s greatest asset is actually its sense of immersion. You could say that all games try and bring you to another world, but X-Scape takes you personally on a first-person journey through yesteryear’s vision of future desolation.

Click the image above to check out all X-Scape screens.
After 10 years spent floating around the galaxy in the cryo chamber of your space tank VIXIV, your robotic pal VIX-529 wakes you to check up on how the cosmos is holding up. Unfortunately, it looks like the giant melon of your ex-commander is now ruling over the planetary alliance you helped create with an iron fist. With so much strife in the galaxy, what’s a rusty pilot to do? Save humanity from tyranny, of course!

In X-Scape, the topographic layout of each planet is broken down into the most basic of geometric elements and given a unique color scheme that ranges from gorgeous to downright garish. Using little more than a dome or a diamond to denote civilization, X-Scape’s minimalist beauty is perfectly complimented by the blips and bloops that make up its soundtrack. Even if certain planets aren’t particularly interesting (or easy on the eyes), you’re rarely stuck in one place long enough for your corneas to suffer from total rainbow sherbet overload.

Click the image above to check out all X-Scape screens.
Although it’s got an awesome aesthetic and hybrid land/air “space tank” gameplay, X-Scape suffers from a repetitive formula that boils down to completing a couple missions, collecting a few power crystals, and hopping into a Descent-styled minigame to do it all over again. If I wasn’t so enamored with the color schemes and the dogfights (which are great once you acclimate to the touchscreen), I might’ve lost interest halfway through my journey.

For an 800 point DSi game, X-Scape offers a fair amount (about 12 hours) of planet-hopping gameplay with the option to unlock missing paths and missions after you finally put the emperor in his place. If X-Scape’s ’80s style and immersive first-person gameplay catches your eye, then there’s a damn good chance you’ll love this throwback adventure. It’s easily one of the most unique titles exclusively available for the DSi.


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