Jul 10, 2015
Here’s to Pixelbite’s Xenowerks.
Well, it feels a bit like hit game Space Marshals, that’s okay and very much allowed; sharing DNA with that game ensures that at the very least, we should get of sprinkling of good stuff. And we do, starting from the top-down nature of the view that allows the player to survey and control the action from “above.” The developer uses virtual light as an in-game tool quite effectively, and the overall sense of foreboding is well rendered. The sounds are also sufficiently creepy, seesawing from the eerie to the straight dangerous.
Getting into the action, the backstory in Xenowerk is simple mutant disaster fare: underground lab, secret research and something going down that cuts of communication and cameras. Of course, the area needs to cleansed, and who better than the player to get this accomplished? After getting decked out in basic gear (weapons and armor), one gets to go into the game directly, which, as noted, takes place in an presumably overrun lab.
Just like Space Marshals before it, this game uses a virtual dual stick shooter set of controls to run the player’s character, one for directions and one to shoot. There is a bit of tweaking that can be done — like switching which side either button is on — but for the most part, what you see is what you get. Using these controls, one can investigate the underground labyrinth and finish the leveled missions.
The main foils in this game are the organic monstrosities that roam the hallways and rooms. Getting too close can be dangerous, as they attack and reduce the players lifeline, causing death if left unabated. Shooting them is the proscribed method, but doing so without incurring damages requires a bit of practice to move and direct firing adequately. As one moves on, the game gets tougher, and one has to adjust to be successful. There are bonuses and other dangers on the ground, but the basic idea is to dispatch the mutants, upgrade weapons and armor and keep moving.
Xenowerk is a familiar caper, in that one knows what one is getting into… mostly. The gameplay isn’t too sophisticated, and that can be a positive or negative depending on the player. The control mechanism can take some getting used to, but is still a nice way to run things.