Xenon Valchirie + – Switch review

I believe that every game should have a demo, especially on a platform with no refund whatsover policy. For this reason I am inclined to a positive attitude towards wee games like Xenon Valchirie that are not afraid to show what they are made of.

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After a couple of minutes, I was convinced enough to go for the full game (which is quite cheap anyway) and I am not regretting it.

In Xenon Valkyrie + you play as one of three characters: the busty girl on the cover, that starts the game with a key an unlimited bombs that can be used to destroy tiles of terrain to create new passages or reach isolated areas, a scarf guy with a dragon radar and better stats, and a frogface who guess ehat can jump higher. Your mission is to save someplace from something, by delving down a handful of levels to reach the final boss.

The descent itself is quite fast thanks to smooth and reactive controls that will make you jump around like a ninja. However caution is advised as HPs are easier lost than gained, and a run can end abruptly if you are too carefree.
Levels are populated by spikes, flamethrowers and enemies. The enemies follow their patterns religiously, mostly ignoring the player, but this is not a fault, as their jumping/shooting patterns, combined with explosions and a the random level layout generation create some interesting and sometimes unpredictable situations.

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It is also important to explore the levels to gain experience, money, and weapons that are vital to stand a chance against the simpleminded but damaging bosses.
Your weapons are an all purpose melee weapon which strenght can be increased by spending skill points in strengh, and a much safer pistol/rifle than can be used to eliminate foes from a distance, but comes with a limited ammo supply and cannot be used on most bosses for some reason. It doesn’t make mich sense but it works in terms of balancing so hey, that’s ok.

All the gameplay elements work great together, creating a simple but captivating experience. The roguelite curve is perfect, and after another failed run you really feel the reward of improved player skills along with the various unlocks that keep interest high but do not break the game.
New weapons only differ in aspect and stats, and the levels become harder but keeps roughly the same kind of hazards and enemy types.

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Again, it’s very simple but it works wonder. It plays like a mini action Spelunky! And you can expect a couple of surprises along the way.

The game was originally released on PSVita and it fits the Switch screen perfectly. I have spent a few hours on it and I have not beaten it completely yet, but I can foresee a lifecycle of 10 hours or so (if you exclude speedruns and stuff for which the gameplay is really suitable). An average run can last about 20, (maybe 30 minutes if you turtle around), making it perfect for short sessions in portable mode, also because on a 50″ inch telly it looks like a pixel pudding and it will make your eyes bleed.

+ a well thought roguelike action platformer
+ addictive arcade-like gameplay
– not exactly a main game

SCORE: 9/10

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