Xenosquad


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DoraXenosquadWhen your problem is a little too fanged and violent to fall into the Ghostbusters' jurisdiction, and Will and Tommy Lee aren't answering their phones, just give Ed Ryzhov's Xenosquad a call. The power-suited heroes of this turn-based sci-fi strategy game will be happy to attend to all your KILL IT WITH FIRE needs. The game has no real story to speak of apart from "here you are" and "kill that thing", but you can probably fill in the blanks yourself. You take command of a group of three soldiers sent into areas that could be charitably called "grody" and are teeming with hostile alien life.

The game's handy tutorial level will walk you through the finer points of shooting aliens in the face while remaining undevoured, but for the most part, gameplay is about what you'd expect from a turn-based strategy title. You'll order your men around the level individually by clicking on them and issuing orders; green squares are places you can move to, and small icons that pop up over nearby items means you can interact with something. Ammo boxes and other goodies are littered throughout the area to help you, but you don't play a game called "Xenosquad" without expecting to run into a few interstellar terrors, and so you'll find aliens aplenty that need to be dealt with before you can proceed. Since your squad and the enemy take it in turns to move and act, you'll want to carefully consider where you tell your soldiers to move, as well as make use of their various special abilities.

Between stages you'll get the chance to tweak and upgrade your squad by allocating any skill points they earn into various statistics, as well as purchasing new weapons with the go-to universal currency of science-fiction... credits. While the first two stages are relatively easy, as you progress you'll find that enemies get smarter as well as stronger, so don't be shy about putting some thought into your soldiers. It may save them from winding up as gooey chunks one day.

XenosquadAnalysis: If it helps, think of Xenosquad as a gorier, less kupo-po Final Fantasy Tactics in terms of gameplay, stripped of the story. If you're more narrative-driven like myself, the lack of a compelling tale to push you along might be a big negative, but this game's focus is certainly planted firmly on the gameplay itself, so that isn't necessarily a bad thing. Xenosquad is definitely not what you would call fast-paced, but chances are if you're a fan of the genre, you wouldn't like it if it was. The game encourages careful, thoughtful troop direction, and like any good strategy title it allows for just enough options and tactics to provide a bit of depth and challenge without making you feel like you need to keep a forty-pound manual on hand for reference. It's just a shame you can't replay old missions to grind up levels and cash when you're having trouble passing the latest stage.

Despite being really, really tiny, Xenosquad looks great, and if you prefer the slow, patience approach to games, you'll probably think it's pretty great in general too. Those of us who feel there is never enough gun might wish for more equipment to purchase, but the limited availability cuts down on fiddliness rather than options, so you'll always have sufficient firepower for what lies ahead even if that firepower isn't particularly flashy. Xenosquad is a solid little strategy game with a great presentation that can provide a decent challenge for genre fans without being wholly unfriendly to newcomers. Besides, with the invention of the Taco Bell Dorito Shell, it's only a matter of time before the aliens see us as a threat to the rest of the galaxy, so you might as well get them before they can get us.

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9 Comments

Beautiful visuals, but dang, that's a lot of work for very little payoff.

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When the game first started I said to myself "Wow. This looks a lot like Incubation (Battle Isle Phase 4)". Then I started playing it... it is definitely a re-imagining of Incubation in Flash. Not that it's a bad thing I guess, but doesn't seem to have the same level of intricacy that Incubation has.

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Icehazard October 27, 2011 5:23 AM

The game is really boring. There is no reason to get anything but the rifle with melee, and all characters max out to the same stats. But I do see some potential. The most interesting parts are when you have to use heavy infantry to kill spawning spots and the large aliens. I wish grenades only had max 3 so after you kill one, you have to move to an ammo crate to reload and kill the next one. Maybe the game would be better if every soldier was specialized and you had to use their strengths to solve levels like a puzzle box. Here's a tip. When spawning spots release infinite number of aliens, get your soldier with the melee rifle and defend to kill aliens as they spawn.

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It looks like a PC game in 90's. But I forget the game.

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xorms: It's pretty much a clone of BlueByte's "Incubation", which came out in 1997.

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As Tome said this looks very much like Incubation.

The game starts off well and in the first couple of mission I got the "Space Hulk" trickle of sweat when my squad's gun heat up and the aliens continue to pour in.

However, as soon as you start gaining levels things get way too easy

A good couple of hours spend, though.

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I love this game, it's a very tight and well designed implementation of turn-based squad strategy, a great homage to this forgotten genre, well done in all fields with great attention to detail a very nice play "feel".

Great music and graphics.

Each level introduces new stuff to the game to keep it fresh.

Could have a bit more balancing regarding player and monster stats, but that's nitpicking on an otherwise brilliant addition to the genre.

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I kinda liked this game. the weapons all have different pay offs, for instance, the bayonetted rifle is less accurate, less powerful, but can use a close combat attack. My only complaint was the slow pace and that all your abilities are maxed by level 7. ):
All in all, I give it 7.5/10. Good, but not brilliant.

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How do I kill that enemy that is:
Health: Low
Attack: Deadly
Attacks Previous Position
Can be killed only in Defence Mode
I click the shield button in the lower right (to the left of the Clock button and the StimPack button), but when the monster shoots his laser at me, my character just dies.

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