It doesn’t look like the Metroid series is going to get another official entry any time soon. I say official because there are many Metroid style games out there and Xeodrifter is one of them. That’s not to say it’s a bad thing but I have to point out the obvious inspiration.
Xeodrifter has some clever mechanics and much like Renegade Kid’s previous title Mutant Mudds it takes advantage of the 3D on Nintendo’s handheld not just for the visuals but as a gameplay mechanic as well. You start out journeying through space when all of a sudden you collide with an asteroid scattering your ship’s power core between four worlds. As you probably guessed it’s up to you to scour every inch of each world to find all your power core pieces to head back on your way. You start out with basic movement, jumping, and shooting with no ammo limit, so feel free to shoot until your pixelated heart is content.
Four worlds doesn’t sound like a lot but you’ll be revisiting each one multiple times as you play. From the start of the game you can travel between all of the worlds although you won’t be able to get very far. The majority of each world is locked off to you and will only open up as you gain new abilities by beating bosses. Each boss grants you a new skill like teleporting between the foreground and background and being able to turn into a submarine to explore the watery depths. You won’t find much variety in the bosses you encounter since it’s the same boss each time but with different abilities and attack patterns. Luckily Renegade Kid managed to switch it up just enough to make the repetitive encounters not feel dull and cheap and I found myself really wanting to beat him again and again. With each encounter the boss progressively gains more HP and forces you to use your abilities in tandem together to guarantee success which may take a few attempts. To help ease your defeat there is a checkpoint and HP replenishing system before each battle so losing doesn’t mean starting the entire level over. I like the weapon upgrade system in Xeodrifter. Instead of gaining new weapons tied to one or two abilities you find upgrade units for your sole gun scattered throughout each world and you use these to upgrade five different properties whichever way you like. This style system enables you to mix and match and find a weapon style that suits you at any time. I favor spreading my upgrade units between “rapid fire” and “higher damage” but you may find a combination that works for you.
So do I think you should get this game? Sure! Especially if you’re into Metroid style gameplay and if you’ve never played a Metroid title but want a fun action/adventure platformer you can’t go wrong with Xeodrifter. The overall campaign length is on the short side, about a few hours, but there is a lot to love and a lot more hidden passages to discover and upgrade units to find and equip. You’ll likely find yourself revisiting these four planets time and time again. It’s a game that reminds me why I fell in love with games and that shines through in each pixel and chiptune sound effect. Xeodrifter is available for Steam and Nintendo 3DS on the eShop.