Xeodrifter (2014)

play

Retro-styled metroidvania that is one of the purest expressions of the form I’ve seen for some time. Explore four different planets, find new power-ups and backtrack all over the map to use these new power-ups to get into previously shut-off parts of these levels. It’s a bit on the short side (I think I played it through in three or four hours, and I didn’t exactly speed through), but otherwise it’s highly enjoyable due to the mix of excellent graphics (while it references other similar games, it does find its own style very fast and doesn’t just feel like a copy-cat), tight controls and the ever-escalating boss battles (re-skin of the same boss over and over again, but different and especially more challenging attack pattern each time).

It’s a game slimmed down to the essentials, but in this case it doesn’t so much feel like bare bone and instead like a highly potent cocktail of the best that metroidvania games have to offer without any extraneous fat to artificially extent playtime.

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