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  • Chad Myers

Game Review #257: Xenon Valkyrie+ (Nintendo Switch)

Reviewer: Chad M.

Developer: Diabolical Mind, COWCAT

Publisher: COWCAT

Category: Role-Playing, Action, Platformer, Adventure

Release Date: 1.1.2019

Price (at time of review): $9.99

Buy Xenon Valkyrie+ from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.

Pigtails Will Make You Go Rogue

There are quite a lot of rogue-lite games on the eShop, but I’m never shy about my love for them when done right. So when developers Diabolical Mind and COWCAT’s new game, Xenon Valkyrie+—which has a retro style—showed up, I couldn’t wait to try it out. Now this had previously been released on Steam and Vita, but I’d heard rumblings on some minor bugs and glitches. I’m happy to say, from my time, the game earns the + in title, as I didn’t run in to any on my playthrough. The story is very simple: you play Girl 1, Girl 2, or Cricket Boy, and you must stop an evil witch. The witch is hidden somewhere in a dangerous and menacing moon that is threatening the planet, and you have to track her down and stop her before everything goes FUBAR.

Anime Pixels Are Still Here

So XV+ is a 2-D retro pixel rogue-lite with RPG elements. You start by choosing your character, all of which have a sword, a gun, and special move. I preferred Girl 1 (the one on the cover) because her special is the bomb, and it works great to blow up walls to get to hard to reach enemies and loot. The other two characters’ skills just didn’t make the same impact; for example, one jumps really high, and I just didn’t see the need when the object is to move down—but more on that in a bit.

You start off on a hud screen, standing around a portal with some NPCs outside your spaceship. You jump into the portal and right into the action on the moon with aliens and monsters galore, along with some traps laying around. In what is fun and addictive gameplay, you traverse around the moon, fighting and gaining XP, and you also break open chests and containers for loot, all of which you’ll later spend.

You have a mini map in the right-hand corner with a white dot for a pigtailed assassin, red dots for enemies, and a purple dot for the portal to the next stage or boss. You’ll also find chests that resemble white caskets; these require a key to open and will have weapon upgrades in them. Some upgrades are a small improvement, and some are quite a sizable difference.

Once you reach the portal below, you can choose to go back to the top or move on to the next level. Before you do this though, you’ll be directed to an old school Zelda-like shop to purchase items. Here, you can use that XP to upgrade your HP, ammo, stamina and strength. You can also use the loot to buy items from the space shop, like shields, to help keep you alive. There are epic boss battles that will put your gaming skills to the test and make you learn patterns to try and survive, but each time you get to a boss it can change, so right when you learn the patterns for one, they may switch it up on you.

If you don’t survive you face permadeath, and will lose the upgraded weapons and items, so be careful. This is a great game to just pick up and play anytime and have some fun. One gripe I have is that the controls sometimes really left me feeling off, as I couldn’t turn in certain situations. I’d be getting attacked by a bat mutant and I could jump, and then turn mid-air and strike. It’s like it wanted me to be turned before I jumped, which felt really poorly done, and would leave me taking a lot of unnecessary cheap shots.

Audio & Visuals

The music sounds as if it was plucked straight from the 90s SNES era, with the upbeat, high-tempo synth tracks that play over and over; but I have to say, I found myself lowering the volume, because it felt a little much at times. The sound effects fit the retro feel, but added very little.

If you like the retro style so many indie devs are going with these days, then you’ll enjoy XV+’s art, as it’s the retro pixel art. The characters and enemies vary enough that it doesn’t get stale, though the level designs seem to be the same retread, even with the procedurally changed levels.

It’s A Wrap!!!

While playing Xenon Valkyrie+, I had fun in spurts, and when I turned it off, it was like an itch I couldn’t help but scratch, and I’d turn it on and play it again. Even when doing other things, I’d reach for my Switch for a quick run to see how far I’d get. Because of the rogue-lite gameplay, if it is something you like and doesn’t wear you down, then you’ll get a kick out of this one, because the price is right to buy it and have it there when you want to make runs through it. I recommend trying out Xenon Valkyrie+ for my fellow rogue-lite gamers, just go in with curbed expectations.

Score: 7.5/10

Buy Xenon Valkyrie+ from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.




*Review Code Provided by COWCAT

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