Xeodrifter is a well crafted, nostalgic Metroid-esque title from Atooi on Nintendo Switch. The game combines great platforming with stellar music, unique visuals, and an assortment of cool abilities that help players unlock new areas. It isn’t perfect by any means, but this indie title originally released back in 2014 is deserving of a purchase on Nintendo’s hybrid console.
I’ll start with the gameplay, which is by far Xeodrifter’s biggest accomplishment. The platforming is near perfect, with incredibly fluid and simple controls. The game keeps players engaged through power-ups such as a Submarine, Rocket, and Solar Flare. Though there are only six total new abilities to gain while playing through Xeodrifter, each one serves a purpose. For example, the Submarine allows players to access underwater areas of the map, while also being able to shoot enemies. The underwater gameplay requires a different type of fluidity and allows players to switch up their movements; in a platformer, keeping the player actively interested is key, and the power-ups introduced in Xeodrifter definitely kept me engaged.
Another stand-out aspect of Xeodrifter is its absolutely wonderful soundtrack. The actual Xeodrifter theme itself is spectacular, but some of the game’s later songs really hooked me. For example, “Native Life-Form” brings about a sense of chaos and action, whereas a more subtle theme like “Quieted” fills the player with a slow-burning tension, similar to what the game is trying to deliver on in that moment. Ultimately, the game’s original music isn’t anything super advanced. That said, however, it does deliver a solid soundtrack that improves the overall experience.
Though some modern games get criticized due to their level of difficulty, I applaud what Xeodrifter brings to the table. Players familiar with classic side-scrolling platformers like Mega Man and Metroid will feel right at home with this one, as it provides gamers with a tough challenge. What Xeodrifter does incredibly well is boast a moderately high difficulty whilst simultaneously lacking frustrating elements that usually come with games like this. Maybe it’s just my personal experience playing through the port, but I rarely got annoyed with a certain portion of the game and always found myself wanting to play more. There were never any, “put down the game and beat this level later”, moments.
Overall, Xeodrifter is a blast. It’s a simple game that is held up by its unique upgrades, great music, and brilliantly crafted exploration-based gameplay. If you’ve got an extra $10 lying around, I highly recommend Atooi’s latest Switch release.