Don’t take one look at Decimation X3 and brush it off as another Space Invaders clone made by a couple of guys who don’t know what they’re doing. Yes, there are graphical similarities and comparisons that can be made between the game mechanics. However, Decimation X3 is no thoughtless clone. Instead, Xona Game’s latest 2D shooter is a carefully thought out shoot-‘em up that brings tremendous sense of speed, tension, and most importantly fun, to gamers.
At first blush, you could totally be forgiven for believing that Xona Games has just created a Space Invaders rip-off. Each stage sees your pixilated ship facing down waves of enemies that look they were pulled out of an Atari 2600. Your task is to avoid their fire and shoot back, clearing the stage of enemies and racking up points in the process. However, Decimation X3 takes that concept and turns it up to 11, in the process vaulting it past many other shmups on the marketplace.
This evolution starts with the addition of power-ups. Although some of these perform protective functions, many of them serve to permanently increase the number of bullets you can spray at once. This means that as you progress through the levels you will slowly build up your shooting capacity until you’re filling obscene amounts of the screen with your fire. Even more impressive is that even with all of this firepower, the explosions of the enemies, and the bullet rain, the game never skips a beat.
Raw speed is something else that differentiates the latest title in the Decimation X series from any another 2D shooter. The more enemies you kill, the faster the remaining ones will go until all of them have been eradicated. Enemies’ speed never becomes overwhelmingly fast, but it does put all of your skills to the test.
Similarly, the amount of bullet rain that you’ll have to avoid in to ensure your survival is near mind boggling. Much like the speed of your enemies, it toes the line of overwhelming and even occasionally steps a toe over that point, however, for the most part it has a Geometry Wars sense of obscene numbers that you just barely navigate your way through.
If there’s one blemish on Xona game’s release it is the hit detection. On more than a few occasions my ship took what appeared to be a dead on hit and survived to fight another day. In much the same way, there have also been a couple of instances where bullets killed me when they appeared to be off the mark. It certainly isn’t game breaking, but for a game that does so many things right, it would have been excellent to see the collision detection be spot on.
Perhaps the best way to describe Decimation X3 is that it is what Geometry Wars would have been if it had been released on an 8-bit console. It’s fast, the action is furious, and the gameplay is just pure, simplistic, shoot-em-up fun. The addition of multiplayer that can support up to four people at once only serves to put this title into the upper echelons of indie games and makes it one that you should definitely feel safe dropping your 80 MSP on.
[Decimation X3]-80 Microsoft Points