One of the hardest things to achieve in gaming is to take a concept that has already been cloned a million times down the years and try to make something fresh from it.
Decimation X3 from Xona Games is one such game that tries to do something fresh with a well used idea. Taking the tried and tested formula of Space Invaders, Decimation X3 manages to ramp up the experience, adds a thumping sound track and boss battles to the formula without actually losing the essence of it’s main influence.
The premise of the game is simple. Destroy line after line and wave after wave of attacking alien ships. The more ships you destroy in each wave, the faster the remaining ships scuttle across the screen, their sole intent is to get to the bottom and destroy you in the process. Simple yet addictive fun.
Decimation X3 is actually a sequel to Decimation X. Both games are similar in their basic objective, but X3 adds much more to the party. The graphics are big and bold, the game plays fast and once you start progressing through the levels, the intensity of the action become incredible. This just doesn’t pay homage to Space Invaders, it literally blows it out of the universe.
After a preset number of waves are completed you are faced with a boss battle. It is a great way to break up the game play, not that there is much time to ever get bored playing this. The pace is frenetic, the aliens get more and more aggressive and can take more than one hit as the levels go on. All is not lost though. There are a number of power ups that you can pick up which can be done in two ways. The first is by simply destroying the alien ships, the second is a line of power ups that drop from the top of the screen periodically after you score enough points. The power ups give you a wider spread of bullets, a faster stream of bullets, shields for you ship to hide behind should the action get too intense and so on. You can also get extra lives – which believe me you will need!
If you think that powering up your weapons will make life easy, think again. The aliens rain walls of laser death from above on you which requires a keen eye, fast reflexes and a touch of luck to avoid. It is testament to the quality of the programming that the balance between the powering up and the difficulty is perfect.
In addition to the single player, you can also enjoy the fun with up to four people on the same console. If you want an additional challenge you can also elect to play the game without the benefit of shields to hide behind, the reward for this is higher completion bonuses.
Graphically the game is excellent. The pixel dot construction of graphics and text gives a good retro feel fitting for a game of this type and everything moves along at a super smooth pace. More importantly for a game like this where there is so much happening on screen, the graphics are also clear and well thought out with the alien lasers being clearly discernible from everything else. So often with frantic shooters like this, the things you need to avoid get lost in the overwhelming assault of on screen images. Not so here.
Decimation X3 is a fantastic game. It’s simple concept and excellent execution makes it addictive to play, and the desire to better your previous score harks back to those days when getting to the top of the leader board was the main reward for playing a game.
It is available on X Box Live Indie Games on X Box Live Marketplace for 80 points. For that small amount you simply cannot go wrong with this. It is well worth checking out.