XO-Planets heavily reminds me of Risk of Rain, an indie rogue-like platformer that was released two years prior.

Status: Early Access

Developer: Bohfam

Publisher: Bohfam

Genre: Rogue-lite, action platformer, tower defense, rpg

Release date: TBA

Type: Single-player, Local Co-op

While I learned Risk of Rain’s control scheme relatively quickly, XO-Planets has more complex controls in my opinion. I found myself dying over and over again at the start, which was very frustrating (I don’t wish to remember how many times I died to spikes!). Patience and determination are required if you want to play this game. After dying more than 30 times, I felt I had gained a relative understanding of the game’s controls and how to progress without dying in the first 2 minutes. This was due in part to my accidental discovery that one of the only ways to get batteries (the game’s equivalent of life points) was to destroy receptacles that spawn small monsters. This is where I wish there was a more detailed tutorial, or even some hints (although games like these rely on player discovery rather than detailed tutorials). The thing that kept me involved in the game were the RPG elements. There are 9 different weapons to collect and weapon enhancements/modifications to apply. Another thing that I enjoyed about XO-Planets was the freedom of choice to blow your way through the levels or simply traverse the platforms by jumping. You have explosives that can be used to destroy enemies and the environment alike. On to the highlights:

The good:

  • Vibrant electronic soundtrack that goes well with the sci-fi atmosphere
  • Randomly generated enemies, loot, and environment so no two playthroughs will be the same
  • Non-stop action with hard to predict enemies that require fast adapting to defeat (25 different enemies with varying attack and movement patterns)
  • Steam achievements for those who are interested (37 of them)
  • RPG elements mixed with side scrolling action (modifications and varying weapons to keep you interested in the gameplay; 6 characters that can be unlocked)
  • Varying missions ranging from data acquisition to killing a boss
  • Simplistic pixel art graphics that don’t distract from the gameplay
  • Co-op mode to play with friends
  • Some tower defense elements with repairable drones and turrets that can fend off attack
  • Great replayability value with new upgrades, loot, and characters to acquire

The bad:

  • Strong difficulty level; not recommended for casual gamers who dislike a challenge
  • Minor bugs and glitches
  • Lack of detailed tutorial to explain objective and controls. I’ll let this one slide for the moment, as I soon discovered that one of the joys in this game is figuring out the controls yourself



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