Saturday, September 17, 2011

Xurge - 0.99 (Paul Bryant)

Xurge is a new arcade tap shooter from Paul Bryant. In Xurge, you’ll be able to play through two different modes, Endurance, and Kamikaze, each having 5 different difficulty levels, Casual, Easy, Medium, Hard, and Extreme. The game brings back a lot of memories of playing arcade games, back when I was a kid, at the local bowling ally down the street from where I grew up. The graphics, gameplay, even down to the demo/tutorial that you’ll need to watch (instead of read) before playing the game in order to know how the game mechanics work.

In Endurance Mode, you’ll go through wave after wave of enemies, increasing in speed, amount, and difficulty. There are three different colors of enemies, blue, grey, and red. Blue and Red enemies need different types of shots in order for them to be killed, while Grey enemies can be hit with either type of shot and be taken down. To change the shot type, you’ll need to select the cannon you want to use, and then tap on it, then hit the fire button when the correct mode for the cannon is chosen. Red enemies can be killed using the default mode of the cannons, a grey outfit, while Blue enemies will need the blue shot, shown on the cannon by two blue stripes.
Each of the enemies will come at you through one of four tracks, each leading down to one of your four cannons. To kill them, you’ll need to pick the correct cannon, and fire at them, hopefully before they fire down at you, damaging your cannon. You can repair your cannons by tapping on their health bars, but only at a slow rate, making it impossible to repair your cannons if they’re taking constant damage.
In Kamikaze Mode, you’ll need to destroy each of the enemies before they crash into your cannons. You are aloud to take a certain amount of damage, and repair your cannons, just like Endurance Mode, but instead of stopping the enemies before they shoot at you, you’ll try and stop them before they run into you.
The controls are nice and responsive, though they are timed. You can not just double tap on a cannon to activate it and change it’s shot type, you’ll need to tap on the cannon, and wait for it to activate, and then tap on it, and wait for it to change it’s shot type before you can make it fire. This added timed tapping mechanic adds quite a bit of action to the gameplay, as you’ll be trying to get each cannon active and changed to the desired shot as fast as you can, racing the clock before enemies shoot at or crash into you.
The scoring system in Xurge is done quite well, as each ship will give you a set number of points, and if you hit enemies without missing a shot, you’ll add to your chain. Every multiple of 10 on your chain number will add an extra bonus set of points, going up as your chain goes up. So you’ll get bonus points on your 10th, 20th, 30th, ect consecutive hits, with the bonus going up about 100 points each time. Games that add scoring mechanics like this are great, and I just go nut-so over them. They add depth to the scoring, and drive gamers to play better, and score higher. Xurge is no exception. Constantly giving players that ‘one more time’ feeling each time they hit the game over screen, it’s sure to eat up hours and hours of your free-time. There are also quite a few different power-ups that you will get when destroying ships that are carrying them. Full health upgrades, special shot types, invincibility, and more help add to the gameplay quite a bit.
The retro graphics and soundtrack also add to the feeling of the game, and are sure to bring back memories of childhood play for gamers in their 20’s and 30’s. There are GameCenter and OpenFeint leader boards for both modes, and for each of the different difficulties, giving players a total of 12 global leader boards total. There’s also 17 achievements to keep achievement hunters busy for some time. For this small 2 person developing team, Xurge is a great game, and one that’s sure to nab them a few well deserved fans. For $0.99, there’s enough content, and replay ability to keep any retro gamer fan happy for quite some time.

Xurge gets a score of 8 out of 10.



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