Careful Mooneuvering

Xenon Valkyrie is a roguelike platforming game with some roleplaying elements in the mix. It tells the simple tale of a witch threatening to destroy everything and it is up to one of the three heroes to stop her.

Right from the beginning the game looks and sounds just like a mega-drive game and when you start playing it also it feels like one. You start off on a spacecraft and choose either one of the two girl characters or the cricket who I initially thought was a lizard. Each character starts out with different stats so it is important to pick as each also has different special skills. Both the girls have bombs but the cricket has a super jump. Each hero comes equipped with a simple sword and a gun with a limited supply of ammo. As you progress each level you fight enemies, level up, find treasure chests, collect money, shop, adjust your talent points before a boss, die and then repeat.

Once you die in Xenon Valkyrie you lose everything and will have to start from the beginning at level one. Once back at the beginning you have the option of choosing another character before venturing out again. You may find the level playing differently to the first time and that’s because the levels in the game are randomly-generated. The first time this happened I had reset the game as I had got stuck with no way out but was unaware I had a few bombs at my disposal which could of got me out or if I was playing as the cricket I could of jumped out the pit I was in; some items can also get stuck in walls but are easily bombed out if you have any. The maps are like giant squares to navigate. Progressing will require you be precise in your jumps; be aware of your surroundings and also a bit of luck. Enemies have their own ways of being took down or avoided altogether but this is a risk you need to think about; do you require that extra bit of experience at the cost of possibly losing some health? Health is very scarse and although you can find some during levels in small containers that will heal the bare minimum it is likely you will lose it soon after as you land on top of some ill placed spikes. While the game is fair when it comes to difficulty it definitely requires careful navigation especially when traversing downwards; you can wall jump and fall at a slower pace when hugging a wall and will help in most situations but sometimes you will fall from a much greater height only to plummet onto an enemy who is surrounded by others and can deplete your health quite quickly.

Each level is made up of three zones; when you see a Teleporter as you progress that is your que to make sure you are finished collecting everything you need to power up in the rooms between stages. These are found after each stage and allow three random items to be purchased and to adjust your talents which you have gathered from leveling up which can be used on your HP, Strength and Defence. Once you have finished in the rest room it is then onto the next stage to repeat and then another rest room after that before the boss. It may be tempting to throw everything into your HP as I did the first time but this does not work as bosses can easily rip you apart. Strength I found a better option and will turn boss fights into smaller challenges and waning a bosses health down faster is much easier than possibly being able to take one or two more hits. Bosses are definitely the biggest challenge; you will easily figure out how to beat them once you encounter them but the real difficulty is avoiding their attacks and learning each pattern. Beating the boss will take you to another safe haven where story NPC’s will appear; you can also create a teleport here and will cost you quite a bit of Teamerite, a gold key and some credits but will allow you to return here should you die progressing forward. This negates the roguelike aspect of the game somewhat so you don’t have to painstakingly trudge through the same level again. Teamerite is also one of the few things not lost on game over too and is used to buy super strong weapons at the beginning of the game; they are costly however and will require quite a bit before you can actually purchase them but as long as you are collecting Teamerite as you try each time this is an option.

The games graphics, music and sound are so reminiscent of the 16-bit era. The graphics are great and backgrounds work perfectly with the foreground. While the music is overall good you will be likely hearing the same track over and over for quite some time.

The more I found myself playing Xenon Valkyrie the more I found myself getting slightly better and making progress. There are multiple endings that require different options throughout the game; these definitely add replay value to a short but frustrating game.

A PlayStation 4 Review code was provided by Diabolical Mind