It was just a little bit ago that we received a code for a quirky new title on XBLA/Steam called Xotic. Well, I come to you today finally able to write it without having killed myself. I didn’t even know what to expect playing this one. After a couple of levels and writing my silly little notes I usually write for every game, I closed the game. Then I stared at my notes. I still didn’t know what the fuck I just played. All in all, I’m not speaking positive. I wasn’t blown away by this game. It was just..a bad idea? Yeah. A bad idea.
The concept puzzle FPS tries too many things at once. Frankly, it kills the entire sequence of gaming. Basically the point of the game is to get through each level as quickly as possible, all while blowing up little orbs everywhere. You can string together orb explosions by using new weapons and making chain reactions. Sounds interesting, right? I thought so too until about a minute into the game. Right from the start you have about eighty different texts flying at you on screen at once (in ripped off font from Timesplitters, might I add) while making you GO GO GO FASTER NOW!
When I started to look around, I instantly thought two things. One, “holy shit, am I on every pill of acid at once?,” and two,”These graphics are awful. Is this a mod of Sauerbraten?” And honestly, the game makes you feel like the answer to both those is constantly, yes. Like I said, the game demands you get through each level as quickly as possible. There’s a timer in the corner. There’s orbs fucking everywhere. So run! Right? WELL HOW THE FUCK DO YOU GET THROUGH A LEVEL THAT QUICK WHEN THE CONTROL LAYOUT IS THE DUMBEST I’VE SEEN IN ANY GAME? Oh, you want to jump over this obstacle to keep running? The A button is too hip for a jump button so we’re gonna go ahead and make it fucking LB. That way when you’re sprinting through the level and naturally hit A to jump like every game ever has done going back to the original Nintendo, A will instead make you crouch. Oh, okay. Don’t worry though because we’ve made it even more complicated (remember, the idea is to get through as quickly as possible) by making X and B change the angle you hold the fucking gun. Seriously. No, a simple left stick click can’t handle that. We need to map two main buttons for that one. Want to tilt around corners? Just ram the shit out of RB. The Evolution of Dance is easier to memorize and execute than these fucking controls.
So as if the game couldn’t make it any more difficult while convincing you it’s a simple concept, they mix even MORE shit on the screen at once for you. Oh, there’s about 80 billions pick ups being dropped every give seconds. Good luck remembering which one you picked up. Oh look, there’s also a health bar. How the hell could I get hurt? I’m just picking up orbs, right? BIG WRONG. There’s electric monsters everywhere now! Oh look, you can get armor too, just in case you forgot how to fire a gun. It also doesn’t help that when you actually manage to remember the jump button is LB, you jump higher than Michael Jordan in the closing seconds of the basketball game in Space Jam. It’s like gravity jump extreme. But wait, I’m supposed to run through while racking up as many points as quickly as possible right?
Finally, I somehow managed to beat a few levels. What’s this? You’re going to make it difficult after a level too? Okay. First off, there’s a WORLD MAP. This game is supposed to be chop chop go go, and they drop a world map on your ass. That’s the maybe most acceptable thing about the menus. You explore everything via a very confusing hex user interface. All your worlds/power ups are spread across hexes. It’s confusing as shit to find your way around. Not to mention the whole concept of upgrades. I’m not joking when I say there’s a legitimate SKILL TREE. There is a skill tree for a game that wants you to just run, shoot orbs, kill spooky electric monsters, and have fourteen seizures. Why on Earth would you ever put a skill tree into a game like this? No.
In conclusion, stay far away from Xotic. While the concept could’ve MAYBE (big maybe) been something, it failed in pretty much every single way. When there aren’t crazy ass color schemes making your pupils flip the fuck out, there’s points flying all over your screen to make sure you do indeed pass out and eventually die. This is an awful game. I’m only giving it this score because developers put effort into making a title for our dumbasses to enjoy, which is no easy task.