When you think of the greatest platformers and adventure games of all time on title that will invariable come to people’s minds is Metroid. That franchise has been around for decades and there is a reason that it basically has a genre of games named after it. It’s good. If you take the basic template of Metroid, mix in some incredibly beautiful pixel art and toss in a heaping helping of fun you’d get a game like Xeodrifter. The latest game from developer Renegade Kid takes many nods from that Nintendo franchise and doesn’t even hide it. It embraces that formula to give the eShop one of the best Metroid style platformers you’re going to see today.
Xeodrifter doesn’t hold your hand. From the very beginning you’re given a brief cutscene where you are shown four different planets to go to and retrieve a warp drive for your ship. Which one you choose first is totally up to you and you have to figure out which one won’t get you killed in order to progress. It’s the Metroid-vania formula at its best. It’s up to you the player how you tackle it. You’ll be powerful enough to take on one planet, but may not yet have the equipment you need to explore another. You’ll have to search each planet thoroughly to find all of the equipment you need to progress.
Just like the game it takes inspiration from there are tons of little hidden alcoves and rooms where you can find powerups for your health and your weapon. How you customize your loadout is up to you. There are five different weapon options with fillable meters. You can increase the speed your weapon fires, the number of projectiles it fires, how powerful they are or if they spread. Pick and choose, mix and match and you’ll have the perfect weapon for your style of play.
As with anything that Renegade Kid does the pixel art is excellent, second only maybe to Wayforward in terms of developers whose art styles I adore. Everything about the game harkens back to the era of the Game Boy Advance and games like Metroid Fusion or Minish Cap. The sprites are bright, well detailed and full of color. The main character is decked out in a great looking space suit. The enemies all have tons of detail and character to them. Enemies that bounce around stretch and bend in ways you’d expect. Even enemies who are fairly stationary have nice little details like blinking eyes. The levels themselves all stand out from one another. Much like the original Metroid you can tell visually where you are just by looking at the environment around you. If all four of the worlds had been connected with no seams it would have felt almost exactly like playing that original game on the NES or its remake on GBA. There’s not a lot of variety to the enemies themselves in terms of visuals. You’ll find the same half a dozen or so enemies scattered throughout the game and the all of the bosses are simply palette swaps of the same character model that have new skills.
If there is one drawback to the game I would say that it’s the length. Overall the game finished up a lot quicker than you would expect. I went from opening title screen to credits in 4 hours and 13 minutes. That was with a 96% completion rate. It would only take about 20 minutes more playtime at most to have 100% of everything there is to see in the game. It’s fun and it’s challenging. It just doesn’t last very long.
Renegade Kid are one of the most popular developers on the eShop and it’s with good reason. All of their games are simply a lot of fun. The platforming is solid, the games look great. Xeodrifter isn’t the most challenging game they’ve ever released, but it is one of my favorites now. There are even plenty of little nods to their other titles like Mutant Mudds. If you’re looking for something to fill that Metroid itch while Nintendo decides what to do next with that franchise you’d have few places to look that were better than this one. Xeodrifter takes numerous elements of that franchise and crafts a fun, challenging game around it that will make you feel like you just stepped off Samus Aran’s ship.