August 6, 2011 7 Comments
Xona Games’ originally challenged me to review Score Rush, but after consulting Jason Doucette of Xona and my boyfriend Brian, they both agreed that it would be a bad choice. I have epilepsy and unless they need help with their Jiffy Pop, sending me into a fit would not be very helpful to any party. So Jason altered the challenge to Decimation X3, a clone of Space Invaders Extreme, instead of the seizure-inducing nightmare they originally wanted to inflict upon me. “Oy, bad call on your part” I thought. I loved Space Invaders Extreme. It ranks very high on my favorite portable games of all time list. Asking me to play a lift of it seemed like the dumbest idea since adding Rallycross to the X-Games.
Decimation X3 is indeed a shameless rip-off of Space Invaders Extreme through and through. The biggest difference is that it’s skinned to seem more like a retro game. It looks like it plays on a colorized dot-matrix display, a graphics style that actually works really well. The characters are distinctive and bullets stick out just enough that you can clearly see and avoid them. The controls are really well done too. Given how many bullets rain down on you, precise movement was an absolute must-have. And Xona Games nailed it.
So Decimation X3 went all kelpto on one of my favorite games and this review should be my shot at revenge. Nope. I absolutely loved it. In fact, in some ways its even better than Space Invaders Extreme. It’s cleaner for one thing, so losing track of what’s happening isn’t an issue here like it was with its inspiration. I think the controls are even tighter too. It does enter bullet hell territory at times but it always seemed like there was just enough room for me to squeeze through, no matter how heavy the fire. All the power-ups are well implemented too. In a lot of ways, it’s the perfect one-dollar game.
But there are a couple very glaring flaws, like the lack of online play or online leaderboards. The real Space Invaders Extreme is only 800MSP on the Live Arcade market, and it has those features, along with achievements. Obviously it’s the game to get. If Decimation X3 had offered either of those, it likely would have been #1 on the top ten list here. As far as knock-offs go, Decimation X3 is the best I’ve seen yet, and I do highly recommend purchasing it. Make it Dollar Tree party! Grab three friends and enjoy your off-brand cola and near-expired cans of SpaghettiOs while jamming on the best ripoff of a good thing since Pixar stole Doc Hollywood and called it Cars.
80 Microsoft Points played with themselves (and didn’t do anywhere near that good) in the making of this review.