Switch version tested
Review code provided
Let’s celebrate the new year with the eagerly anticipated Switch release of Xenon Valkyrie+ by COWCAT.
Looking like it’s come straight out of a bygone gaming era, Zenon Valkyrie+ is a rogue-lite fantasy platformer in which you must battle across untold lands to the lair of an evil Witch who’s promising to destroy your home planet for shits and giggles. What a bitch! Players can select one of three imaginatively named characters – Girl 1, Girls 2 or Cricket Boy – before jumping into a teleporter and heading out to unleash some fury.
Each level within Zenon Valkyrie+ is a randomly generated pitfall full of danger and hostile aliens looking to mess you up. One wrong move and you’re toast – so it’s essential that you learn how to equip one of the many awesome weapons at your disposal as quickly as possible.
The design of the game is quite simplistic. You start at the top of the screen, and through a combination of jumps and falls (mainly falls), you make your way to the bottom of the screen where your next jump portal awaits. It might sound easy enough, and to begin with, this is true. However, as the game goes on it starts to become self-aware, tricking you at every turn by turning off the lights so you have to rely on torchlight, or making the bad guys much tougher than they were the time before. Your best option here is to run, gun and hack the screen to pieces in the hopes that you’ll avoid enough damage to not have to start over again.
After making it through the levels, and deeper into the Witches moon lair, you are then transported to a boss screen, and that’s when things get really messy. Forget all those kick-ass guns you’ve equipped your character with because they don’t mean shit here. Nope. In fact, the only weapon of any consequence in these stages is your sword – and let’s be honest, it’s pretty damn small. This might add to the challenge, but it also means you have to get your attacks in a little too close for comfort thus opening yourself up to all kinds of damage. Needless to say, you will die here. You will die here a lot.
Aesthetically the game is fantastic. If you grew up in the 8-bit or even 16-bit era of gaming, then this will have instant appeal to you. It even has awesome Chiptune music to give it that authentic retro feel. The only downside though is that everything on screen is so small that you sometimes need to squint to know what’s going on. This makes differentiating enemies from powerups or other in-game extras a little difficult, and will probably piss the less dedicated gamer off. It’s definitely worth sticking with though if for nothing else the awesome boss level designs which are a picture perfect throwback to better days. Sigh.
Because of its randomly generated designs and multiple endings, the game has a distinct repeat appeal. So much so that we spent hours and hours playing it last night when it probably would have made more sense to go to sleep – so is the gamer life. If like us you have zero time to spare yet somehow manage to fit in 25 hours of gaming a day, then Xenon Valkyrie+ will make a great addition to your Nintendo Switch library and is a great way to kill some time while you’re hiding from your significant other and your children in the bathroom. Remember, it’s important to walk around a little as well though. If you sit on the can gaming for too long your legs will go dead and you’re going to need to send out for a rescue. This is where your family will discover what you’ve really been up to in the bathroom for 2 hours and the jig is up.
Xenon Valkyrie+ is available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PS Vita. The Nintendo Switch version releases January 1, 2019, for £8.99.
If you’re into run-and-gun games, and you’re looking for a real throwback to when games were truly the best, then Xenon Valkyrie+ is for you. It’s a fun, fast-paced little bugger that translates to the Switch perfectly, and it’ll keep you hooked right up until the very end – although at £8.99 you might want to wait until it comes down in price a little.
Beard Score: 6.5/10
Nintendo Switch Essentials:
Platform: Steam, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PS Vita, Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 01/01/2019 (Switch)
No. of Players: 1
Category: Adventure, RPG, Action, Platformer
Download link: eShop