Decimation X3 Review (XBL Indie Games)

Posted by Jim Cook, Dec 10, 2010 07:41

The Indie Games service has proven it’s a great venue for old-style games at a low price, and when said games are well tuned it works out great for everyone involved. Decimation X3 is a sequel to Decimation X, keeping the game’s formula of "Space Invaders, but with lots of power-ups, larger waves of enemies, and far more incoming fire to deal with" intact while improving on a few significant things. And for 80 Microsoft Points/$1 USD, it’s a fine deal.

Players control a basic sci-fi starfighter that can only scroll left or right to dodge fire from waves of enemies that swoop down from the top part of the screen, just like Galaga or Space Invaders. And like that latter game, you can hide behind ablative shields for a time but your real goal is to get out there and shoot down the blocky, retro-style enemies. Where Decimation X3 improves on this idea is that the player gets access to power-ups that let them meet the increasing challenge.

It starts off simple enough, with a single projectile firing from your gun at a time. That’s plenty to deal with the first few waves, but as you kill enemies and rack up points items will fall down the stage and if collected they’ll give you a fighting chance against later foes. First it’s one projectile, then two or three, and eventually you’re covering significant parts of the screen every time you fire... but so are the enemies! Even with shields (including a portable one that you can shoot out of and follows you around, but can only absorb a few hits), it’s going to be hard to stay alive after a while.

This increasing speed and firepower is definitely X3’s greatest asset, however. At its wildest, the game is a fantastic test of just how much you can react to at once and it generally doesn’t relent until you have run out of lives. Yet it’s not just enemy waves that you have to deal with; every so often you get to fight large bosses that take several shots to kill but drop lots of items afterward, so they’re not only a welcome break from the normal flow of the game but also good to take on regardless. Even better, all of this is joined by the ability to have up to four players in simultaneous local co-op!

Decimation X3 has much in common with the original game, and primarily offers more polish to its flow and presentation. Very much a frantic and fast-paced shooter, it’s fun playing alone or with friends and comes at a great price. The worst thing I can say about it is that it is blatantly derivative of Space Invaders, but since it takes that game’s premise and makes huge improvements on it then that’s not much of a problem at all. If you enjoy arcade shooters or want a great game to play with friends, then Decimation X3 is a very strong choice indeed.


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Our Rating for Decimation X3 Review (XBL Indie Games)
7.5 Replay
7.5 - Easy to learn and play, and fun to come back to with its arcade-style score attack premise.
7.0 Graphics
Convincingly retro with some modern improvements, the only real problem is that it becomes very hard to follow what’s happening in later waves. However, this seems to be an intentional part of the game’s challenge.
6.5 Sound
Basic yet decent music and sound effects do their job well enough.
9.5 Gameplay
Classic arcade shooter mechanics work very well when updated to modern standards. It’s easy to learn, but gets very challenging later on and this is a good thing.
8.0 Multiplayer/Online Content
Up to four-player simultaneous local co-op is supported, and is very fun.
9.0 Overall
Very fun and affordable, fans of old-style games should definitely pick this one up!

Rating: 5.0, votes: 2

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