XType Plus review – more bullet patterns, please

XType Plus

Since the 2D shooter experienced a renaissance in 2003 with the release of Geometry Wars, the genre has refused to die.

Instead, it has maintained a constant following, albeit one that rests in the background of the gaming spectrum.

Which presents developers with a challenge. How should their 2D shooters innovate in a well-served market? The team behind XType Plus has opted to mix the dense "bullet curtains" of Japanese arcade shooters with the twin-stick controls as modelled by Geometry Wars, while also focusing exclusively on boss battles, presenting the player with increasingly aggressive space leviathans.

On the whole it's a good effort. Two modes – a classic arcade arrangement and time-trial version – are certainly engrossing and backed by polished visuals and luscious sound. But what XType Plus lacks is the depth of scoring and variety of bullet patterns that really provide hours of gameplay. A well-produced treat, then, especially for a pocket-change price, but one that falls short of the genre's finest.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Will Freeman, for The Observer on Sunday 17th August 2014 00.06 Europe/London

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