Quasi-8-bit visuals, a bleep-bloop soundscape, and a lone space adventurer with unlockable abilities exploring a dangerous alien landscape. Yep, everything about this action-platformer is built to evoke a certain Samus Aran. Can it do enough to stand out on its own, though? In a word: yes. In 368 words…

For all of its very familiar trappings, Xeodrifter manages to create a fresh sense of exploration and fragility. It’s tougher than a rhino’s slippers, for a start. many veteran gamers who grew up mastering aran’s Super-flavoured adventures will have just as much trouble wrapping their now comparatively sausage-sized fingers around the challenge on offer here as they did their then-minuscule mitts back in the ’90s. The jumping controls are crisp and responsive almost overly sensitive, actually and as such traversal across the dangerous terrain requires an element of muscle memory and skill alongside a helping of caution.


Outside of the basic business of moving about, discovery is satisfying thanks to inventive new skills that unlock progression. You’ll find a path-blocking pool of water at the start on one level, for example, and will be unable to delve deeper until you push further into another area and unlock the ability to transform into a mini submersible. Each stage is set across four different planets, reachable via your own diddy spaceship.

Xeo we go
There’s incentive to get out there and explore, too, in the form of weapon and health upgrades. Your gun can be tinkered with and upgraded to allow for charged-up super shots or rapid fire, for example. But for all the neat little ideas that crop up, there are ferreting annoyances to contend with. There’s a lot of backtracking to be done, and enemy types tend to repeat. There’s only the one boss, too, which feels like an odd decision as it undermines the whole ‘multiple planet exploration’ theme. For all the running about you do, it can often feel like you’re getting nowhere.

Arguably, though, this is the closest we’ve been to the heyday of metroid (Other m didn’t happen, ok?) for donkey’s, and while it might not form perfectly, anyone with a hankering for pixelated blasting should suit up for it.

7.5/10