REVIEW: Stop the XOID!

You know, there may be something to this whole ‘Let my five-year-old kid build my game’ concept. Sure, there’s the immediate D’aww! factor of pint-sized game development, but worse things have come from perfectly-capable adult types with millions of dollars. So, kids and indies, why not? I have to admit, it worked out pretty well for X S.E.E.D (also from a five-year-old). Now we come to Stop the XOID! ($1.00), and once again, a kid takes the reins of Designer.

Billed as a sort of ‘proactive Tower Defense’, the game has you (or up to four friends locally or online) defending the planet from an invading army of robots known as XOIDs (pronounced ‘Zoids’, if you’re curious), one blocky arena at a time. Well, it’s only three levels, to be exact, but you get the idea. It’s curiously labeled a ‘beta’, so maybe it’s a miniature invasion to start. Like Delaware, or something.

While the scope of the war may not be epic, the impending battle remains the same. With an albatross-sized robot waiting patiently at the top (it serves as a boss battle, technically) infinite waves of enemy foot soldiers descend on your base below, threatening the ball of energy known as ‘lifeforce’. Destroying those advance parties will earn you dropped cash, which you can then spend at the local armory, conveniently-located just next to this raging conflict.

You’ll have a number of weapons on hand, ranging from guns and upgrades for those guns, to grenades and the very helpful sentry bots that you can place to guard your fort while you make the arduous climb to the top of the level. Taking down the big boss will complete the stage …and that’s about it. No bits of story to move things along or any progress saved. Pick another level (each successive arena ups the challenge) and repeat the difficult hike.

Stop the XOID! - Screen

I say ‘arduous’ and ‘difficult’ not because the journey is long or terribly fraught with danger, but because your character is so inept at the platforming. Even jumping gives him trouble, and he slides to a stop like the ground is made of ice, causing further frustration on tinier ledges. Battles often went on longer than they had to simply because I couldn’t will my generic space marine to the top. So while you can complete the levels solo, the busy work and anti-climatic nature of finishing it just isn’t worth the hassle.

That’s not to say it wouldn’t be entertaining in a group co-op setting (assuming you can find online matches; I couldn’t). Having others to divert enemy fire and / or make the climb in your stead makes it a much more manageable war. Stop the XOID! doesn’t offer a long-lasting campaign or a great deal of variety, but it plays like an adequate time-waster… so long as you have friends to roll with.

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13 thoughts on “REVIEW: Stop the XOID!”

  1. I’m not sure how I feel about letting five year olds designing video games. I mean, hell, when I was a five year old, I came up with a game where the only point was figuring our exactly how much trauma it took to kill a man!
    … It involved a wire coat hanger and a copy of Eight Legged Freaks, if you’re curious.

    1. …You’ve led an interesting life, haven’t you?

      Then again, I think I was throwing rocks at passing cars when I was five, so I shouldn’t talk. Bad friends, bad decisions. Once my parents caught wind of that… let’s just say I learned my lesson real quick. Either way, made me smart enough to skip Eight Legged Freaks! Ha!

    2. And with good reason. No offense to David Arquette, but he can’t carry your movie, no matter how cheesy it is.

      Interesting, though. So basically, this is your ‘Origins’ story. How the fabled boy critic got his start, how the world first turned against you….

    1. Ohrah.
      Grabbed Kinghts of the Old Republic for $3.99 on iOS.
      If you have an iphone Tim, its well worth it.

    2. Oh, I went overboard on Knights of the Old Republic for the original Xbox. I remember that night very clearly. Roommate picked up the game from Blockbuster (yes, Blockbuster, when it still existed), then he went out with his girlfriend to a movie while I stayed in. Started playing it at like 9PM, went all-night on it, then drove to Best Buy the next morning to buy the game (despite still having the rental), just so I could play on my Xbox while the roommate was on his.

      (Yoda voice): Dedicated, I was.

      So, yeah, I probably had a hundred hours in that game. $4 is a ridiculous deal, though, for anyone that might be curious. I do want to thank you for bringing that up, though. Went to take a look at it in the App store, and just saw they have a Tiny Death Star version based off of the original Tiny Tower. That’s just… just… plain adorable.

  2. I don’t know, but the word Beta at the end of the game’s description on the marketplace put me off. And ironically it was me last week posting about the vikingfabian game, saying that I’m not utterly against Betas and we shouldn’t expect XBLIG to become a platform for half finished games… and some days later this game got released. I’m still thinking that those two are just the exception, not the norm, and it’s only a coincidence they got released just seven days apart.

    I had a look at the developer’s website, Facebook page, Twitter and whatnot, but couldn’t find any additional information. If it’s not finished yet, what will be added in the future? Isn’t that something you want to tell your potential customers? The only thing I could find is that it will have five levels.
    And it somehow sounds that the XBLIG version is indeed just a beta before the proper game gets released on other platforms.

    But I’m not bashing the game itself, because I truly don’t have the right to do so (read: haven’t played it yet). Maybe I might even like it, who knows? And the art style looks cool. And with that I end this comment on a positive note, hope I didn’t sound too harsh.

    1. Nah, that’s not harsh at all. You have valid points and questions.

      I don’t know what to think about the marketplace now. It’s been an interesting past few weeks, so I hope you’re right. Once is a coincidence. Twice is troubling. We’ll have to watch what happens next. 🙂

      Stop the XOID! does seem a little light, and the ‘beta’ mention would fit the bill. It’s good that its being expanded to five levels, but it’s hard to tell where it could go from there. I will say that this is definitely a game that needs two or more people playing to be fun. You could classify it as a ‘party game’ then, I guess, because there’s no real progression being made otherwise. Maybe that was the intention.

    2. The full game will be released on PC:

      http://esotericsoftware.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=2560

      Quote: I will be working on the PC version now which will have many more weapons, upgrades, maps and PvP maps too.

      Not even sure now if the XBLIG version will get any updates.

      PS Haha, was just goofing around with some online oracle thingy and asked, if there’s any more betas coming to XBLIG within the next weeks. The answer: It is decidedly so

    3. Ah, well, there you go. XBLIGers get the shaft, maybe. I suppose the update could always be pushed through once the PC version gets sorted, but given how fast Xbox Indies lose momentum once they’re off the New Releases list, it may fall on deaf ears and blind eyes.

      Eh, that sours my opinion on it a little bit, now that I know it’s not the ‘full’ game the developer envisioned. We get the cast-offs and glorified demos, but I’ll stand by my ‘party game’ verdict so far as the multiplayer goes. Good find, though! I should have done some more digging myself.

      And damn your oracle, sir! I will not accept its prophecy!

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