XG Blast!

Whilst undergoing an experimental and down right ‘secrete’ journey into space, your ship, the ‘Aknathen’ detects something interesting, no, not the horrid discovery that Columbo’s wife is played by Captain Janeway from ‘Star Trek: Voyager’ in the spin-off series ‘Mrs Columbo’, but the discovery of another ‘energy spectrum’ which is identical to your ship’s ‘energy spectrum’. Surely not!
Shocked and frankly disturbed by this information, you start looking for the second ‘energy spectrum’ and then, oh dear, you happen to fall into a ‘black hole’ and into a totally new and undiscovered quadrant of space.

As told in the story, you are out to locate an energy that is the same as your ‘secret’ weapons energy and to do this you need to progress from zone to zone, fight though waves of enemies in various shaped arenas. The controls are simple, you use the ‘D-pad’ to move your ship around the arena and then either the ‘Action buttons’ or the ‘Touch Screen’ to shoot. Your secret weapon is the ‘XG-Blast’, a pulse wave that you can use if you find yourself totally surrounded, which depletes the more you use it.

Using the stylus is the easier way of firing at enemies, and the screen doesn’t get badly obscured by the stylus or your hand as much as I thought it would as all the game play is located on the Touch Screen. Then again, it’s near impossible to fight the boss enemies with the stylus as they fire upon you heavily, ‘scrolling shooter’ style. That’s when you notice the one cheeky plasma bullet that gets through via the hand obstruction, because you die. Again. Then again. And again…

I personally ditched the stylus and opted for button firing, it’s a little bit more effort but will pay off as you progress through the game. ‘XG Blast!’ does have some nice weapons such as the ‘XG-Blast’ attack and various other snappy power-ups. It has end arena bosses that fill half of the Touch Screen and that fire huge amounts of pain at you. The soundtrack is a delightful mix of a ‘Commodore 64’ loading screen and hammering ‘break-beats’ from one of those underground club scenes and is probably the best thing about the game.

So, it may seem to you that ‘XG Blast’ is the ‘Single White Female’ to ‘Geometry Wars: Galaxies’ on the DS and you may be right. There is an extreme lack of originality. I found that now and then, an enemy spawns underneath you and this can take half your health away. That’s coupled with the frustrating difficulty curve that ramps up as you get to the second zone. There’s also a story that, when it grows up, could be a ‘Mrs. Columbo’ script. Then there’s the fact that losing a life takes you back to the beginning of the level, just like when you continue – meaning that there’s no point in having lives, except to annoy you. Its retro styling is as colourful and eye catching as my favourite pair of garish ‘Converse’ high-tops but when bullet hell occurs, and the mix of 2D and 3D tends to be more distracting and confusing than a ‘Vin Diesel’ vs. ‘Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson’ bending over competition.

Compared to ‘Geometry Wars: Galaxies’, ‘XG Blast!’ will still be ‘Mrs Columbo’ to Galaxies ‘Columbo’: there are parts of it that are enjoyable, but ultimately it will end up as an inferior curio, largely forgotten in the midst of time. That being said, I would have continued to play it, if it hadn’t gotten so frustrating by the third zone that continued play would have seen my DS transformed into pretty pink shards as it exploded against the wall.







2 responses to “XG Blast!”

  1. kawabata avatar

    This game is much more fun than Geom Wars! 🙂

  2. Sqxmgfzh avatar

    CLWGhv comment1 ,

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