Under the Microscope: Xeroid

posted in: Games, Reviews | 0

xeroidFresh off the back of developing space shooter Overlord and roleplaying game Legends of MagicAmcog Games‘ Anthony Van Bartram took to the RISC OS Open forums to see what kind of game people wanted to see developed for RISC OS.

A few were mentioned, but Rick Murray’s suggestion to develop a clone of the old Archimedes favourite Fervour caught Anthony’s eye. The space-based maze game released back in 1993 cemented itself as a classic game of the Archimedes era for many a RISC OS enthusiast.

A few months down the line and we have Xeroid. Launched at the last Wakefield show, it is a space-based maze game presented in 3D vector graphics.

The game runs without a hitch on modern hardware running RISC OS 5, including the Raspberry Pi. It now also works well under emulation using VirtualRPC running RISC OS 4 after a recent update from Amcog.

Xeroid sees you guiding a spaceship travelling on a highway through space. If you leave the highway your ship will be unceremoniously sucked into a black hole.

If that’s not bad enough, the highway is plastered with various perils that could result in your untimely destruction. The highway is also perilous! If you ride over certain coloured segments your ship will be affected in certain ways. An example would be, hovering over a green surface will cause your ship to accelerate wildly, potentially throwing you off course.

The game as a whole flows well, the difficulty increases with each level and especially in the later ones, the game can be devilishly cruel. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing though, the learning curve when you first start playing and the increase in diffculty adds to the longevity of the game – which otherwise would be quite short.

The game includes 6 music tracks created just for Xeroid and features 14 levels – playable in Beginner or Master mode. Each level has puzzles that must be solved in order to proceed.

Although initially quite difficult, even in Beginner mode, a while of playing will see you learning some nacks that prove to be quite useful. A few tips would include judging speed and inertia in order to complete the track, watch out for mud, ski, ice and acceleration surfaces by changing lanes – which can be pulled off providing you are at the right speed and height.

A few months after its initial release, Amcog released a free update for existing owners of the game.

ScreenDump1The update added a new lease of life into the game, with two new music tracks and seven new levels. The new levels follow the same format as the original release, with the first level playable without a passcode then once you complete each level you get a passcode for the next one.

The graphics have been improved with the new update, although the overall look still remains about the same. The audio side was also improved, with the implementation of AMPlayer 1.40 giving better MP3 playback.

Overall, the game does a good job in providing solid gameplay with excellent atmospheric music to get the nostalgic juices flowing. The graphics as you’d expect, are very retro – but that is in keeping with the style of Fervour.

The game costs £9.99 and is available from The Pling Store, and the full source code is included. For those who have already purchased the game, the update is free. If you purchased it via the Pling Store, you can simply download the latest version, and if you purchased it directly from Amcog at a recent show, you should find a code in the packaging that will enable you to download new versions.

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