Categories: Video Games

The XEL review, a strange mix of puzzle and sci-fi

A story of loss of memory and identity, or so it is at the beginning, the one narrated in XEL, new title developed by Tiny Roar and Assemble Entertainment. Released a few days ago and tested for you on Nintendo Switch, we are ready to share our experience in this with you mondo sci-fi fantasy action-adventure, where we were able to reconstruct our path and our identity only thanks to a series of puzzle games to be solved and not a few difficulties and technical inaccuracies. Let’s see together what happened in this new title.

XEL, when dungeons meet puzzle enigmas

The story of XEL begins by making the acquaintance of our protagonist, a girl with a decidedly colorful and imaginative look, who just crashed her spaceship on a mysterious planet. Here she immediately makes the acquaintance of the little robot Chap, but she will also have to put her head on much more, having lost his memory after the accident. Not only that, there is also a crystal set in the forehead, of which we still do not know much. To understand what awaits her (and us), she must scout the place where she landed and capture one old sword as his main weapon, followed by a shield.

During the adventure there is no shortage of oddities related to the characteristics of the other secondary characters. These are functional to assigning missions to be completed, equipment improvement and combat support. However, this phase involves a series of fights not too difficult overall, with some higher rank found in boss fights. But nothing infact, mind you.

A puzzle game with some bugs and difficulties

Next to this combat system that is not at all difficult to understand, we find the other half of XEL: the puzzles to solve. How do you go about resolving each of these? Collecting cards contained in a sort of chest, moving objects or returning to the past, action possible only in some areas. And it is precisely at this point that we can detect one of the first problems of the game, that is the technical difficulty in opening the chests, despite having the right and necessary objects to open them.

In addition to this problem, the supporting actors we have just mentioned are commanded by an AI not at its peak performance, therefore their support will be relative and very limited. Another limitation that we have noticed in XEL is in the combat phase, where the parry does not always work and consumes a little too much stamina in relation to its effect, already in itself at low levels. Don’t pay for these bugs, we also noticed several glitches in the graphic rendering of the settings, a bit of effort in detecting characters to follow and other technical problems. Among these, the disappearance of subtitles ahead of time and the risk of wandering “in the dark” due to the lack of direction indicators.

A slightly “fantasy” graphic sector

Will the artistic sector at least be able to bring back the overall result of our XEL test? Difficult to say, if we consider that performance is not at the top of the expected level: at certain moments the game jerks or slows down, the movements are sketchy and not very visible, the walk of the characters seems to be fluctuating. Also the aforementioned stamina indicator has some unidentified problem with reloading sometimes, making a game that shouldn’t be unnecessarily complicated.

Finally, if the world of XEL presents a wide palette of contrasting colors and quite different scenarios, the problem lies not only in the glitches, but also in the loading the same areas. Defect also found in the passage from one area to another. An overall picture that hardly reaches sufficiency.

The XEL review in a nutshell

Basically, XEL looks like a sci-fi action and puzzle game, but in fact these characteristics are not highlighted in the course of the game, or at least not as much as we would have expected. The combat system is simple, perhaps too much, and the world around us seems almost too sketchy and not very detailed as a whole. Let’s not forget the considerable number of issues and bugs, factors that do not improve the overall performance. We can hope for a resolution patchso that the adventure can make the most of its possibilities.

Published by
Marco Dellapina

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