I went to FunSpot with my brother last week and spent a whole day playing classic (and not so classic) arcade games. I had loads of fun, played legendary arcade cabinets, and discovered a bunch of old and obscure games I never knew existed. If you’re wondering what XType Plus, a small Nintendo Web Framework game released on the Wii U eShop a few weeks ago, has anything to do with FunSpot, it’s because it is the first game I played when I came back from my small trip to New Hampshire and it felt like a true continuation of that day.
XType Plus is a slick, focused experience. It’s not really a highly original take on the twin-sticks shooter formula and is firmly grounded in the basics of the genre. You simply go up against (or simply try to survive) one procedurally-generated boss after another and that’s it; no powerups, gimmicks, or gameplay twists; and that’s the beauty of it. You can either tackle the Classic Mode, a traditional three-life affair, or the Plus Mode, which is a time attack where you have unlimited lives and gain time by destroying bosses and lose time when you destroy your ship. This mode proved to be, at least for me, a nice change of pace and an easy way to play in the bullet hell genre without sacrificing its main hardcore purpose as I’m rather awful at twin-stick shooters.
And really that’s it. XType Plus is all about shooting, surviving, and ranking points and it does it well enough that it felt surprisingly close to the arcade experience I just had hours before. If it had been an arcade cabinet, it would have been gobbling a couple of my tokens. Being on a home console though, XType Plus features online leaderboards with replays (with a fast-forward button!) for each of the ranked players, which turned out to be a very entertaining bonus. The GamePad, while not having Off-TV play option, displays stats like the number of bullets shot and the top player from your Friends List to beat.
My first draft for this article was all about the Wii U eShop and the questionable quality of many of its “indie” titles and how XType Plus is a perfect example of how to do a small game correctly. But XType Plus shines on its own. It knows its limits and doesn’t try to be something it is not. From a technical perspective, it is also quite impressive because it runs on a custom-made HTML 5 engine. Importantly, for its scale, it is a well-rounded package. In spite of the technical constraints of the Nintendo Web Framework and the current state of the digital platform it is on, XType Plus is a no-frills, finely tuned classic shooter, that for its modest $3 asking price, should be on everyone Wii U console.
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This feature was written based on a Nintendo eShop code provided by Phoboslab. XType Plus is available to download on the Nintendo eShop for the Wii U for $2.99.