Xona Games releases Decimation X3 their sequel to their WP7 game Decimation X2. At first glance this sequel resembles everything that Decimation X has to offer. But to quickly judge this game “by its cover” you would be missing out on a fast paced bullet hell shooter.
Decimation X3 like its predecessor is a remake of the classic Space Invaders. You should know the formula by now; aliens attack on an X-axis while you do the same trying to destroy them before they touch the bottom or hit you. Upon destroying the enemies you get the chance to pick up upgrades featuring power spread, shields, rapid fire and more. These upgrades are very similar to the original as I didn’t see one new upgrade while playing DX3. That being said any more upgrades would be overkill as the bullets fill the screen almost completely already.
As progression continues, the enemies and yourself releases an abundant amount of bullets that I like to call the “Curtain effect”. This curtain effect at times makes you feel like you need to have super fast reflexes to get through the abundance of bullets. But DX3 has made it that you need to be able to study the enemies attack formations and formulate a strategy based upon how you destroy their lines. Decimation X had the enemies in a simple wave formation where it was basically the same every time, but DX3 changed this. Instead of seeing the same formation DX3 made subtle differences with the enemies, so you couldn’t just use the same strategy every time. Additionally, you can slow your ship down for those close calls between bullet hell moments to help under pressure.
Another new addition to DX3 is boss waves every 4 levels. This new aspect creates a new sense of tension as they are not shy of using as many bullets as possible. Each boss needs a new strategy as every boss is different shapes and depending on these shapes is how close the bullets are together. And just like Decimation X, the enemies don’t shoot unless you shoot first which you helps build a plan on how far you want to start attacking the boss. For example, some bosses just fly straight into the middle of the screen making less time for you to destroy them before they make their way back to the other side, so you may want to wait to attack until the perfect opportunity arises.
Like all retro inspired games gaining a high score is what makes you keep coming back more. This may be the only pitfall that DX3 has seeing how it is still lacking an online leaderboard. But to punish an Indie developer on something that isn’t easily established would be wrong. In order to create this for indie games means going around many loops holes that Microsoft didn’t easily implement. That being said the local leaderboards are what makes it even more retro. There is also the inclusion of a challenge mode that increases your chances of points due to not having any shields to protect you. Which in turn means faster wave completions due to more chances of point and bullet spread power ups that increase your overall high score.
Presentation wise DX3 is limited on options, but doesn’t lack on retro style graphics and pumping musical track. The soundtrack is a remix of the Imphenzia song from the original which was already perfect. Some may think that this would be a rip off of only including a remixed song, but why fix what wasn’t broken? The same can be said about the visuals, but they decided to make it even better. The main view is larger with bullets and flashier particle effects. In the original your ship was small as of now it is larger with a smaller hit box. Thus creating a lot of “Wow” close call moments. Another “Wow” factor is the intense visuals you get from obliterating the enemies that blast into ton of tiny explosions.
There are some who may think Decimation X3 is the same package as the original, but as previously stated countless times it is not. It is a fantastic improvement over its predecessor with fast paced gameplay, intense visuals, and a techno track that leave you enticed to play more. Decimation X3 is another excellent addition from Xona games bullet hell style games that I can easily recommend to anyone.