As anxiety-inducing as they may seem, shoot-em-ups instill this intense satisfaction in the player who can dodge the hundreds of bullets swarming the screen unscathed. Of course, tons of video games strive to give the player that chance to feel like a total badass, but shoot-em-ups are often exceptional at doing just that. In that sense, XType Plus, a small indie shmup developed with the Nintendo Web Framework, accomplishes exactly what it needs to in a surprisingly lovely way.
As far as shooters go, XType Plus doesn’t necessarily break any major ground aside from one big feature: procedurally generated bosses. In its arcade-style format, the game consists of blasting your way through stages that simply contain one boss that will be throwing everything it’s got at you. What you have to watch out for though is how the bosses appear, as the game continually generates a new boss each time, making for unique experiences every time you play, as you’ll likely never encounter the same boss twice.
Instead of aesthetic differences, the bosses wind up having their weapons placed differently, protected by varying amounts of armor that you must whittle down accordingly, either one at a time or striking at the base of wherever the string of armors begin. Essentially, it’s brilliant. It’s an expertly crafted little shoot-em-up, even if there is no aesthetic variety to the game. Fortunately, the gameplay itself is exciting enough to overcompensate.
As a generally small game, there isn’t necessarily any sort of campaign, nor does there need to be. Aside from the classic bullet hell mode, there is also a faster paced “Plus” mode that gives you a limited number of bombs to use with great discretion, as well as a faster ship. They may look the same, but the two modes do have a distinct flavor to them. It makes for something very impressive, especially considering it was all created with the Web Framework.
Leaderboard fanatics are also sure to have a blast trying to fight their way to the top, making their way through their own uniquely constructed enemies. Players can also always upload their replays to the leaderboard to show off and vice versa, checking out the top players’ replays to borrow some strategies, which is pretty damn fun to watch the madness some people can actually withstand.
Unfortunately, there is no off-tv play support just yet, which I’m a bit disappointed about. Fortunately, the developer has expressed his plans to include it in a later update, complete with two-person co-operative play as well. Nevertheless, even in its current state, XType Plus is clearly a labor of love and a simple, yet expertly crafted shoot-em-up which arcade fans shouldn’t pass up, especially for the price of $2.99 on the Wii U eShop.