I’m reviewing DSiWare you should buy. Cheap and easy, just how I like my games.
Part 1: Intro
I would argue that Dylan Cuthbert and his studio Q-Games are the kings of downloadable games. Over the course of a few DSiWare articles you might understand why I speak such truths.
Q-Games have been able to impress me consistently in the downloadable content era by helping me imagine a world where we went directly from SNES to downloadable titles on the DSiWare. All the big budget blockbuster bullshit that home consoles have become is washed away. Cuthbert flips the script on these big spending fools, releasing downloadable games just as fun and intuitive as anything back in my pixelated heyday.
Well, for Cuthbert, those days were already polygonal, having created 3D graphics in Argonaut’s first game, X, which came out on the Mother F-ing Gameboy back in 1992 (British developers were laying down epic coding as personal computers began to hit homes in England in the early 80s, Classic Argonaut and Rareware are proof of that).That early mastery of 3D processing might account for the vector graphics, sharp angles, and minimal use of colors that make current Q-Games releases stand out so well.
X-Scape owes a lot to X and the Star Fox series. Q-Games used this knowledge to craft a clear spiritual successor to them both. Much like Cuthbert’s Game Boy and SNES days, Q-Games rings some stellar graphics out of the DS. This isn’t evident in screenshots, but the varying color schemes, shaky wartime camera shots and polygonal mother ships that explode as if they’re made of stained glass make for some standout visual effects. I wasn’t expecting anything so vibrant from some colored in wireframes.
Strong or significant elements of arcade storytelling have been woven into their simplistically styled downloadable software, which is a habit first realized in the talkativeness of the original Star Fox. That isn’t to mention the obvious inspiration for the tunnel shooting introductions and “all-range Landmaster” gameplay of the game. It’s easy to imagine that a few ideas that didn’t work their way into past Star Fox iterations found a home within the polygonal world
WIth X-Scape being the spiritual successor to 1992’s X, it would be easy to imagine a simple arcade style update with a few levels and a remixed song or something. You could expect that from some other companies, but Q-Games seems to go pretty hard to make sure they don’t create games that feel unfinished or cheap just because they are not retail sold spectaculars.
This game, like a lot of downloadable games, is an underrated gem, and deserves to be in every action loving 3DS/DSi owners collection. It gets a lot of things right, creating a fun, stylized world to fly and shoot around in, but there are some ways to make this a longtime classic, and that is way I have this to say to Q-Games
Dear Q-Games and Mr. Cuthbert,
Please consider creating an X-Scape 2 for the 3DS eShop and imagine the possibilities at hand! You would have a more eShop savvy Nintendo audience to provide the game to. Those crisp vector graphics would be even crisper, and in 3D. Of course, the Star Fox 64 3D battle mode that was criminally left without an online mode could finally be resolved by adding online multiplayer in this game. All that and more could be true if you just create a spiritual successor to this spiritual successor.