Namco's classic shmup has been hit with the mobile shrink ray. Find out if you should care...
Namco's Xevious is considered by many to be the grandfather of the "shmup" genre. While it certainly wasn't the first, many of its gameplay features laid the basic groundwork that is still followed today. Air and land targets, a mothership boss battle, vertically scrolling levels, etc. None of those features would be especially noteworthy in a game released today. In fact, they're so standard that they can hardly be called features at all. Xevious is the game to thank for the path the genre has traveled down.
Namco has done an admirable job porting the game to mobile handsets. The game scrolls smoothly and there are no hitches when even a dozen or more enemies are on-screen. Like the company's other classic mobile offerings, Namco also added an easy mode in which enemy fire is less frequent. Gamers can also give themselves more or less continues or set the air and ground fire to either auto or manual, to further tune the difficulty.
Sound design didn't make the transition quite as smoothly, however. Xevious' distinctive music is present, but only until you start firing. While the blips and bloops that accompany your ship (the Solvalou) are present, some others, such as the low hum that foreshadowed the appearance of the mothership, are absent.
Xevious is still fun, but its clear it wasn't designed with mobile play in mind. Like most all oldschool arcade titles, the game doesn't end, so your only real goal is to top your previous highscore, which in and of itself isn't a problem. The problem is that even reaching Xevious' default hi-score would probably take around 15 minutes if you're good (it took me more). Due to the nature of the game you'll be stuck playing the first few areas repeatedly unless you have large chunks of time to devote to your mobile gaming.
Make no mistake, Xevious is a great game. There's lots of enemy variation, a solid challenge, and a nostalgia-fueled sense of fun to be had with the game. If you're looking for a mobile title to spend more than a couple minutes at a time with, it's a solid choice. Otherwise, there are more mobile-oriented games out there, designed with the medium in mind.
What's Hot: Like all of Namco's mobile classics, it seems pixel perfect
What's Not: Isn't the best game for portable play