GAME NAME: Xavier
DEVELOPER(S): Prison Lab
PUBLISHER(S): Prison Lab
PLATFORM(S): Nintendo Wii U
RELEASE DATE(S): November 13th, 2014
As most of you who regularly read my reviews know, I love indies and I love 2D side scrolling platformers. There is a plethora of games from this genre on the Wii U and I’ve had the opportunity to review almost everyone of them to date. I would hope this would make me a slight bit knowledgeable to what would be perceived as quality in a title of this particular genre. Well with that being said, Xavier from Prison Labs is a pretty awful take on the plaforming genre.
In Xavier, you play as a teenage caveman back in the prehistoric era. Through the first few levels you will mostly be jumping from platform to platform and collecting coins and hidden treasures. One issue right of the bat is that on some of the jumps you have to grab on to a ledge and pull your character up. That sounds all fine and dandy until you realize that for no apparent reason Mr. Caveman thinks it’s okay to just let go of this said platform and fall to his demise. I’m not sure if your character’s suicide is the goal of the game but this happens way more then it should. The controls when swinging you weapon at enemies also feels clunky and there is a slight delay from swinging to hitting which is frustrating at first.
The game tries to mix it up a little when finding some of the treasure and has you playing a mini-game puzzles that you have to solve in order to unlock it. These use the touchscreen and would actually have made a better game then the platforming parts. The game can also be fully played through off-screen play. There is also character customization and a mobile game scoring system where you can earn stars based off of time, coin collecting and treasure collecting.
The graphics are a mixed bag. It doesn’t look awful being that it’s in high definition, but it doesn’t do anything special that leaves a mark on the eShop. Even though I had minor gripes with the graphics in Paper Monsters Recut, they at least had an art style in mind and went for it. Xavier just looks generic. The sound is okay at best. Again, nothing memorable.
There are probably around 20 better 2D side scrolling platformers that I could recommend that are currently on the Nintendo Wii U eShop. Prison Labs should take this as a learning experience in that the game has potential, there are some positives about the experience, but the first thing they need to look at and make work is the platforming. If you can’t even make a jump because your character randomly lets go of a ledge, then something is broken and needs to be fixed. This should have been caught in testing and fixed before release.