TinyXEVIVOS is a quirky re-imagining of Xevious, the pioneering Namco shooter that introduced the vertically scrolling shmup, as well as the secondary bomb weapon for hitting ground targets. This new version by Japanese developer Kigeki Yahonpo is more of a tribute than a remake, retaining the look and sounds of the original, but changing the levels and certain mechanics to make it a fresh experience.
The first thing you'll notice are the fantastic pixellated visuals that seem like a devolution of the 1983 classics, already primative, graphics. Only here they contain bags of charm, and the neat explosion effects lend the game its own style. It may resemble Xevious re-created in Lego bricks, but it still manages to hold a lot of visual appeal. Music is also a huge improvement, featuring far less ear-piercing sound effects than the original, alongside a pounding techno / gabber soundtrack - though you may feel differently, depending on your tolerance levels for this style of music.
You still have your forward firing shot and your secondary bomb attack for ground based targets, only this time the bombs are in limited supply. It's never really an issue, thankfully, as you gain more by destroying airborne targets. At the end of each area is the obligatory boss, usually a huge flying machine pumping out projectiles. Impervious to your bullets, they can be brought down with a well placed bomb to their glowing centre - the hard part is avoiding their bullets in order to get close enough. In a possible nod to other Namco games such as Pac Man, fruit items make an appearance. Upon blasting a group of enemies, a juicy banana or strawberry is dropped and can be collected for extra points. It can also be repeated shot, keeping it on-screen while also multiplying its score value - handy for the included online leaderboards.
TinyXEVIVOS is great fun. The controls feel precise and destroying waves of enemies and landing a well placed bomb on a ground turret feel extremely satisfying. The quirky visuals only add to the experience, and before long you will be hooked. It's worth noting that the game starts in windowed mode, but can be switched to full screen with a tap of the Enter key. TinyXEVIVOS comes highly recommended to fans of retro shmups!
To download the game, visit the homepage, here.
Developer : Kigeki Yahopon
Year : 2013
Systems : PC
Price : Free
Genre : Shmup