Xeno is a simple game very stylishly presented. Imagine a sort of futuristic ice hockey meets shove ha'penny and that's it, the whole game.
Xeno has supposedly developed from a pastime improvised by miners on Io - basically involving drunken men pushing ice blocks at a puck. Somehow the puck has to be shoved between two poles to score a goal. The modern version features the puck and two skimmers which, despite featuring the latest technology are about as hard to control as the original blocks of ice.
The chief feature of the game the first few times you play it is the large number of different ways it is possible to score own goals by whizzing helplessly out of control and accidentally striking the puck a glancing blow. I lost 30:1 with 25 being own goals, the first time I played.
There is a technique of course. You gradually learn how to carefully control the amount of energy you put into each push and how not to spend your time hurtling from one side of the pitch to the other.
It's particularly dispiriting when you aren't even in sight. The pitch extends over several screens and the computer 'camera' follows the action around the puck. If you aren't near the puck you aren't in the picture at all.
It looks pretty wonderful though. The illusion of perspective is well achieved as you seem to be looking over the heads of the crowd at the action. The scrolling is extremely smooth and the sense of frictionless movement adds to the feeling of movement across the ice.
Xeno has the marks of a classic game - you can develop different strategies to win. One you might find useful is going for the enemy skimmer rather than the puck. It's unsporting of course but I was able to live with myself.
Yep. I liked it very much. It's very well programmed and should last a bit longer than the usual four weeks.
Author: A 'n' F
Reviewer: Graham Taylor
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