Shitty interfaces and first impressions: XenonValkyrie

I got a copy of XenonValkyrie from IndieGamerChick on for this #IndieSelect thing going on. I figure if I develop games as an independent developer, I might as well play done by others.

This isn't a full review because I didn't finish the game (and from a first look I don't know if you can but I couldn't beat the first area in my first few tries) but the game sure pissed me off real quick.

First, none of my controllers worked. Yes, I did the whole “close the game, plug in controller, restart game” thing. Maybe if I had a wired Xbox controller it would work since the menus are filled with buttons that look like they come from an Xbox controller. I don't (Actually, I should now that I think about it, but I don't know if it is wired and/or if I have the wired charging thing.) but not working with three different controllers is a bit frustrating. This could be Window’s fault for all I know. There is a reason I gave up on PC gaming for so long.

Anyway, what pissed me off is the game music is loud and it has two options. On or off. Seriously? I know one of my games only has an on/off button, but it is also mobile where players have a bit more flexibility with sound than on a PC, especially with streaming. I guess I could mess with the OBS settings for desktop volume, but then I have to create a unique scene for that game and yada-yada. It's kind of annoying.

Okay, but I found a bug with this setting just by using it. If you turn the music off, it goes off. If you hit escape, your settings are not supposed to be saved, but the music stays off. If you go back in and turn the music on, it doesn't start playing again unless you hit enter to save settings. If you hit escape it stays off.

Now, am I one to talk? My games probably have a handful of bugs I am unaware of. Still, frustrating, especially after the whole controller issue. I altered my keys in settings, but it didn't seem saved except it did until it didn't and I know it sounds confusing and I sure was confused. I thought I changed the keys and hit F1 to save (weird as F1 had not been used prior), but then I played the game and it wasn't working like I thought. Then I reset it, saw my keys had been defaulted back to the original and then set them and then they worked, so I am not entirely sure what happened there. I could have done something dumb. I’m not above blaming myself for mistakes. But it sure felt weird.

Goodness, I haven't even gotten to the game itself and I’m frustrated.

The font they chose is honestly terrible. The W looks like a blob of pixels and some of the other letters are understandable but just… weird. This gets even more confusing as you play because killing an enemy results in a display of +# XP (or EXP? I forget honestly, but it is understandable.) but picking up money does not result in a number appearing above the character’s head like XP and picking up another item just has +# in purple appear, but I have no idea what that is. I think it might be ammo, but since that is a limited resource unlike swinging the sword the character has, I tended to not use it much.

There are three characters to choose from. I tried two of them. Their differences seem to be what extra item they come with. Everyone seems to have a sword, a gun, a special item and grenades. The grenades are weird because you start with three, I’m not sure if you can get them refilled, and there is a timer between using them. I’m not sure why you'd have a timer between grenades unless they wanted to prevent multiples from being on screen at the same time for some reason, but it still feels weird.

One character has a radar, which like the grenades is bound by a timer but seemingly has unlimited uses. What it does I’m not entirely sure since the map seems to display stuff just fine. Maybe it displays more and I didn't notice? I’d play around with it more but one of the characters comes with a timer bomb as their special weapon and that's basically a grenade that gets placed where the character is. And it's unlimited, blows up terrain allowing easy access to other areas of the map so I'm not sure why you wouldn't use this character unless the third one has something interesting that I haven't seen yet. I'll have to try them out.

I may sound like I’m whining, but there are a lot of little “quirks” that just don't make the game that much fun. Or confuse me. There's an enemy that explodes after you kill it. Okay. That's fine. Except sometimes it is after a few seconds and sometimes it instantly explodes. I'm not sure what causes the difference. There are “fake” blocks which feel like certain blocks of the random dungeon just have a hit-box that is larger than it should be. But maybe that’s the programmer in me thinking too much.

Anyway, I’ll keep at it, but first impressions: Yech.