It feels good to be bad. Being a hero can be exciting from time to time, as the people revere your efforts and skill in vanquishing evil. In the world of video games, we have played this role hundreds, if not thousands of times. In my time, I have ended wars, slain benevolent Gods, defeated multiple iterations of the Nazi War Machine, and fought in the past to save the future.
If you have played video games, you have encountered a multitude of villains, ranging from dictators to evil monsters. I could go on and on about the various antagonists that exist in gaming. However, we can openly admit, that in some games, the bad guys were as incredible, if not more incredible, then the hero themselves.
Villains stand against all the principles of good, order, and justice. Some thrive on chaos and disorder, but the best ones, or perhaps the worst ones, have their own fortitude, as well as goals as to why they pursue such wrongdoing. In X-Morph Defense by EXOR Studios, you are the villain, or perhaps, the hero, as the classic tale of Space Invaders is turned on its head for an engaging and challenging sci-fi action experience.
In the space between our solar system, a massive seed vessel disperses pieces of itself across space. These pieces are small vessels, containing multiple core engines Within these vessels, an alien artificial intelligence awakens, activating you in the process. You are part of a non-biological aliens species, powered by cybernetic technologies, raw energy, and nanomachines.
As you and your A.I. scan the planets, Earth comes into view. Its oceans and forests are ripe with energy, necessary for the survival and expansion of your species. As your combat systems are configured, your vessels disperse cores across the planet, each core containing terraforming technology to make the Earth a part of your own civilization. Your objective is to assimilate the planet, along with all of its inhabitants. You are to preserve and protect your species by any means necessary. The Earth military has identified you and has dubbed you as the X-Morph.
X-Morph Defense is a combination of a tower-defense strategy game and a twin-stick shooter. As the invading alien force, players will play as a cybernetic conscious that takes control of a special combat fighter. Using the combat fighter, players will construct towers, create dangerous obstacles for the defending forces, and directly engage with enemies using alien weaponry. Players will need to adapt their strategy on the fly, changing turret types and creating different paths depending on the type of enemy encountered. Across each mission, players will battle through six waves, with each wave consisting of aerial and ground targets.
It’s a known fact in game development that combining two different types of gameplay mechanics sometimes results in an unpolished game, but I am pleased to say that X-Morph: Defense blends the mechanics of tower-defense and twin-stick shooting into one incredible experience, filled with non-stop action and a sharp challenge. As players are trying to assimilate the planet, players are required to defend terraforming cores that are responsible for turning the planet into a new homeworld, devoid of life and organic substance.
The Earth’s military employs cutting-edge, top-secret weapons technology, featuring armored suits, heavily armed tanks, UAV’s, lethal attack helicopters, and much more. Additionally, players will fight a variety of prototype weapons, such as Mammoth battle tanks and walking weapons platforms. These boss fights are a joy to take down and require quick reflexes to defeat.
To combat the enemy, players use a variety of turrets, each one having specific advantages and disadvantages. For example, the standard cannon players start with will engage light vehicles and tanks, but will fail to stop aerial targets. Eventually, players will be given access to AA guns, which will ignore ground targets, but naturally, engage aerial targets.
There are multiple turret types, ranging from artillery cannons to flamethrowers. These towers are constructed by the player in real-time. The special aircraft players fly has a “ghost” mode, which will make players invincible to enemy fire and give them the ability to construct turrets. How many turrets depends on how much energy has been accumulated. When ready, players can activate the wave and engage the enemy.
Players will need to be evasive and quick, as the enemy will directly engage the player with endless waves of aerial attack craft and armored units with Anti-air capabilities. Players will be able to wield an assortment of devasting weapons, from plasma bombs to homing lasers. Learning how to switch these weapons out on the fly is quintessential to survival.
When players learn the controls the gameplay experience of X-Morph is absolutely incredible!e! Each enemy downed and every wave conquered is a challenging, but rewarding achievement. The tight gameplay and intense action are blended with a phenomenal visual presentation. Each level is fully destructible, with players able to bring down entire buildings on the enemy and block paths. Playing X-Morph Defense feels like a cinematic experience that players are thrust into, and they are writing the script. COupled with a soundtrack from Pawel Stelmach, players are in for a truly unique and engaging combat experience.
X-Morph is a fantastic game, but it does come with some shortcomings. I feel there could have been more boss fights, as well as more variety with the weapons and turrets. Considering that players are playing as a cybernetic alien species, it would have been neat to use different combat vehicles Additionally, even on normal, X-Morph can provide a stiff challenge. I found myself stuck on one particular mission with no winnable solution. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t defeat the final wave. I wound up playing another level and attaining the necessary upgrade to finish the previous level. It was a short inconvenience, but something to pay attention to.
X-Morph Defense is a special gem of a game. Its incredible presentation is met with very polished gameplay and a stellar merging of two gameplay mechanics into one cohesive and refined experience. X-Morph: Defense proves that in the world of video games, its good to be bad, especially when you can level a city in the process.