PN Review: Xavier
Xavier is a prehistoric platformer where you help a young caveman on his coming of age quest. It’s a very straightforward affair, totally functional yet unimaginative. On a system with no shortage of high quality platformers, generic games like this will likely struggle to find an audience.
The visuals don’t do Xavier any favors. It has a very dated look, with blurry textures and sparse animations (although Xavier’s level completion dance is funny!). It’s difficult to tell at times which platforms can be interacted with and which are parts of the scenery. There’s also occasional stutter. While I can say these graphics are fine with rose-colored nostalgia glasses firmly in place, honestly this isn’t a positive retro look.
The music is solid enough, although it can get quite repetitive. As each world has a dozen or more levels, you may find the tunes overstaying their welcome. Some animal noises in the background help round out the audio package. No sounds come when using Off-TV play however, which is very disappointing!
Control is done with the GamePad only. From the first level you can double jump, roll, and swing a hammer … and these are the same moves you’ll have dozens of levels in, thanks to a lack of new mechanics. There’s a slight delay when swinging the hammer, and basic tasks like pulling yourself on ledges can be a real pain at times! Wall kicking ala Super Mario is fun, but the level layouts only allow it to be done occasionally.
Replay incentives include such standards as collecting all coins and hidden diamonds, and finishing timed runs. Will gamers find these simplistic level designs with their very limited enemies interesting enough to replay however? With subpar visuals and no standout features (aside from some occasional underwhelming puzzles) I have my doubts. The replay setup is also needlessly clunky, forcing you to slowly walk Xavier to the level on the map rather than simply picking it. Reflective of little thought unfortunately.
I did get some entertainment when playing this game with friends, alternating levels, and chuckling about its dated aspects. However Xavier is simply too generic for its own good. With no ambition, excelling at the basics is an absolute must – this game fails to do that. There’s no shortage of good side scrollers on Wii U, so even those who enjoy simpler platformers have little incentive with forgettable titles like this. For them I’d suggest waiting for a discount. Even at just $5, the content (though plentiful) isn’t engaging enough. Everyone else can pass without much worry, and hope perhaps a sequel will improve things. In the meantime why not try Mobot Studios Paper Monsters Recut or Saturnine Games Turtle Tale instead?