Every now and again we get a random email seeing if we’re interested in reviewing a title. I had some time on my hands, so I looked at Aniquilation from developer R-Next out of Columbia. It’s a co-op-focused twin-stick shooter, where you blow up “buildings” on random planets to clear out levels. I have no clue what the final price will be, but after a few mind-numbing hours and many hand cramps, I’ll break it all down and see if this one is worth checking out.
No, It Is Not Worth Checking Out
There are attempts at a story here. The best I can tell is some alien race, mostly comprised of busty women, are helping earthlings out in some conflict. The translation is pretty bad, and the only voice work in the game sounds like a 2005 text-to-speech robot voice. Over the course of 30 levels, you will blow up different-looking buildings while fending off a never-ending respawning storm of enemy ships. In between levels there is a linear avoid the obstacles section that comes out of nowhere and is very boring every time.
The left stick moves, the right stick shoots in the direction you hold, and the right bumper is a 360-degree sword strike. The right trigger is a dash and the left trigger zooms in and out. B is a character-specific super move that uses a slowly built-up meter, and the left bumper is your shield which nullifies incoming damage but keeps you from shooting or sword swiping.
It feels like an early 2000s arcade game in every way, from the controls to the graphics. The performance is shocking on a Series X where the 60fps framerate target feels terrible in motion. If you look at the ship it’s holding but something about the movement around the planets is off. It’s full of judder and doesn’t look as smooth as it should. I have no idea how something so basic in every facet can have such a poor feeling performance-wise.
Co-op & MP Focus
While you can play this game solo the focus is on co-op or competitive multiplayer, neither of which changes how boring the gameplay is. With only one review code in hand, I tried some split-screen co-op and nothing changed. It felt like the same game except there were two of us. I didn’t get to try out the competitive multiplayer but with the control scheme being what it is I can’t imagine it’s any better than the main mode.
Options wise things are fairly limited with nothing special to speak of. Another major issue is just how much this game hurt my hands after a while. You need to spam the sword attack non-stop as it is far more capable than your ranged. It’s mapped to the right bumper though and holding both sticks for long periods of time while spamming the right bumper started to hurt after a short period of time.
I have been unable to find out the final price of this title. If it’s under $10 and you have someone to play with it might be worth checking out, though you’ll most likely finish every level in a single night. From the gameplay to the graphics and the lack of variety, there is nothing here that even reaches the level of being mediocre.
|Reviewed on||Xbox Series X|
|Available on||Xbox One, Playstation 4, Nintendo Switch, Windows PC|
|Release Date||July 27th, 2022|
|Rated||E for Everyone|