Spirits of Xanadu
Gameplay 7
Graphics 7
Sound 9

Desolate spaceships out in the depths of space always make for good game settings and Spirits of Xanadu is no exception. The game draws its inspiration from titles such as System Shock 2, but obviously cannot compete in terms of size and depth. It is still an impressive offering from a very small team though and makes for an engrossing experience. The voice acting in particular is a highlight, but the interactive environments are also a great touch. If you enjoy exploration based games and creepy locations don’t pass up on Spirits of Xanadu.

Gameplay: The focus is more on exploration than puzzle solving, but still enjoyable.

Graphics: Nothing cutting edge, but impressive enough for a small indie title.

Sound: The audio is decent, but the voice acting is very good

Summary 7.7 Great
Gameplay 0
Graphics 0
Sound 0
Summary rating from user's marks. You can set own marks for this article - just click on stars above and press "Accept".
Accept
Summary 0.0 Terrible

Spirits of Xanadu

Developer: Allen Trivette , Lee Williams | Publisher: Night Dive Studios | Release Date: 2015 | Genre: Action / Adventure / Indie | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam / itch.io

Flying alone to the far edges of explored space is creepy enough, but when the purpose is to investigate why a research vessel has gone very quiet it is even worse. Add to that the fact that this research vessel, the Xanadu, is in orbit around a mysterious planet and you’d have to be incredibly brave or stupid to take the job. In this game you step into the shoes of this lone operator who is tasked with finding out what befell the crew of the research vessel and then bringing it back to earth if possible.

Spirits of Xanadu is set in an alternate version of the 1980s where mankind appears to have mastered interstellar travel. The research vessel that you are sent to investigate isn’t very big as it was crewed by only three members, but obviously when you arrive things look rather bleak. The crew is nowhere in sight, the robots and defenses onboard are all set to kill and before you can move the ship anywhere it needs extensive repairs. You have the freedom to go anywhere though and along the way you get to uncover what happened by reading notes and emails or listening to the audiologs that are scattered everywhere.

The game is clearly influenced by classics, such as Deus Ex and System Shock 2, but since it was made by a very small team of indie developers it is obviously a little less ambitious. The developers still crammed a lot into the small playing area and made sure that the environments are as interactive as possible. The game is viewed from a first person perspective and although it features three different weapons I wouldn’t really classify it as a shooter. Enemies are limited to about three different types of robots and if you really hate conflict you can even play in “peaceful” mode, which turn them all passive. Your mission is also very straightforward and with a bit of exploring you can easily power the Xanadu back up and complete your mission. If this is all you do though you’ll be missing out on a big chunk of what makes the game so special.

Spirits of Xanadu actually features three different endings and obtaining all of them will require you to scour every nook and cranny of the ship. The game uses a simple visual style, so don’t expect photo realistic textures. However, the look does fit in nicely with the alternate timeline featured in the game. Options wise you can enable FXAA and SSAO as well as depth of field and bloom. The shadow quality can also be adjusted and you can toggle effects such as motion blur, bloom and film grain. The result is actually pretty good considering the amount of people who worked on the game and thanks to the great atmosphere it is quite immersive.

You start out in the shuttle bay after docking your own smaller vessel with the Xanadu and from there can explore areas such as the engine room, engineering section, medical bay, laboratory, offices, bridge, crew quarters and more. At no point does the game hold your hand, so you are pretty much left to your own devices when it comes to figuring out what is going on. Some people will love this, while others will probably end up missing important clues and wandering around aimlessly.

Despite the spooky premise and creepy location the game doesn’t resort to cheap scare tactics. The robotic enemies in the game can surprise you if you stumble into them, especially the suicidal ones, but you won’t encounter scripted jump scares. Your character can get hurt, but recovers without the need for health packs. If you do manage to get yourself killed you simply respawn back in the brig of the ship. The interactive environments are definitely the best part of the game and I wasted quite a bit of time messing around with the basketball, guitar and zombie arcade game. In addition, drawers can be opened and closed, toilets flushed, food eaten, drinks consumed and you can even smoke so much that your character passes out from it! It is not just audiologs and hidden pages that you’ll discover as you explore either, but also a nice selection of Easter eggs.

Although your character never utters a word, the voice acting in the audiologs you find are very good. These offer a fascinating glimpse into what occurred on the Xanadu before your arrival and range from touching to disturbing. For the most part the game is quite quiet, which allows you to concentrate on the audiologs or keep an ear open for the robots roaming about. The sound effects are also more functional than memorable. Spirits of Xanadu is best played using a traditional keyboard and mouse setup, but if you are really determined, it can also be played using a controller. The latter works best if you play the game in peaceful mode, but if you are used to playing console first person shooters you’ll feel right at home using a controller. The game doesn’t use checkpoints or auto-saves and instead requires you to activate one of the numerous terminals found throughout the ship to record your mission data.

Players who are fans of the games from which Spirits of Xanadu draws its inspiration will find this game to be an enjoyable experience. Personally, I would have liked to see it up the creepiness factor even more as at times the game can feel a bit too sedate. The short playtime is also a drawback, but the multiple endings definitely adds to the replay value. Overall I enjoyed my time aboard the Xanadu though and despite some shortcomings the game is definitely worth checking out.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows XP SP2 or later
  • Processor: 2.0 GHz dual-core
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Dedicated graphics card with 512MB of VRAM and shader model 3.0
  • DirectX: Version 9.0c
  • Hard Drive: 900 MB available space
  • OS: Windows XP SP2 or later
  • Processor: 2.451 GHz dual-core
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Dedicated graphics card with 512MB of VRAM and shader model 3.0
  • DirectX: Version 9.0c
  • Hard Drive: 900 MB available space

Related posts

Ephemerid: A Musical Adventure

Ephemerid: A Musical Adventure

It might be just as short as the lifespan of a real mayfly, but Ephemerid definitely lives up to its claims of being a musical adventure. The handcrafted visuals are charming and the soundtrack is something that you will want to listen to again and again. Don’t let its length and the fact that it was originally an iOS title deter you from experiencing this captivating title. Gameplay: Not very challenging, but it will put a smile on your face and is very relaxing. Graphics: Beautiful handcrafted visuals and plenty of unique scenes. Sound: The soundtrack is filled with some exceptionally good tunes.

Zombie Bowl-o-Rama

Zombie Bowl-o-Rama

Zombie Bowl-o-Rama doesn't look like much and to be honest it is going to be too short and easy for most peoples taste but if you enjoy casual games this one has its moments. The whole thing is based around wacky power-ups and the two-player mode is actually quite fun. You might want to wait until it is at a lower price tag however. Gameplay: More of an arcade game than anything resembling real bowling but has its moments. Graphics: Simple enough to run on virtually any PC. Sound: You'll be hearing the phrase "brains" a lot.

Batman: Arkham Asylum Game of the Year Edition

Batman: Arkham Asylum Game of the Year Edition

Batman: Arkham Asylum is as close to perfection as I have ever seen a game based upon a comic license come. Rocksteady Studios have come out of nowhere and released the definitive Batman game. Fans of the caped crusader will love this game but even if you only have a passing interest in the character you will find a lot to enjoy here. This game of the year edition adds a few extras to an already great game. Gameplay: Polished and engaging, this is the best Batman game yet. Graphics: Excellent visual style that retains the gritty look of the comic books. Sound: Excellent voice overs all round and great music.

Queen’s Quest 3: The End of Dawn

Queen's Quest 3: The End of Dawn

The End of Dawn is the third title in the Queen’s Quest hidden object puzzle adventure series and the second starring an alchemist instead of royalty. This time you have to go on a quest to protect the world from an evil dragon, which obviously means plenty of hidden objects to find, puzzles to solve and mini-games to conquer. The hand drawn visuals are quite detailed, but the story offers nothing new and despite multiple difficulty settings the game can be completed rather easily. It is a title that newcomers might appreciate more, but anyone who has played a couple of hidden object games before will find that Queen’s Quest 3 has very little to offer that is new or innovative. Gameplay: Plenty of hidden object scenes and puzzles, but everything can be completed rather easily. Graphics: Detailed hand drawn visuals, but the fuzzy cut-scenes are a disappointment. Sound: Neither the music or voice acting really stand out.

Pixel Puzzles 2: Anime

Pixel Puzzles 2: Anime

Pixel Puzzles 2: Anime packs the same innovations introduced by the previous entry in the series, such as rotating puzzle pieces and a sorting tray, but with a brand new theme. The anime illustrations are not only beautiful and colorful, but also a lot of fun to assemble which makes for an addictive experience. The annoying little crabs are also gone, but have been replaced by an equally annoying Pixel Fairy. Gameplay: Challenging and very addictive. Graphics: The new anime themed illustrations are beautiful. Sounds: The music is nice and mellow, but the fairy can become very annoying.

Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas

Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas

Oceanhorn impresses with its charming visuals and addictive gameplay while drawing a lot of inspiration from the Legend of Zelda franchise. It doesn’t quite reach the same heights as the Zelda games, but it comes very close which is quite impressive. Even more impressive is the fact that it was originally a mobile title and the developers actually put in a lot of effort to polish it up for PC. Thanks to its length, charm and polish we can definitely recommend Oceanhorn to all fans of the genre. Gameplay: More than a little familiar if you’ve played any of the Zelda titles, but still a lot of fun. Graphics: Bright, colorful and detailed. Sound: Decent voice acting and a great soundtrack.

Leave a comment

3 × 2 =