First launched in the summer of 2017 on Xbox One, X-Morph: Defence has now got itself a release on the Nintendo Switch. With an intriguing premise, and the promise of a new twist on the Tower Defence genre, can the game make the switch to Switch, if you’ll pardon the pun? EXOR Studios certainly think it can, but I dipped on in to find out!
The intriguing premise alluded to above is that instead of defending the Earth from alien invaders, in X-Morph: Defense we are instead playing as the invaders! The X-Morph Defence refers to a small fighter type aircraft, that in addition to attacking the Earthlings directly can also build various towers around the place to help defend the Core. Our objective this time is to drain the Earth of energy, with the Core being utterly vital in this pursuit. Holding the Earth Defence forces off, including some truly epic boss fights, is very much the order of the day.
The gameplay that holds X-Morpth together is certainly very interesting as well, being a hybrid of a traditional tower defence experience, where the enemy is found to attack down certain routes and you are left to plan an in-depth defence accordingly, and a standard twin stick shooter. In practice, this works in two phases, with a planning element allowing you to utilise where towers can be placed, linked in such a way as to try and make the route the attackers have to take as long as possible. Laser fences make tanks take a detour, for instance, keeping them away from the core and in the range of the the towers for longer. Any stragglers, or air forces, can then be dealt with in a twin-stick style by the X-Morph, shooting them down as soon as they show their faces.
You’ll also find that the X-Morph can attack ground forces too, backing up your turrets and killing anything that slips through the net. Add to this the ability to destroy buildings that are inconveniently found to be in your firing line and the scene is set for a truly epic showdown.
After a few increasingly difficult waves, the attackers will send in their trump card, a giant war machine to really try and ruin your day. It is these which will usually put your towers out of action, leaving it mostly down to you and your shooting skills to take them out. These are epic, multi stage bosses, and so luckily we have an infinite number of fighters to call on; even the first boss, a giant spider tank, takes some putting down. And believe me, they only get tougher from there on out.
The visual style that X-Morph: Defense runs with works very well on the small screen of Nintendo Switch, even if I did have to put my glasses on to read the subtitles. Perhaps though you can put that excuse down to my ageing years. Similarly, the control system is smooth and responsive, the enemies are varied and the bosses pretty damn jaw dropping the first time you come across them. The sound is also very good, with some excellent voice acting and a surprising amount of narration for a Switch title.
To complement the main campaign, and running alongside it, we also find a 10 stage survival mode, where you are left to just face wave after wave of enemies, all in order to, well, survive! This is a fun diversion from the campaign, particularly when it all gets a little bit hard and requires the consideration of new strategies. Which it will.
All in all though and it pleases me to say that X-Morph Defence works well on the Nintendo Switch. The sticks are easy to play with, and the control scheme is well thought out, while the visuals are smooth and never show a hint of slowdown, even when the screen resembles a bullet hell shoot-em-up. Most importantly though it is fun to play, being something I hadn’t seen before.
The levels are just the right length for a quick handheld blast as well, and all that comes together to ensure that X-Morph: Defence is certainly worthy of a closer look.
Release date: February 2019
Formats: Nintendo Switch (Review)
Massive thanks to: EXOR Studios