Exile Squadron – Review
Follow Genre: Arcade, Bullet Hell
Developer: One Bit Studio
Publisher: One Bit Studio
Platform: PC
Tested on: PC

Exile Squadron – Review

Site Score
3.8
Good: Commendable effort
Bad: Sound design, Useless options, Very limited content, Steep asking price
User Score
2.0
(4 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 2.0/10 (4 votes cast)

2D bullet hell games come in all shapes and sizes, and while it’s hard to do something wrong with the genre, it’s also hard to make an impressive game or try something that hasn’t been done before. Recently we were contacted by One Bit Studio to take a look at their one-man project Exile Squadron, which is a side-scrolling bullet hell game. Many creators prefer to create such games from a top-down perspective, so it was nice to have a change of pace and see a side-scrolling variant. While Exile Squadron is a commendable project for a one-man team, we found it quite short and somewhat bland, with many mechanics and upgrades that serve no purpose.

Story

Exile Squadron’s story is somewhat Gundam-esque as it plays itself out in the year 2120, where the Earth has spawned several colonies in space. The colonies and Earth have been in conflict before but they finally found themselves an age of lasting peace. Sadly, it seems that war is once again around the corner, and you, a valiant space captain seems to be the only hope of restoring peace.

The story is simple, and while you have enough information with the basic intro and the mission descriptions, you can collect more backstory if you destroy certain enemies. This extra story content can be read in a gallery and might serve as a juicy okayish bonus for those seeking more story value.

Graphics

Graphically Exile Squadron looks like a first project of the developer, and to a certain extent, this is true. One Bit Studio only released an RPG Maker game back in 2017 and this is probably the developer’s first fully crafted game. The design is properly done but in a very pixilated simplistic fashion. There is also little contrast between items in the back- and foreground, sometimes making it hard to see if some objects are obstacles or not. Overall this game could have used a lot of polishing, but the retro style does have some charm, especially since the creator did try to create a proper variation in the enemy models.

Sound

The sound design is also quite simplistic and for a game such as this, it’s all about the sound effects. The sound effects suffice for what you’re doing, but you won’t have the impression you’re in the midst of an impressive space battle. It feels as if many items in the sound department have been taken from a free database, which is not that uncommon for small projects such as this.

Gameplay

Exile Squadron is a 2D side-scrolling bullet hell game, which means you’ll be treated to arcade gameplay for the most part. The game throws you in only a handful of levels to save the Earth from the menacing threat of the colonies. You’ll have a spaceship at your disposal, which you can equip with different weapons, secondary weapons, and a special ability. This is certainly a plus and it creates a goal to strive for. Sadly, when you pick the weapons and upgrades you fancy the most, you won’t need any additional currency anymore when you complete the first three levels. Of course, you can still upgrade the items you don’t use, but this feels somewhat useless. Then again, the game only has little more than five levels, which is practically nothing, thus relative to the content, it’s understandable to have a fully upgraded craft this quickly in the game.

During the levels, you’ll get some extra objectives, which aren’t always clear on how they work. You often get enemies that indicate that they’re hacked, but you don’t know how you can solve this, except by blowing them to smithereens. We reckon you are forced to experiment with different weapons and upgrades, but the game creates no incentive to actually do so.

If you play through the game, which is incredibly pricey for the limited content it has, you can always opt to change the difficulty. This is a great way to lengthen the replay factor of a game, but in this case, there is just too little content to go around.

Conclusion

Exile Squadron is a fairly decent attempt of a single developer to make a side-scroller, with weapon upgrades, a story, and an original design, albeit a very simplistic design. Sadly, it shows that the developer is still rather inexperienced and should focus more on polishing his future projects. We can commend the lone developer for doing everything himself, but in this day and age, asking nearly 8 Dollars/Euros for a game that you can beat in thirty minutes is quite silly. Throw in useless mechanics, unpolished graphics and bland sound design on top of hardly any content, and you’ll have yourself a very forgettable project. If the price is heavily reduced, this isn’t the worst game to spend a buck on, but as it stands now, there are many superior games on the market for lower asking prices.

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Rating: 2.0/10 (4 votes cast)
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Exile Squadron - Review, 2.0 out of 10 based on 4 ratings
Ibuki
Ibuki


Aspiring ninja.

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