Aniquilation – Review
Follow Genre: Twin-stick shooter, Arcade game
Developer: R-NEXT
Publisher: R-NEXT
Platform: Switch, PC, PS4, Xbox One
Tested on: Switch

Aniquilation – Review

Site Score
Good: Character designs are okay-ish
Bad: Visual performance issues
User Score
(0 votes)
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Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)

There used to be a time when there weren’t a whole lot of big game releases in the summer. That’s definitely not the case this year, with titles like The Quarry, Final Fantasy VII Remake INTERGRADE, and Disgaea 6 Complete, just to name a few titles, all vying for your attention. The inevitable result is of course that some smaller indie titles go unnoticed, as not every game can duplicate Stray’s success story. One of those titles that will slip under many a gamer’s radars is Aniquilation, a co-op twin-stick shooter from Colombian developer R-NEXT. Of course, we felt like we should give the game a fair shot even if it isn’t the most enticing option at the moment. Can Aniquilation convince us of its worth or are we better off sticking to this summer’s big guns?


Throughout our time with Aniquilation, we couldn’t shake the feeling that whatever attempt at a story was being made was little more than an afterthought. Delivered through short text blurbs, the game explains how a race of extraterrestrials are allying themselves with the inhabitants of Earth in an intergalactic conflict, while the Earthlings are trying to find a way back to their home planet. Of note here is that our alien allies resemble voluptuous women in outfits that leave very little to the imagination, which is probably why the Earthlings agreed to ally in the first place. It’s a much more attractive prospect than teaming up with aliens that look like Crypto-137, of course. Unfortunately, we couldn’t make a lot of the story, mostly because of how poorly it was translated, but given how the premise is paper-thin, we assumed the developers were aiming to make up for any narrative shortcomings through gameplay. Oh, how wrong we were.


We already mentioned the designs of the buxom female aliens, and although we’d want to refrain from calling these drawings a highlight of the game, they are pretty much the best thing about Aniquilation -if only because everything else pales in comparison. From an art direction point of view, Aniquilation looks very, VERY basic, both in terms of ship design and environments. There’s nothing wrong with having simplistic graphics -just take a look at Mini Motorways– but everything here feels flat and lifeless. To add insult to injury, despite the overall visual simplicity, Aniquilation’s graphical performance is outright terrible. The game can’t hold a steady frame rate on the Switch and zooming across the planets just feels off as a result. We can’t wrap our heads around what went wrong here and we’re hoping that this is an issue that is limited to the Switch version of the game as we can’t imagine performance to be this bad on any of the other platforms it’s available on.


A thumping, techno-inspired soundtrack and generic sci-fi sound effects aim to add some gravitas to Aniquilation’s extraterrestrial adventure, but ultimately, just like the rest of the game, the end result isn’t even adequate to be called mediocre. There’s some voice work present here -if you can call it that. Audible dialogue is presented through what appears to be a text-to-speech program. This makes sense in the context of the game, but the audio quality isn’t very good and the result sounds very dated.


We should mention that although there is a rather heavy focus on co-op in Aniquilation, our experience with the game was limited to single-player gameplay. As such, your mileage may vary if you take on this twin-stick shooter with a friend, although we can’t quite imagine there being a whole lot of difference based on what we’ve seen throughout Aniquilation’s thirty levels. The aim of Aniquilation is to skim planet surfaces to track down enemy structures and blow them up, all while also fending off a seemingly endless stream of enemy ships. In between these levels, which comprise the core experience, there is a mini-game of sorts that sees you navigate your ship as you aim to avoid obstacles and collect so-called IQ metal, a currency that lets you buy upgrades. While this does shake things up a bit, we could have definitely done without it.

The game offers a fairly decent range of weaponry with which you can complete your mission. These weapons range from your standard ranged shooting attack to a 360-degree sword slash which allows you to take on enemies at close range. There’s also a shield button which deflects incoming damage but which also prevents you from dishing out any attacks while you’re shielding. It’s pretty standard stuff, and although the controls themselves are smooth enough, we felt Aniquilation didn’t do enough to really cement itself as a game worth playing, simply because it is so bland and unremarkable. It’s like R-NEXT stumbled on an old game they built in the early 2000s but never bothered releasing, and now decided to bring it to the public anyway. We won’t go as far as to call Aniquilation a snoozefest, but it feels dated and outpaced by its direct competitors. We even went as far as to look up whether this was a retro rerelease rather than a new title, but that search came up fruitless. Aniquilation feels like a title that was made 20 years ago, and not in a good way. It doesn’t help that the game also feels borderline unplayable in handheld mode on the Switch because of the awkward button configuration, making us twist our hands in very uncomfortable positions just to control our ship. This was less of an issue when using a pro controller though, and probably won’t be as bad on the other platforms.

Given how taxing the game’s performance appears to be on the Switch, despite the basic gameplay and simplistic graphics, we can’t imagine it to deliver any sort of decent multiplayer experience either, despite the game putting emphasis on its co-op and competitive multiplayer modes. Now, if visual performance was Aniquilation’s only issue, that would be disappointing, but at least, you’d have the option to find out whether or not that it fares better on other, more powerful platforms. However, we can’t imagine that better performance fixes just how bland and dated the gameplay itself is. After having spent several hours with the game, we caught ourselves wondering when Aniquilation was going to get to the good part of the game. Ultimately, it didn’t and we realized that we had wasted our time without having any fun whatsoever. There might be a bit of a redeeming factor here where the game shows its true colors when playing together with a friend, but given that there are far more fun options out there, we can’t imagine suggesting playing Aniquilation at our next game night.


Aniquilation is a chunk of bland mediocrity, wrapped in performance issues, on the Switch at least. While these issues may be less prevalent on PC, Xbox, or PlayStation, we can’t imagine the actual gameplay to be more enjoyable. This is a title that may have been interesting in the early 2000s but by today’s standards, it simply isn’t worth picking up. Given how the key art and the trailer lay emphasis on the female character designs, it’s clear that R-NEXT is trying to lure in games through sex appeal, but we recommend that you don’t get fooled by this and instead simply avoid Aniquilation.

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