Two DSiWare shooters were on show at Nintendo's Q1 Media Summit -- X-Scape (left) and Metal Torrent (right). Both hail from different dimensions (of gameplay and graphics). I played them both, and you'll find my impressions beyond the break.
Responsible for the recent DSiWare releases Trajectile and Starship Patrol (along with the PixelJunk series on PS3 and PSP, and more!), Q Games has resurrected X -- an obscure 1992 Game Boy title from Argonaut and Nintendo -- as X-Scape, and it seems more than a little familiar. X was a first-person tank shooter; X-Scape takes the fight to the land and air, reminding us of a title Q Games founder Dylan Cuthbert made for Nintendo while at Argonaut: The never-released Starfox 2. X-Scape is entirely stylus-driven for air and ground maneuvering and features a ... unique art style. The different worlds all have monochromatic color schemes; red, green, blue and so on. The training stage looks eerily like a Virtual Boy game with its varying shades of red. My time with the game was brief, but I was struck by its production values and intense combat. Like most of Nintendo's downloadable titles, this one currently has a blanket "spring" release date.
If X-Scape brings back fond retro gaming memories, Metal Torrent reminds me of a time I'd rather forget ... when the market was flooded with shovelware shooters. Developed by Arika, it's a total bullet hell shoot-'em-up with less-than-heavenly gameplay. Level after level essentially scrolled past my ship while I held down the fire button and moved to avoid bullets. Yes, Metal Torrent sounds like a lot of shmups, but it lacked any soul. Unlike X-Scape, it really feels like a low-priced title that the developer didn't see fit to take past the basic "if it moves, shoot it" phase. Metal Torrent is due out this spring.