Twin-stick shooters have been around for decades and I suspect, for a great many years to come. There’s something particularly alluring about being dropped into the thick of it and needing to mow down anything that comes your way. Riddled Corpses EX is the latest twin-stick shooter to hit Xbox One and despite the over-crowded genre, it manages to stand out. Much to be expected, there’s not a lot of story going on here. That’s forgivable though, seeing as many twin-stick shooters rest much of their strengths on the gameplay alone.
The setting, as expected from the title, takes place within the zombie apocalypse. Players take on the role of one of six characters, each of which arriving with their own unique traits and abilities ranging speed and damage output. Riddled Corpses EX is a very accessible game, yet one that comes with a pretty harsh challenge. That means that you can expect to die, over and over again, before you feel like you’re making any progress. Though, its overarching progression system shaves away the frustration often found in these games.
On that front, it’s not too dissimilar to, let’s say, Full Metal Furies, being that despite how often you bite the dust, you’re still slowly working towards being a more competent fighter. There’s a lot of grinding involved from the get-go, but as you begin to gradually up your character’s stats, the game becomes far less tedious and far more enjoyable. Riddled Corpses EX will show you just how tough it can be from the get-go, made apparent by the shower of undead enemies that will fill your screen in the blink of an eye.
The underlining goal is to make it through a range of progressively difficult stages whilst fighting back against a nice portion of enemy variations. Gold, the game’s currency, will be rewarded often, which can then be used to further the capabilities of your characters. I cant say that I’m a fan of grinding, but Riddled Corpses EX’s simplistic design makes it much more bearable. I spent several hours alone hording gold, just trying to reach max level. Mercifully, due to each upgrade having a noticeable effect, it’s a system ultimately worth the time.
On the flip-side, because Riddled Corpses EX only supports a handful of levels, it can eventually become boring. Especially if you’re used to more variety when it comes the fields of play. Nevertheless, I quite liked its design and can safely say that even when I grew tired of doing the same thing repeatedly, I was drawn back to the game regularly. It’s not a flawless offering, but it does well to scratch that twin-stick itch. Sadly, I cant wholeheartedly commend the game. There’s a few annoyances within that I just simply cant overlook.
Chief among them? Its cheap deaths. Enemies will arrive thick and fast and will often immediately attack you upon spawning. This isn’t so much of an issue when they spawn in at a distance, but if they happen to spawn in shoulder-to-shoulder, you’re pretty much screwed due to having absolutely zero reaction time. There’s literally no way to overcome this and when you’re already contending with a full screen of flesh hungry freaks, it can be disheartening to have lives taken from you for something that falls to a poor design choice.
Still, that’s a small, if frustrating, issue to contend with in the grand scheme of things. Riddled Corpses EX offers a solid twin-stick shooting experience for a very affordable price. It may be light on its content as far as its locations are concerned, but this is somewhat alleviated by its three distinct game modes; arcade, story and survival. The inclusion of local co-op play makes for some very fun, yet still very tense, couch play. This may not be a revolutionary game, but it manages to tick many of the boxes that it needed to, to stand out.
Its visuals are far from impressive but sit well with the genre and the theme of the experience. The same can be said about the soundtrack, which at the very least, helps to relay the constant action that players will be subject to, frequently. This is, by and large, well worth the investment. There’s hours of content to soak up if you can forgive the grind, which is made much easier by how fun it is to progress throughout as players go from weakling to all-out Chuck Norris. Challenging it is, but ultimately satisfying regardless.
Riddled Corpses EX offers a well rounded twin-stick shooting experience that doesn’t take itself too seriously. There’s one hell of a grind involved but its fluid mechanics along with its simplistic progression system, helps to alleviate any frustration. Some odd design choices will infrequently annoy, however, with that being said, this is one experience that fans of the genre will more than appreciate.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.