A.R.E.S. Extinction Agenda EX has been developed by Extend Studio and published by Aksys Games on Xbox Live Arcade and is a throwback to the Side Scrolling 2D shooters like Mega Man, Contra, Bob the Robot, Metroid, and takes things to the next level. In the game there’s a space station in ruin and a group of scientists are trapped by robots that serve them. The robots are being re-programmed by gas from a meteor nearby around the evil Zytron. A.R.E.S. is then created and it’s the first robot able to withstand the gas when it’s sent in by Dr. Carson to save the scientist before its too late.
This title sets players off right into the action playing as either A.R.E.S. or its partner Tarus. It’s a challenging gameplay experience and yet is forgiving to people who take the time to beat every level with patience and not just blaze through it. Players will fight weak enemies that will travel in large packs and must move quickly to dispatch each and every one of them. Parts that are collected in the form of micro-chips in the world will power up two soldiers in addition to the usage of parts collected from dispatching enemies to upgrade. Once you fill up the special move gauge both A.R.E.S. and Tarus can execute their special moves. A.R.E.S. uses a deadly laser-beam that strikes enemies directly from above while Tarus has an energy shield that he can arm and destroy all incoming enemies from his position. There are items to craft and suits to collect making the journey through out of the space station different during every play session.
The graphics of the game are great as the 3D molded characters are set on a 2D plane giving the game an old school feel while still meeting modern aesthetic standards. The game’s cut-scenes have an anime art style to them and the story is also told through text. The sound design is top notch with a rolling soundtrack that ramps up and slows down in certain situations, similar to Metroid, letting the player know when it’s time for action or exploration. The controls are fluid and use mostly all of the Xbox 360 controller. Navigating is done with the analog sticks, the face buttons control the firing / jumping, and the triggers control special moves as well as rolling.
In addition to the game’s 7 campaign missions, 14 if you count both characters campaigns, there are also online leader-boards making the replay value on this game high. The only problem I have with the game is that there’s no map system nor indicators in some parts of the levels which may flustrate or annoy the player but other than that the game is a superb Xbox Live Arcade title that shouldn’t be passed up.
A.R.E.S. Extinction Agenda EX is a graceful throwback to the 2D side scroller shooter/action games of the 1990s. A.R.E.S has fluid gameplay and visuals making putting next to other great indie titles on the Xbox Live Arcade. This title is a great game with only minor navigational setbacks but for the most part a solid experience filling the void of a Mega Man or Metroid title. A.R.E.S is well worth its $14.99 price tag and will fill your gaming void until the next game where many of its competition may resurface.
Overall Score: 8/10
RGN Rating: Gold Game
Developer: Extend Studio
Publisher: Aksys Games
Available On: Xbox 360
Review Copy Info- A digital copy of this game was provided to RealGamerNewz by the publisher for the purpose of this review.