Game review by
David Wolinsky, Common Sense Media
Xeodrifter Game Poster Image
Short yet difficult nostalgic arcade space adventure.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Basic "run and shoot" game; no messages.

Positive Role Models & Representations

No real story provided for character.

Ease of Play

Very straightforward, though slightly floaty controls. Player must precisely navigate around jumps, platforms.


No blood, gore, but when you shoot at things they blink, vanish offscreen.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that XEODRIFTER is a downloadable side-scrolling shooter that's a throwback to old-school video games. You run, jump, shoot, and collect power-ups; that might sound like a lot of other games, but literally that is the narrow focus. When players shoot at enemies, they blink and vanish off the screen.

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What's it about?

In XEODRIFTER, after an asteroid collides with your ship, you're sent careening into a small cluster of four planets. Believing that these planets may hold materials you can harness to craft into a new engine, you explore and collect items so you can get back on your journey. Of course, enemies, obstacles, and environmental dangers stand in your way -- your classic video game narrative.

Is it any good?

This is a very challenging game that's over in about three or four hours. This might sound counterintuitive, but what that means is you will die a lot in Xeodrifter. There's a lot of trial and error and some apprehension since it's unclear where you should start among the handful of planets, what direction you should go on each level, and whether you've found everything you need at the end of your exploration. It also doesn't help that you see the same enemies repeatedly, which makes it harder to tell if you're in an unexplored area of a stage or if you've wandered through those areas before. The upshot of this is you're encouraged to explore, probe, and poke around for secrets and areas you may have missed. It just happens that all the joys of wandering around are compressed into a handful of small stages, rather than a bunch of larger ones with fewer secrets. There's a lot to find; you just need the patience and curiosity to excavate.

The stages hold not only the requisite parts to repair your ship's engine but also hard-won power-ups so you can get more health (which is badly needed, since you'll die after one or two hits when you first start) and cause more damage to enemies (which also are badly needed, since of course your foes are much tougher than you). But getting around levels also can be tough, since you'll often run into an enemy that will crush you instantly. You'll also have to contend with the intentionally floaty/old-school controls; expect a lot of feathering your jumps and nonstop jamming on your "fire" button just to have a chance. As indicated elsewhere, this is a throwback to older games, meaning it similarly will be quickly polarizing on whether you'll like it or not. Just know that Xeodrifter is a short, and somewhat difficult, ride that's worth trying.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why you would play with an outmoded or intentionally old-fashioned product. What is the appeal of retro-themed or retro-based gameplay?

  • Are things that are challenging more rewarding? When does a challenge cross the line into punishment?

Game details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love challenges

Themes & Topics

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