XEL – PC Review

XEL – PC Review

Genre: Action-adventure RPG
Developer: Tiny Roar
Publisher: Assemble Entertainment
Release Date: July 12th, 2022
Edited by AlexKnight2005

Xel is a 3d action adventure from the developers over at Tiny Roar and published by Assemble Entertainment. Now I do love most of what Assemble Entertainment publishes game-wise. That being said. However, Xel is not one of the majority. This is truly disappointing, considering how much I was looking forward to the game after it was announced at, I think, one of the e3s in the past two to three years. What looked like it was a promising game to come didn’t make the cut in terms of what makes a game great. So with all that, let’s dive into what’s good about the game before the bad.

I liked the overall idea of Xel. The concept of an artificial planet with an ecosystem is intriguing. It is something that you can believe is happening sometime in the future. One great thing about video games, movies, books, etc., is that they make you think things are possible. The soundtrack to the game is fantastic as well. In fact, as I am writing this review, I am listening to the music from it. It has a synth edge to the tracks, giving it a sci-fi taste. I usually don’t listen to the soundtracks for a game like that.

That is the only thing I like about the game in its current state. Now there are quite a bit of issues I found with the game. Let us start with the stuff that can be patched and possibly fixed. One issue that comes to light very early in the game is the issue of health drops. They a very infrequently dropped by enemies. So much it seems like you have to kill countless ones to get one. You can get them more frequently from scattered boxes, but they are not always present. This is alleviated some once you can craft food items.

Another issue is the combat system, which is clunky and doesn’t feel like it flows well. The dodge mechanic doesn’t always produce invincibility frames like most games. The block mechanic also has timing issues between the button press and blocking. Then there are hitbox issues with the enemies, which exasperates the dodging and blocking issues. The attack pattern is just a simple 1 and 2 swing and doesn’t feel all that flavorful. All the combat and health drop issues could be fixed with a patch or multiple patches.

There are a few things that wouldn’t be easily patched or not able to be fixed without reworking the game majorly. The biggest and most glaring of the issues I ran into is how big the map is for what the game has you do. This leads to a lot of backtracking and difficulties trying to move forward. That leads to the puzzles for the game. While most are simple and easy to solve, there are some in which the size of the map causes you to backtrack to find an item you need to progress further. This is typically not an issue in most games to this degree.

Another glaring issue is the camera in the game. Now I do love some top-down camera games. However, the camera angles in Xel seem way too zoomed out, leading to some environmental issues. Such as combat being obscured by a tree on the edge of the map. This, coupled with combat and health issues, can lead to undesirable situations. I died a few times because of problems like this occurring. For instance, I was dodging out of the way of an enemy and was caught on something I couldn’t see and died.

There is another issue involving the size of the world, and that is saving the game. The fact that the game doesn’t auto-save and the save locations are very spread out leads to sometimes huge swatches of
progress. This, coupled with other issues, can lead to a very unpleasant playing experience for some. Unfortunately for me, I don’t think I will be able to finish the game the way things are currently in the game.

There is one more thing I would like to talk about: the story. The amnesiac lead trope has been overplayed a lot in recent games, but it doesn’t necessarily drag the game down. Part of the fun is finding out
more about yourself as you progress with the story. The voice acting that goes along with the story is reasonably well done, although some of the comedic bits don’t quite hit the mark but are otherwise still enjoyable. However, with all the issues mentioned above with the game, this isn’t enough to make it a great game.

At this point, it feels like a complete but incomplete game, if that makes any sense. It is still very playable, albeit less fun than it could be. It is easy to imagine a much better version of the game. That
said, though, I can’t wholeheartedly recommend it to everyone. Although, with the game’s price, it will be alright to purchase if you can get it on sale.


  • Amazing Soundtrack
  • Good Voice Acting


  • Clunky Combat
  • The camera Feels way too zoomed
  • The map feels way too large

BoxCatHero gives Xel for PC a Drastik Measure of 5.5 out of 10.0 (55)