3D Space Tank
X-Scape cover art
|Genre(s)||First-person combat simulation game|
X-Scape, known in Japan as X-Returns (X-RETURNS（エックス リターンズ）?) and in PAL regions as 3D Space Tank, is a first-person combat simulation game developed by Q-Games and Nintendo released on the Nintendo DSi's DSiWare download service. It is a sequel to the 1992 Japan-exclusive Game Boy title, X.
Players control a commander who has returned to his home after a decade-long tour of duty. However, an evil warlord has taken control of the entire planet, forcing the commander to take control of an enhanced version of the mobile spacecraft from the game's predecessor, VIXIV. Throughout the game, the player will visit 20 different planets as well as completing a number of main missions and side missions.
X-Scape is seen in a first-person perspective. It uses the Nintendo DSi's top screen to show players' surroundings, while the bottom screen acts as a means to control the game and a radar. Moving the stylus to the top of the bottom screen causes players to move forward, while moving from side-to-side allows players to look around. Pushing any of the d-pad or face buttons causes the players' tank to fire. There are two types of missions: tunnel and planet. In tunnel missions, players control the tank, attempting to escape through a narrow tunnel as fast as possible, avoiding barricades, attacking foes, and collecting coins to add to the constantly ticking down timer. In the planet missions, players are able to freely explore the area. They must destroy a set number of enemies throughout the world in order to progress to the next mission. Players are able to fly into the air by hitting pyramid-shaped ramps. Several secrets can be found throughout the game, including an ability to fly into the air at any time. Other tasks on the planet missions include searching for bombs in order to deactivate them, as well as hackable buildings that reveal the game's backstory.
X-Scape is developed by Q-Games and published by Nintendo for the DSi's DSiWare download service. Its lead designer, Dylan Cuthbert, explains that the development team wanted to return and make a sequel to X. It was chosen to be released for the DSiWare because of its visual style, which designer Kazuyuki Gofuku explains would be difficult to sell as some would not be receptive towards the style. Cuthbert adds that the service allows developers to experiment more than they can in retail games. When asked why this and fellow Q-Games video game Starship Defense were not included in the Art Style series, Gofoku explained that the Art Style games were about visuals and sound, and that it would not be right to force a visual or sound gimmick into a game if it is not necessary. After submitting it for testing to Mario Club, a group of people who test Nintendo's games, they found that most of them did not understand the motivations of some characters. In response, they added flashbacks scenes to the game to explain the series' plot. This was also done to help English players understand the series' plots, due to the fact that X was not released outside of Japan.
The visual style of X-Scape was described as being a great way to show off the DSiWare service's visual power. Many of the visual clues comes from retro vector games on the Amiga, like Starglider and Starglider 2 for example. X-Scape is Cuthbert's first game as the art director, citing "obvious references" such as Tron for its visual style as well as other "more obscure references". Kazumi Totaka, who was involved in composing the music for X, collaborated with Q-Games to compose the music for X-Scape. Totaka made many visits to Q-Games to ensure that he understood the game well enough to compose a quality soundtrack.