The Diabolical Trilogy is a collection of 3 retro themed games that released for most systems (reviewed here on the Xbox One X) just over a year ago. It’s taken some time for us to finally get to taking a look, so is all this 16-Bit styled goodness worth a look? Lets get straight into it.
With 3 distinct games, I’ll take a quick look at each one individually:
Riddled Corpses EX – Riddled Corpses is the twin stick shooter of the collection, tho its isometric as opposed to top-down, and probably my pick of the bunch. You’ll gradually progress through stages blasting enemies and collecting coins until you hit the boos at the end, the game here switches out to a more bullet-hell style. You’ll need those coins to level up or buy new characters, a must as the difficulty spikes between stages is real. Coins can be tough to collect at times when there’s seemingly no end to waves of enemies, but collect you must for any chance to fight, there’s at least some destructible elements to send hordes of enemies up in flames. You’ll need to grind often for gold, but be careful as the game starts adding later enemies into earlier stages as you progress.
Demon’s Tier+ – Onto the next one and this time we have a 16-Bit styled dungeon crawler. It’s isometric again but instead of slowly progressing through a stage you are exploring randomly generated dungeons to find a way to the next floor. Levelling up is tied to the run so staying in the hole as long as possible is best, but the drops can be taken with you if you need to leave early. You can use these to buy & sell, as well as get more currency to unlock additional characters, before heading in for another go. The unique twist to this one is the Grim Reaper will spawn into any floor you have been on for several minutes, forcing you to move on. Being invulnerable means you can’t fight and can only run. It can be a little annoying on the bigger floors, but generally works as it adds a jolt of intensity when needed for the most part.
Xenon Valkyrie+ – As expected of a retro themed collection, there’s a metroidvania styled game to blast through as well. You’ll have several characters to pick from with their own stats before heading out on a run into one of many randomly generated levels. During the runs you’ll level up defeating the foes and this gives you skill points you can use to upgrade stats & abilities, as well as weapon upgrades from chests to build up your arsenal. The RPG elements actually meld pretty well with the action platformer core, and there are some nice boss battles, but to be frank this is probably the weakest of the three for me. I’m not much of a metroidvania fan, though what is here does seem well done, it just never really clicked with me and is the least played of the three.
While each game has its own setting (modern, fantasy, alien world) they do still carry a similar styling that ties it all together as a package. If you’re a fan of chunky pixels and sprites, then this will be right up your alley and plays smooth on the Xbox. I’m not into the pixel graphics much myself nowadays, seen enough growing up, but I did quite enjoy the soundtrack which can be switched between a retro & modern style
I do appreciate the effort put into filters and the like though. Not all 3 games carry the same filters, but the CRT ones are generally similar and could be the best. They don’t just add scanlines and call it a day, they also give the games a fuzzy look like you’d get on the ol’ RF cable and the edges like the old screens too.
The Diabolical Trilogy is a pretty sweet package. You get a 16-bit themed twin-stick shooter, dungeon crawler and action platformer, all for under £20. The games look & sound great, there’s some good filters to customise how they look, with enough variety between the 3 games to keep you coming back – Riddled Corpses & Demon’s Tier even sport 2 player co-op. They may not all click with you in the end, but there’s something here for almost anyone and the low price of entry should entice the retro gamer in you.
A trilogy of retro styled games that isn’t actually diabolical