Xibalba – Browser Game Review

Games like: Doom

Play Xibalba for free in your browser.

Hours played: 1.5

TL;DR

What started out as an entry for the 7DFPS game jam has ended in a nostalgic punch to the stomach for those searching for Doom inspired indie games. PhobosLab brings Xibalba, a chucky, blocky visual first person shooter bringing back some of the staples of the fps library from 1993.

Bring on the pain!

Bring on the pain!

Xibalba is a free, in your browser, game that gives you many options in terms of display. With the F11 shortcut to bring your window full screen, Xibalba also has its own full screen option that allows the game to take center stage. You’ll be stuck to using your keyboard and mouse although Joy2Keying (is that even a word?) to a controller wouldn’t be the worst thing. Keeping to the painstaking template that id software created, you won’t be looking verticle and most of your shots will be auto targeted to the enemies. Precision is important much like any other first person shooter, but games of this caliber do feel better using the mouse. Please don’t throw things at me. These type of FPSs deserve the twitchy movement of the mouse. Something, sadly, a controller has never been able to find. At least, not yet. (Do it, indie devs!)

Face huggers?! Here?!

Face huggers?! Here?!

Who needs a story when you are right fitted with a giant gun and thrown into a strange world of Aztec demigods, aliens and face huggers? Yes, there is a story here as it is displayed through cryptic messages of white text on a black background. Struggles of races trying to survive until a meeting with others from outer worlds to join forces to fit a common foe. My brain started to reel with metagaming and thoughts of creating a Geocities site of theories around the backstory trying to fill in the gaps of history. Then I realized, like many of you will, I get to blow stuff up and quickly abandoned any late nights pouring over html code and frame design for my fan site.

Don't forget to collect your key cards.

Don’t forget to collect your key cards.

It’s amazing to see how the FPS has changed so much as a genre from its predecessors. There weren’t any cover mechanics, stealth, or weapons crafting. No regenerating health or advanced AI. The bigger and more badass guns take precedence over precision shooting and headshots. And no “Doom-like” game is complete without a double barrel shotgun that takes a day to reload. You’ll also be dancing around slow moving missiles much like you do with Imp’s fireballs.

Yes... there is a story.

Yes… there is a story.

There are six different levels that consist of a jungle/forest area, aztec style dungeons and a military bunker. You start with a strange laser gun that replenishes its ammo. Along the way you can pick up other weapons, ammo and health packs that don’t regenerate. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. The enemies range from tiny yellow face huggers, humans wearing giant stone masks that can teleport to random spots and a tree monster that will raise vines of thorns from the floor in your general area.

Oh, no! I've been shot?

Oh, no! I’ve been shot?

There are a few jump scares as well when approaching new areas like ones with multiple columns that block your view of the whole room. You know that there are enemies here but you don’t hear or see them. So you’ll creep slowly, hugging the walls until you finally come across a monster only to be cornered by another from the side that you didn’t know was there. Or by opening a door to be greeted by a sentry gun that is activated by movement. It all feels so familiar yet new again.

I don't know... I"m still shooting.

I don’t know… I”m still shooting.

Xibalba is an FPS that’s free to play in your browser (and on your iOS device) that brings the love and gameplay from the genre’s origins with games like Doom. No vertical looking, no regenerating health or weapon crafting. Just picking up kickass guns, loads of ammo and killing an interesting mix of enemies to collect keycards to open doors and making it the exit. There’s nothing more simple or more fun than this generation of first person shooters. Xibalba is definitely a ride worth taking.

Play Xibalba for free in your browser.

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