Home Reviews 3.5/5 Review Lords of Exile Review

Lords of Exile Review


Another day, another retro style platformer plops onto the doormat. And that means another review introduction begins to stir in the depths of my mind. I’ve been playing quite a lot of this style of game just recently, and so I’m going to fall back on the age-old technique of just giving you the facts – chucking in some opinion for good measure. 

So what we have here is a game from Squidbit Works and PID Games, and it goes by the name of Lords of Exile. It promises to be an action adventure platformer with an 8-bit art style, and, well, now I seem to have run out of facts. Let’s get on with the opinion part of the review, shall we?

Lords of Exile review 1
Retro platforming standards

The story of Lords of Exile is short and succinct. We are living in a land called Exilia, in a time of war. With a kind of Far East setting, the land has become overrun with not only evil creatures of the night, but also with Samurai. Now, usually you wouldn’t think that Samurai appearing would be a bad thing, what with their rigid code of honour and everything, but apparently they are also our enemies. We are Gabriel, a cursed knight who has somehow appeared in the Far East (don’t ask, if we start to pick at the story it may well unravel) and we are the only one who can bring peace to this beleaguered land. Ready to save the world, again?

Now, presentation is the next on my list, and here the news is pretty much as you’d expect, given the introduction to this review. The only thing that did make me smile – briefly – is that the level select map at the end of each level has seemingly been lifted directly from Ghouls n’ Ghosts; this in itself tickled my retro funny bone. As for the rest of it, well, it is exactly like a lot of the recent retro styled action adventure platformers that have popped up onto the scene – pixel art aesthetic, chiptune music, and the like. 

However, the design of the enemies, as well as the hero we play as, are quite nice, as is the animation. But let it be known, Lords of Exile wouldn’t make a Super Nintendo sweat and so nothing is going to blow your socks off. The music is decent though; claimed to be produced by the music processor of a Megadrive…  

Lords of Exile review 2
Lords of Exile does what it does

But what about the actual gameplay on offer? The action on display is pretty generic and by the numbers. We stroll gently from left to right, jumping over the things in our way, occasionally using the slide move to get under some obstacles. When we meet an inconveniently placed enemy, we can smite them with our sword by pressing the X button, or, assuming we have picked up a secondary weapon, throw things instead by using the Y button. These are best saved for the obligatory end of level bosses which are whatever the equivalent of a bullet sponge in a sword based game is. 

The bosses do come with some easily exploitable patterns and while you may die a couple of times in figuring out their patterns, once you’ve got them, it is plain sailing. To be honest, the combat and exploration of Lords of Exile is pretty good, not too hard but with a bit of challenge. It all feels just about ‘right’.  

There isn’t too much more to say about Lords of Exile though. Whilst beating each boss will give you a new ability, there is no hint of a Metroidvania about this game; the course through being very much one way. However, upon conclusion, there are a couple of new modes that open up – a Speed Run and a Boss Rush mode – and these do give reason to keep going once it is beaten. Those additional modes ramp up the challenge too and so are well worth having a crack at. 

Lords of Exile review 3
Looks big. Looks bad.

In conclusion then, Lords of Exile is a competent action platformer that does what it does with a certain style. The action on offer is fun to play through, and the challenge is quite stiff, which helps keep you pushing on. If you like a platformer with action elements, Lords of Exile will do the business. 

TXH Score
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lords-of-exile-review<b>Pros:</b> <ul> <li>Combat is good fun</li> <li>Does everything you’d expect of a game in this genre</li> <li>Extra modes keep you coming back</li> </ul> <b>Cons:</b> <ul> <li>Not the best example of the genre</li> <li>Rarely surprises</li> <li>Very average in most respects</li> </ul> <b>Info:</b> <ul> <li>Massive thanks for the free copy of the game, PID Games</li> <li>Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), Xbox One, PS5, PS4, Switch, PC <li>Release date and price - 14 February 2024 | £16.74</li> </ul>
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