Evercade Xeno Crisis / Tanglewood

Evercade Xeno Crisis / Tanglewood Review

A duology of modern Genesis gems

A.J. Maciejewski

Reviewed by playing a Evercade on

With so many games in its library, I can't stop playing Evercade and here's what I think about the Xeno Crisis / Tanglewood cartridge.

Evercade Xeno Crisis / Tanglewood screenshot 1
Get ready for 2 very different 16-bit adventures

Xeno Crisis

First, let's take a look at Xeno Crisis. I actually already reviewed this game back in 2019 after playing the Switch version which is pretty much the same as the Sega Genesis iteration that's included here. You can read my full review for the whole picture but the general idea of Xeno Crisis is that it's a military vs. aliens twin-stick shooter that features a wealth of satisfying weapon and upgrade pick-ups which makes running around its confined arenas quite an entertaining endeavour. At the same time, it's a rather one-note game with repetitive scenarios and not much gameplay variety and it's a lot more fun with a friend so playing it by yourself definitely isn't the best way to enjoy its shooting action. Overall, I've reviewed dozens upon dozens of twin-stick shooters and I'd say Xeno Crisis is quite middle-of-the-road.

Xeno Crisis Review More twin-stick shooters
Evercade Xeno Crisis / Tanglewood screenshot 2
It's time to put this abomination out of its misery

Tanglewood

Next and lastly, Tanglewood is a 2D puzzle platformer that features some unconventional mechanics. It also doesn't hold your hand at all which is both good and bad. On one hand, figuring out its puzzles can sometimes be frustrating, especially if you accidentally overlook something but on the other, experimenting on your own makes progress feel all the more rewarding. Anyway, its premise is that you're a fox-like critter named Nymn who's on a mission to simply survive the night while avoiding the fierce predators that lurk in the woods. Its visuals are presented well as it certainly feels like a long-lost Genesis game and the minimal audio adds to the atmosphere.

Tanglewood's campaign requires solving puzzles with the occasional action scene where you have to run away from beasts who viciously chase you. The puzzles usually involve collecting some sort of power then utilizing it in clever ways in order to work past tricky scenarios. You do so by rolling some sort of seed thing to a light then interact with it. Some examples of powers include the ability to glide over large gaps, make enemies defenceless, and temporarily stop time. You'll also do some busywork like moving boxes which can feel a bit tedious at times. After all is said and done, I like Tanglewood more than Xeno Crisis but it's still not anything particularly amazing.

Evercade Xeno Crisis / Tanglewood screenshot 3
Please don't eat me!

Well, there you have it; a cartridge with 2 fairly nifty modern Sega Genesis games in the form of Xeno Crisis and Tanglewood. It may not be the best Evercade compilation but it's worth getting for those who want a quick 16-bit fix.

  • + Xeno Crisis is a solid twin-stick shooter with cool weapons and upgrades
  • + Tanglewood is a delightful platformer
  • + Both games have great presentation
  • - Xeno Crisis isn't much fun solo and it severely lacks gameplay variety
  • - Tanglewood can be confusing at times
  • - Only contains 2 games
7.0 out of 10
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Gameplay video for Evercade Xeno Crisis / Tanglewood 5:52
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