Run 'n' gun
Being saddled with a pretty dodgy title doesn't help a game find its place in the market and although you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, in this case, it's not a bad indication of what's on offer here. Poor naming aside, Xyphr is a sort of clone of Sega's 3D classics like Space Harrier and Afterburner and while this in itself isn't a bad thing, as these games are acknowledged classics which remain entertaining today, unfortunately Xyphr isn't exactly in the same league. Gameplay is pretty much identical to the aforementioned hits, requiring players to control a flashy space ship through a series of levels, blasting away at everything they meet. There's probably a reason for all this, but it's never really explained and is not really important anyway. The game is viewed from behind your ship and all you have to really worry about is moving fast enough to stay away from the baddies while hammering the trigger has fast as you possibly can. To be honest, that's pretty much all there is to the game and while simplicity is often a good thing, in this case there just isn't enough personality or style to warrant playing this for very long at all. In its favour, Xyphr sports reasonably decent visuals, which are vibrant if not overly blessed with originality or imagination and which lick along at a decent pace. There are some attractively clunky sprites which are amusing rather than threatening, while the controls do what you would hope. Beyond this however, there isn't much going on in Xyphr that hasn't been seen elsewhere with even earlier efforts like Starglider 2 offering more in the way of blasting thrills.