Publisher Assemble Entertainment and developer Tiny Roar have announced XEL, a sci-fi 3D action adventure game with top-down gameplay and a lot of self-declared The Legend of Zelda inspiration. Combat will involve combos, dodges, and parries, and there are also weapons (including guns), shields, and gadgets to upgrade. Protagonist Reid can additionally “bend the rules of space and time” to gain access to new areas and exploit ways to defeat tough enemies, but details on how that will work have not been explained. The XEL announcement trailer gives you a broad overview of the game in its early alpha state, and it will launch in Q2 2022 on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, and PC via Steam.
XEL wants you to care about its world and lore, but the game is based on the rather tired premise that Reid is an amnesiac shipwrecked on a mysterious world — not the best way to capture player interest. In general, I think it’s early to try to make heads or tails of the game. It could end up another acclaimed delight like Death’s Door, or it could just as easily be a generic boring mess. I’m not honestly impressed with anything I’m seeing yet, but I’m sure people who are really rabid for top-down Zelda will want to follow XEL closely.