Daniel X: The Ultimate Power is one of those games that reviewers hope won’t be assigned to them. They fear consistently mediocre, oftentimes terrible, license games based on stuff targeted at people age eight to thirteen. But Daniel X is better than that. It’s at least a few notches above mediocre, edging into the territory that some would call “pretty darned good”.
The player takes the role of Daniel X, an alien hunter who weeds out the evil aliens of the universe. Being an alien himself, Daniel comes with some handy non-human powers: speed, strength, transformation, creation and telekinesis. As soon as I accidentally discovered that I could reflect the enemy’s projectiles back at them and throw enemies into one convenient pile with telekinesis, it became a fast favorite and a staple for getting through the game’s many melee fights.
Much of the game is platforming and fighting lots of alien minions with little bits of puzzle-solving spliced in. Daniel moves through nicely-detailed, Metroid-esque laboratories with force and speed reminiscent of the Sonic Advance games. The character animation and physics are very balanced, and make fighting pretty fun, even though you’re only mashing the Y button to throw kicks and punches, and occasionally using telekinesis. Daniel’s “creation” power is used to create extra platforms and is activated by tracing a shape without doubling back over the same line twice using the DS stylus. The “transformation” powers were easily the biggest “WTF” element of the game. Daniel can transform into an eagle or a soccer ball (which acts like a low-tech version of Samus’s Morph Ball). All of these powers are very easy to use and even easier to switch between on the fly.
The game’s story is a few old clichés told in a slightly different way with objectives like destroy A, B, and C to advance to point D while accruing basic power-ups and XP points to buy fighting different moves and more alien powers. The dialogue is largely the same pithy remarks found in the Daniel X books (or at least the copy of Daniel X: Watch the Skies that was sent to me with the game).
While this is still mostly a game for the younger crowd, that’s not to say us grown-up gamers can’t enjoy it. It’s a solid action platformer that you can play without cringing.