by Zee Salahuddin
reviewed on PC
Jumping in Circles
Platform is a combination of using your suitís various states to solves puzzles, break through barriers, move heavy objects, jump, jump some more, jump more still, and annihilate enemies. The combat can be pleasing at times, but it is hampered by a few elementary (pun intended) issues.
For one, Zack aims his powers automatically, and while the game is a side-scroller, enemies can pour in from multiple planes and depths in the screen. This in turn results in a frustrating targeting mechanism which may or may not kill the enemy you were trying to aim for. Compounding this is the fact that there is no block or dodge in the game, you can either steer clear or kill, there is no third option in combat. This implies that you must frantically use a combination of powers to eliminate the opposition because super-suit or no super-suit, Zack is practically made of confetti and duct tape and cannot take too much punishment. You are also being hunted by graphical glitches, as a boss attack, while invisible to the naked eye, will kill you regardless.
The platforming concept has been implemented a little too literally, with chasms popping up with nearly predictable frequency in the colorful landscapes. Jumping, gliding, rotating mid-air should be challenging and fun, but in Zack Zero it is inaccurate and aggravating. The same jump you just made, you may miss the next attempt. You can hang onto the edge of certain surfaces and pull yourself up, but an identical ledge will not offer you the same, uh, leverage (no pun intended here). When you fail/fall, the game will throw a falling animation at you. Every. Single. Time. The only saving grace is a generous checkpoint system, which places you squarely and stubbornly behind the Chasm of the Infinite Falling Animation.
I could go on about various other small gripes, such as the barebones menu, the need for the game to cover the entire screen with sparkly graphics when you level up, or that your abilities are chosen for you. In many ways, Zack Zero is about removing the choice from the player. You cannot chose your abilities, where you will land after a jump, whether you will be able to latch on to that perfectly stable ledge, or what you will aim at. But I think I have adequately labeled my frustrations with the title. Normally these reviews end with ďit has potential but...Ē. However, in the case of Zack Zero, rest assured, no such grace need be afforded. It is a convoluted mess, it is not fun to play most of the time, and its many sins overwhelm its scant virtues.
Uh, it didnít crash?