Why is it that being stranded always has everything going wrong? Being stranded is not enough, nope you have to have a broken A.I, broken ship, limited resources and everything trying to kill you. It feels like high school in New York for sure, minus the ship. Welcome to our review of Zombotron being release today on Steam. How does this Indie title reboot measure up?
When you are desperate for work you will take almost any job and sadly our mercenary Blaze Rush took on a distress beacon. Upon arrival, things do not feel right at all. You stumble upon an ancient crash site and then you are greeted by what appears to be hostile humanoids. Of course, your initial reaction is to get out of dodge you realize your ship is damaged by an unknown entity which puts you in a predicament. Lock and load and find the source or the way out.
Since this is a retro reboot of the Zombotron series it is pretty straight forward. You will be mistaken thinking that it is your typical shooter and that is just scratching the service. You have your RPG elements where you will level up and have to set your points in Strength, Dexterity, and Vitality. That is straight forward and then we have the weaponry.
This is my favorite part of the game seeing all new weapons. You have a limited inventory area so you will have to shift and or sell wisely during your journey. There are options in rifles, shotguns, pistols, submachine guns and melee weapons. Each has their own stats but some will consume more bullets than others. You will need the space to hold bullets as well as your guns. I would suggest keeping one of each. I don’t like the mines too much, but spike grenades and regular grenades are top notch.
You can choose between a keyboard and mouse or gamepad. I am using my PlayStation 4 controller and works pretty well. RB and LB help you cycle through your items. The Left and Right Triggers perform your shooting and melee attack. You hit circle for reloading, X to jump Square to interact and Triangle is to use your healing items. You use the Left analog to aim in 360 degrees and right analog to move. I am torn between mouse/keyboard and gamepad. I will leave that up to you.
The slots will also need room for health items as well. So yes, you will need to rearrange and at times decide on what is needed and what to sell. You can’t destroy anything which is good, but be mindful of what you sell. I sold my submachine gun early on and saw a vending machine that sold it for too much money. I kicked myself.
Continuing on with customizing Rush with different armor. You can decide to run in combat with just your undies or be decked out in full space armor. At first, I didn’t notice a difference while in combat since it seemed I died rather quickly in full armor. But then I ran in trying to get what I lost and died immediately. Oh yes, this reminds of a mixture of Dark Souls and Metal Slug if that were a thing. If you die in combat after hitting a checkpoint. Your current equipped items will fall off and you will have to run back and retrieve them.
Usually, checkpoints in the normal areas give you one or two continues. If you are facing off against a boss you will have 3 tries. Depending on where your stuff dropped will determine if you want to start over or not. I was caught in many death loops in my playthroughs. It was quite frustrating.
Being tricky can be helpful
The environment can work with you or against you. I caught myself looking at the area before proceeding forward just to see what traps I can utilize against the enemies. They are vast and all have their own level of difficulty. The worst are the enemies with gas tanks on their back and the small creatures that deals poison projectile damage.
Try not to back yourself in a corner and take advantage of jumping on their heads to get passed them. The jukes will save your life and so will the environment structures. If you shoot or melee certain structures you can drop heavy items on enemies that will insta-kill them. Sometimes I will set up a structure to cause fall damage on lower areas filled with enemies or just drop a well-placed grenade on them. The idea here is to be creative to do less work. Besides, it is like doing trick shots, but in kills.
Being that this is a 2D side scroller it looks visually appealing using the Unity Engine that I am quite familiar with thanks to Playcrafting events. I am floored how smooth the graphics have been looking under unity. The colors and cartoon designs of the different armor and weapons were done well. It all comes down to the different grotesque creatures and enemies you run into that look fun. You can see that the developers enjoyed themselves in the creative process as each enemy has a different level of hostility.
It gets better with each boss you run into as you will have to figure each one out and it will be frustrating. All boss fights will make you think clearly on how to tackle them, but at least when you fully die you will start back at the door before the fight. Each will grant you a checkpoint for 3 tries and yes the bosses health will gradually heal back.
The audio is not bad either and I noticed as I walked through the areas I can hear the little critters walking around which gives me a heads up. Or if I hear an enemy pacing around nearby. If you have a good pair of headphones I would take advantage of that.
When you have a game that is a sidescroller I have issues with movement. In Zombotron you move faster when you are facing forward. If you do not manually move the direction of where you are pointing your weapon you will back up slowly. I feel that you should have the same moving speed no matter the direction you are facing. It should move accordingly to your pressure on the analog stick.
Remember that death loop I was talking about? Yea that is an issue that happens too often where the boss camps the entrance if you died there. I lost all of my lives in one sitting and it was frustrating. But again at least you restart right before you enter the boss room and have full items.
Ant.Karlov Games and Armor Games Studios has a fun and intriguing title that will make you rage for a moment and go “Ah HA!” once you figure things out. That is the enjoyment I had where I had to asses the situation and rethink my tactics at each new area I encountered. I figured out one and then something new pop-ups throwing out almost everything I learned. The good thing about the aiming is you can be patient with it and headshots work like they are supposed popping their heads like a melon if they don’t have a helmet of some kind on.
In that this beast gives Zombotron 4 paws out of 5. This is a review copy that we got early, but you can pick up this title today in the Steam Marketplace. I hope you enjoyed this review and please let me know if you start playing. Leave a comment in the area below. – Beast Out –