Title: Zeroptian Invasion
Publisher: Ratalaika Games
Genre: Shooter, Arcade, Action
Audience: PEGI 3
Release Date: 24.04.19 (PS4)
Price: £3.99 – Rapid Reviews UK was very kindly provided with a review code for this title.
What the Developers say
Repelling the Zeroptian Invasion with one UFO at a time.http://www.ratalaikagames.com/games/zeroptianinvasion.php
Taking inspiration from old score arcade shooters from the past and adding in some modern touches and stunning pixel art, Zeroptian Invasion is this decade’s answer to the arcade shooters of yesteryear.
From its increasingly difficultly gameplay to its chiptune soundtrack, this is one blast from the past that shooter aficionados are going to want to check out, since the Zeroptian menace is not going to shoot themselves any time soon.
The bit crushed sound effects, synth-heavy soundtrack and pixelated graphics all make for an accurate recreation of classic arcade shooters, yet Zeroptian Invasion refuses to step forward.
Further, its repetitious combat harkens back to the more straightforward combat of yesteryear’s offerings, but the appalling life and power-up count here makes those old cabinets appear far more attractive. Consequently, in a game that is relentless with its attacks, players will desire to intimately introduce their controllers to the wall before even contemplating another attempt.
Therefore, allow me to man the cannons and dive back in for you. This is Zeroptian Invasion.
However, it is only fair to acknowledge the slight encouragement of tactical prioritisation. Each enemy in the game behaves distinctly, and you must decide who poses the greatest threat: a minimal, but welcome addition to the otherwise button mash-heavy combat.
Also, a certain level of skill is required to fell the game’s bosses who dart across the screen with a small Achilles’ Heel, requiring precision aim from all who dare oppose them. A decision equally refreshing and frustrating as you can only shoot directly upwards.
Sadly, it takes only one glance at the game to realise that it is an inferior Space Invaders clone. The only differing elements are the bosses mentioned above, which waver in quality, and a significantly less durable protective barrier that gets in the way more often than not.
Alas, this alone does not make the game predictable. Every stage follows the same formula without fail: bonus level devoid of reward, three full levels, boss encounter. Rinse and repeat until boredom sinks in and all player engagement is lost.
Audio & Visual
Unfortunately, Zeroptian Invasion takes as much from Space Invader’s visual design as it does the gameplay. Although ZI’s foes differ aesthetically from each other, the similarities to their older brethren are uncanny, which prevents the game from developing its own identity.
That being said, the game’s developer has put some effort into resolving this issue. Even though I do not believe the following methods to be substantial enough to recommend this game over its seniors, they do make up the best aspects of the game.
For example, the theme plays a significant role in Zeroptian Invasion’s stages. With every new stage comes a new colour that coats the enemies, background objects and the ship you control. This allows players to easily distinguish one stage from the other with but a single glance.
Of course, it is not just the visual offerings that distinguish one stage from another with the musical accompaniments altering to reflect changes in scenery. Melding this with the colour theming demonstrates the potential this game had to be in a class all its own. What a shame!
It has been mentioned throughout this review that Zeroptian Invasion is slavishly devoted to its arcade influences. In doing so, the game’s developer has ensured that only a select few individuals will frequently return.
There is no save feature in the game as it is all about gaining the highest score possible. However, what is fun with friends in a competitive, social environment does not carry the same weight when sat alone in an attempt to witness the closing credits.
Not that this is enjoyable either as the game is frustratingly difficult. Unlike the arcade, though, I do not need to spend additional change to continue. Therefore, the difficulty feels more like padding, which does little to encourage the “just one more go” mentality.
In short, unless you greatly desire to boast to your friends about your superior gaming skills, using your highest score as proof, there is little reason to replay this title. There is little reason to finish it at all it as it is clear that the only reward for doing so is temporary pride.
In attempting to pay homage to the arcade coin consumers of yesteryear, Zeroptian Invasion provides a bare-bones experience, which frustrates more often than not.
Despite offering rare opportunities for thoughtful play, Zeroptian Invasion’s core gameplay is shallow and predictable.
Also, the presentation borrows too liberally from its ancestors, which is disappointing when some visual and musical theming provides a glimpse of what could have been.
This all combines with an experience that produces increasingly frustrating difficulty without reward, making an initial completion appear unattractive. Overall, Zeroptian Invasion expertly demonstrates that you cannot merely ride the nostalgia train but need to direct it somewhere interesting to avoid stagnation.
Rapid Reviews UK Rating
You can purchase Zeroptian Invasion from the PlayStation Store on the following link, https://store.playstation.com/en-gb/product/EP0896-CUSA15064_00-ZEROPTIANIBUNDLE
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