Developer: Milkstone Studios
Publisher: Milkstone Studios
Genre: RPG, Action, First-Person Shooter
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Age Rating: PEGI 12
Release Date: 05/07/2019
Price: £13.49 – Rapid Reviews UK was very kindly provided with a review code for this title.
Ziggurat is another recent port from a Wii U game, which itself is a port from releases to other rival systems. The game is a fantasy rich dungeon-crawling RPG with procedurally generated levels that keep things fresh and interesting. The premise of the game is as straightforward as they come.
You are a wizard, and it is time for your rite of passage. Complete the challenge of the Ziggurat, and you can claim your place as a great wizard. Of course, this is not easy, and the game states clearly that very few complete the challenge, and most that try, perish. With that, you are off. Pick your character and get ready to fight.
The game is a relatively simple design, with the individual dungeons being nothing special. They are merely the vehicles to progression. Four walls, some steps, platforms, ledges, and other obstacles can be found, but that is it.
It’s clear that this game is a port rather than a new development, but that is no slight on the part of anybody involved in the project.
There is a fair bit of repetition in the environments and the passages connecting the different dungeon room. But, to be honest, with this sort of game, that is almost to be expected.
The colour scheme and overall visual impression in the game are fantasy rich, as you would expect, and good use of colours and crystals help to create an atmosphere without impacting the frenzied pace of the game.
In terms of the visual stylings, the enemies in the game are wild and varied, ranging from the clever to the near absurd, and all ports in between. It was refreshing to see the creativity of the devs. They made an effort with their enemy designs, rather than relying on just the standard fantasy tropes. Just watch out for the Wallace and Gromitesque Were-Carrots that can rise from the corpses of your slain enemies.
Disappointing Audio Damages the Gameplay
The soundtrack of the game is weak. The soundtrack is a tedious and rather simplistic attempt at creating an atmosphere which fails in all avenues. Often it felt more as if listening to a child let loose to pluck strings and push buttons on whatever instrument they saw laying around rather then anything that resembled a piece of music, or even a faint tune.
While this may have been a port of an older game, the audio choices would have been weak for back then also.
You start the game by choosing your character. The first time through you have two options, but the further you go in the game, the more characters you unlock.
The game plays very well, as long as you are not interested in a world-building experience. It is essentially a first-person shmup. You are given the backbone of the story in the opening credits, and after that, you are left alone. Fight your way through waves of enemies and search the dungeons for the Portal key. Once you have this in your possession, you can find the portal room, or perhaps even return to it, as the room can appear at any time. Here you will face off against the level boss and, should you survive, advance to the next level of the tower.
You could be lucky here and get the portal key then portal room and end boss fight immediately, but that would be a rare and fortunate occurrence.
As mentioned above, there is a nice selection of enemies that await you, and while all are very different in terms of appearance and attack patterns, they are relatively weak, relying more on their numbers and the frantic pace of battle rather than individual brute force.
Power Up to help you Level Up
Within the game itself, there are different powerups and unlockable items that can be found. In classic RPG style, you gain experience points for every enemy you kill. With that comes levelling. With each level, you get an extra bonus. Presented with options, you must choose one (in-game boosters can offer you multiple rounds of picks with each level up) before you continue your game.
Deity rooms can also be located within each floor, and based on the amount of mana you have, different deities will gift you different rewards, or punishments. You can just as quickly lose all your health as you can gain extra mana or spell casting capabilities.
While the battles are frantic, you need to put a little thought into things, because your health depletes fast, and does not refill at the end of the fight. You can collect items dropped by slain enemies, and find health points, but this is not a given, and not always enough to refill your health bar fully. The last thing you want is to charge bull-headed through the dungeons to arrive at the level boss with half a per cent of health left and die from the mere sight of the boss as it looms large over you.
The very nature of the game lends itself to high replayability. However, once you have climbed the tower and emerged victoriously, you are unlikely to have much reason to return to the game. It’s not that it is a poor game; it is just that the story is very much a one and done kind of thing. Given the different characters that can be unlocked, there could be.
That’s perfectly fine for what it is, and given how tough the game can be, it will be a long time before you reach the top level of wizardry anyway.
Ziggurat is not a deep and meaningful game, but it is a fun way to pass some time on the commute or during a break at work. It plays well in both docked and handheld mode with some minor performance issues on both, but nothing that will ruin the fun.
If you played the game on older systems, then there isn’t much point in repurchasing it, unless you are a fan and want to own it again. For players unfamiliar with the game, it’s worth giving a shot. Just remember to go in with your expectations at a reasonable level.
Rapid Reviews Rating
You can purchase Ziggurat from the Nintendo eShop on the following link, https://www.nintendo.co.uk/Games/Nintendo-Switch-download-software/Ziggurat-1593829.html
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.