PSN exclusive Zack Zero by Crocodile Entertainment is one of the newer PSN titles recently dropped to PlayStation Network. Does Zack Zero deliver a great action platform adventure or is it just another side scrolling adventure you should avoid?
What is it about?
In short the game is a side-scrolling game of action, puzzles and decent platforming where you tumble your way through hordes of dangerous enemies and mini-bosses. The game utilizes puzzles and action with fairly decent level design which translates to consistent gameplay experience.
The real focus of the game is actually in the gameplay mechanics.
The storyline revolves around Zack Zero’s attempt to rescue his beloved Marlene from the evil galactic villain Zurlog. It is not the most original way to tell the story, but it works. Make no mistake, The real focus of the game is actually in the gameplay mechanics.
Zack Zero: One man’s Fantastic Four
In the heart of Zack Zero is Zack and his nanotechnology enhanced suit. The suit grants Zack powers making it easier to pass through the dangers. You will also be using Zack’s suit to overcome the puzzles, so be prepared to master how it works. Because only one elemental power can be active any given time, we should take a look how it works:
- Zack Zero (ZZ) – This is the normal form of the suit when no powers are active. Zack can strike enemies with his blade and blade launcher weapons and move without any enhancements or restrictions. The suit has an energy gauge which shows how much you can use your other powers.
- Fire – With fire you can cover your enemies in flames, but in addition to that you can run faster and glide in the air a bit longer than regularly. You will be using this form when you want to get to the most well hidden treasures.
- Ice: Using the power of ice, you can freeze your enemies and chop them to cubes. What is more important, with ice you can slow time to avoid the most deadly traps.
- Stone: With stone you are slow but strong and can use the power of earth to skewer your enemies. You’ll be using this power when you want to bash through obstacles or move the heaviest of items.
They see Zack scrollin’
The camera works well enough – creating illusions of entering caverns and dangerous manufacturing facilities. Enemies, however, may appear right behind you even when you’ve just reached areas that are considered difficult to get. It occasionally made me feel that even if I’m doing a lot of work to get to those locations, it is the enemies that are really determined to give me some punishment.
The controls work well, each button being very responsive and precise. Occasionally Zack’s movements on the screen seems a bit clunky which you’ll notice when our hero jumps. Luckily that is only a minor fault and it doesn’t affect the gameplay.
However, most of the time, you are tumbling your way through beautiful stages, avoiding deadly traps and fighting waves of enemies.
Within the levels you’ll find gems which will buff up your score and show you the right direction. If you want to collect all of the gems and hidden treasure, prepare to run through the levels more than once, because they are well hidden on platforms that may easily be missed.
However, most of the time, you are tumbling your way through beautiful stages, avoiding deadly traps and fighting waves of enemies. So outside the puzzles, Zack Zero feeds addictive tendencies: Collect the gems and the game makes sure that you’ll see your friends’ score pop-out while playing the game.
A treat for the eyes and ears.
Zack Zero actually looks good. Vivid colors make the world alive and the character design hits the spot with its cartoony looks. Heroes look as they should and so do the villains. We’ve provided a comprehensive image gallery and the trailer at the bottom of this page.
The soundtrack also does the trick by providing just the right tunes for a heroic title Zack Zero actually is.
If you’re looking for a casual side-scrolling video game that provides some puzzle solving, plenty of action and troves of hidden treasures this may be your choice. Zack Zero is a competent game despite its minor flaws and if you like bashing your way through enemies while doing some problem solving this just might satisfy your hunger for a while.
7.9 out of 10
EDIT 20.1.2012: After some more playtesting, we’ve decided to raise the score from 7.7 to 7.9.
Why so high? Decent level design meets beautiful visuals.
Why so low? Enemies tend to get repetitive and appear from nowhere. The character movement is bit clunky and the game still has some bugs which can cause game freezing.