When Ozma Wars was released by Shin Nihon Kikaku (that’s SNK before it was SNK), I was a scant 10 months old. Prior to its incarnation as a Playstation Mini, I had never heard of the game and was unaware of its contributions to the gaming landscape.
Ozma Wars plays similar to Space Invaders, but without the destructible barriers. Those are for sissies. The game begins with a refueling sequence, drawing your attention to the energy meter at the bottom left of the black and white screen. That’s right. This game, released in 1978, featured one of the first life bars ever to grace a game screen.
Waves of enemies will approach from the top of the screen and your space fighter can move left and right and shoot with the X button. That’s it. The game is extremely difficult; especially as the original flicker present in the oldest arcade games remain present. Enemies and their projectiles are very difficult to see and, should you find yourself hit by a projectile or enemy ship, you’ll take a serious amount of damage.
The sounds are classic arcade chatter with a persistent, high pitched throbbing, and grating shooting sounds. These are sounds that will bring any arcade rat right back to the 80s.
Ozma Wars features 2-player hot seat play, but other than its historical relevance, doesn’t have much to keep people coming back. My biggest gripe about Ozma Wars is the price. SNK has recently released many of its classic titles as Playstation Minis, all at the $2.99 price point. They would have been better served to adjust the pricing downward for the oldest of the titles, including Ozma Wars.
If you are interested in diving into a bit of gaming history, Ozma Wars is an interesting diversion. Otherwise, I suggest looking at some of the other titles that SNK has recently released.
Review copy provided by publisher.