I’m sure many people have heard of Buck Rogers. He’s basically a futuristic space explorer and hero. Well, imagine if Rogers obtained a special suit that allowed him to harness the power of different elements, making him a space superhero. That’s what Zack Zero is.
You play as Zack Zero, a space superhero that is on a mission to save his girlfriend, Marlene. After a previous mission leaves the brother of Zulrog, a space pirate general, dead, Zulrog blames Zack for his brother’s death and kidnaps Marlene. Zack must now infiltrate Zulrog’s base, stop the evil alien general, and save Marlene.
The game is an action-platformer, and Zack’s suit gives him some really nice powers that he can use to both get around areas and help out during combat situations. The suit has four forms harnessing elements that give Zack special abilities. While in regular Zack form, Zack has a blade at his disposal that can be a sword at close range or a can be thrown for long range attacks. His fire form allows him to run faster, throw fireballs, and glide in the air for a short period of time. His ice form allows him to freeze enemies in place and slow time down. Finally, Zack’s rock form boosts his defense, but makes him significantly slower. He can also summon large rock spikes out of the ground and create earthquakes by hitting the ground. You will find green upgrade orbs floating in the levels. Picking these up will help level up Zack’s suit, giving his powers more punch and longer durations.
The platforming is where the game takes a bit of a bad turn. The jumping is rather floaty. Mixed with a double jump mechanic, this can make for some difficult jumps. The big problem is that if you hold down the jump button, Zack will jump repeatedly until you release the button. Most games don’t do that, so you have to train yourself to just tap the jump button. Otherwise, you’ll make your jump and then jump again on accident, likely falling to your death. I’m not going to beat around the bush; the jumping is downright bad at times. There’s also a background and foreground mechanic that can get confusing, making it difficult to determine where you need to jump. Luckily, the game has a really good checkpoint system. So, even if you do miss your jump, you don’t have to start too far back.
The in-game visuals are rather nice, and the powers Zack can use have some really cool looking animations. The cut scenes are a little bland, and the narrator seems to not really care about the story. I had a hard time telling if the narrator was being sarcastic the entire time or if he just didn’t put enough into the performance. Either way, the story is there for those who want it. It’s not bad; it’s just not going to win any Oscars.
The game features a nice leader board with both your friends and the top players globally. The game allows for combos with certain powers that can be chained together to score higher multipliers and increase your score in a level. For instance, using ice Zack to freeze your enemies and then switching to fire Zack to explode them with a fireball will increase your multiplier. There’s actually a lot of variety when it comes to the combat.
The action can get a little hectic. Zack can go into the background and foreground, but so can the enemies. sometimes, you’ll throw a blade at an enemy and it will miss because he’s in the background while you’re stuck in the middle, but they can shoot their blasters at you and hit you. It can get annoying at times. Zack doesn’t have much health, and about four shots will kill him. They only thing you can do is to switch to your rock form to cushion the blows, but you’ll still take damage. If it weren’t for the good checkpoint system, this game would have been quite difficult.
For the most part, Zack Zero is a rather entertaining game. Even with the combat and platforming problems, I can’t help but like the game. The powers are really nice and the overall feel of the game is fun. The game just has so much heart. The levels can take you around 30 to 45 minutes to complete, so the game can last you a good 6 hours. If you don’t mind getting used to platforming issues, and have a little patience with the game, Zack Zero is a decent package for thirteen dollars. I’d say give it a chance.
Review copy of the game provided by publisher.