Attack on Geometry.
When I think of games developed or published by Adult Swim, I think of glorified mini-games.
Fun, and addictive mini-games to be sure but I associate the publisher with the titles that are playable on their website like Robot Unicorn Attack and Super House of Dead Ninjas.
So when I was tasked with handling a game with a title I can’t pronounce or spell correctly without copy pasting, I thought I was in for more of the same.
After some time with Zenzizenzic(thanks, copy paste!), I found myself pleasantly surprised to find a fully featured bullet-hell shooter with a lot to offer.
Multiplayer: Leaderboards, Local Multiplayer only
Played: 6~ hours
The overall design doctrine of Zenzizenzic is decidedly minimalistic, boiling down the formula of a bullet-hell shooter to its purest form.
This is inherently obvious from the visuals where everything is made up of various shapes. From the bullets to the player controlled ship itself, everything is just shapes which is somewhat reminiscent to another similar title, “Geometry Wars”.
Given no one really has the patent on using simple shapes as complex objects in gaming, I felt the visuals were mostly fine except for a few scenarios where I didn’t know what I was looking at.
In fact, I spent a minute dodging a glowing yellow orb that continuously followed me to later find out that it was power up.
Such is the pitfall of a minimalist visual design as sometimes it’s difficult to make clear to the player exactly what they’re looking at.
From a gameplay standpoint, it’s standard bullet-hell fare with deadly projectiles filling the screen that need to be dodged and a few elements of power-ups that help the player along.
There are shields(which can be expanded offensively), weapon upgrades and the ability to replenish lives using up precious points and on top of that, the player also has access to two unique special abilities that they can select before challenging a stage.
These are unlocked using points accumulated while playing through the stages but given the points are used to unlock new stages and modes, it’s best to think ahead on what would be best to unlock first.
The end of each stage is highlighted with a massive boss fight, each more elaborate and enjoyable to take down than the one before.
There’s also the inclusion of a multitude of difficulties/achievements for each stage which all divvy out points appropriately.
Lastly, there’s the inclusion of an roguelike mode where the player accumulates upgrades/points outside the confines of a stage but I much prefer the classic formula to this more open-ended approach.
While Zenzizenzic isn’t going to set the world on fire with its visual style or gameplay innovations, it’s a solid bullet-hell shooter with a kick-ass soundtrack that’s modestly priced.
Fun Tidbit – The soundtrack can be toggled between songs at any time during gameplay. While keyboard and mouse controls are supported, I preferred to use the twin stick controls with a wired 360 controller.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.