Zamarian – Review
Follow Genre: Indie / Shoot 'em up
Developer: Quarter Pound Studios
Publisher: Black Shell Media
Platform: PC

Zamarian – Review

Site Score
8.0
Good: Simple and fun
Bad: Enemy projectiles could be better done
User Score
7.8
(4 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 7.8/10 (4 votes cast)

A semi-fast paced center-of-the-screen focused arcade shooter developed by Quarter Pound Studios brings you a ton of old-school games nostalgia. There are a lot of games released on steam recently and it’s hard at times to find decent titles, especially with the arcade genre shifting rapidly to mobile devices. With its design Zamarian offers you quick fun with no commitment required.

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Story

There’s no story to be found, however one of the loading screens shows an alien, who might be a boss at some point, but due to everything moving at all times it’s really hard to tell. To be fair, a game of this type wouldn’t really need a story, so it cannot be held against it.

Graphics

The game’s graphics are very simple, but very effective for what they’re trying to convey. There are several models of the enemy ships (including an x-wing and what looks a lot like a very stereotypical alien ship [stop the oppression and labelling of aliens!]) and several variations of medium sized ships. What was confusing were power-ups and point items/orbs, which look disturbingly similar to enemy projectiles, which led to more than a few deaths. The background is speckled with several pretty planets, never too many and not so close to the action that they’d interfere with the gameplay. The only complaint one could have is that the enemy projectiles could be a little more pronounced, cause it’s hard to dodge what you can’t see (so deep).

PP 09

Sound

Background music is fine and lively, might even be described as trance-rock mash-up, and all in all quite decent. The player’s ship fires constantly on its own, which is handy, but it would be great if the sound it made would maybe have some variation to it, cause it gets a bit annoying. Along with the explosion noise it brings old-school games to mind. Enemy projectiles, neither blaster/laser, nor rockets make any sound, which would cause the soundtrack to mesh into a hectic mess, so it’s understandable. However their deaths do.

Gameplay

Zamarian’s an arcade shooter.  When you launch the game, it throws you right in, with an option of a new game, multiplayer game and a leaderboard. There’s just one game mode, with a multiplayer variation. Choosing new game will give you a brief tutorial (move mouse to move ship, buy ship when out of shield, collect power-ups to get stuff, buy weapons to shoot better), and hooks you up with some starting points to get you going with a heavy ship and its heaviest gun. Selecting continue you start with a light ship and very few points.

You go round in circles killing aliens and asteroids, and dodging enemies and their attempts to shoot you down. And they try a lot, boy do they. When killed, they might „drop” power-ups, which may grant you points or a new weapon or replenish your shield. As a reward for killing enemies you also get points, which you can spend in the ingame shop, which, sadly, doesn’t pause the game. one might speculate it was designed that way to create a feel of constant action, but ended up being plain annoying. The game tells you to use keyboard shortcuts to buy stuff quicker, but they’re slightly confusing (l, m, h for ships, 1, 2, e, g for weapons).

PP 14

Instead of lives you’re presented with a choice of ships, ranging from light, through medium, to heavy, which you can buy using points, when your current rig is out of or nearly out of shields, and they are also priced differently as you can imagine. The bigger the ship the more punishment it can take, with the light one being nearly as delicate as a grown man’s ego and the heavy one lasting you several levels before you’re forced to buy another one. You can also spend the points on weapons or additional shields, each ship having 2 different wepaons. You can also spend a hefty amount of points on an EMP, which blasts all of the enemies on the screen into oblivion.

Enemies come in several types, some of them with different behaviours. Most of them will spawn either in the center of the ring, or on the outside of it. Smallest aliens will scarecely fire at you, x-wings will try a little harder, while the stereotypical ships will spawn wherever they like on the outside of the ring and will float onto the battlefield following you with their smug faces. They dont move up or down like the other enemies, but rather randomly on the outskirts of the ring trying to shoot you down. Sometimes, when killed, aliens will fall out of their exploded ship and pass you on the way to the center of the universe, which is a nice touch. Boss fights at the end of each level are quite fun, as long as their projectiles don’t lock onto you, which more often than not they will.

PP 11

Conclusion

This semi-fast paced center-of-the-screen focused arcade shooter developed by Quarter Pound Studios brings you a ton of old-school games nostalgia. It’s a very good title for when you have an undefined amount of free time to kill, like while waiting for a download or your significant other to finish getting ready. You can dive right in, there are virtually no loading times, cutscenes and the tutorial is skippable. Controls are instinctive, even if the actual gameplay takes a bit to get used to due to the health/lives system and simplistic graphics. It’s pretty much guaranteed to run on any pc, so if you manage to instal steam on your crappy work laptop, you can even play it on that.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 7.8/10 (4 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: +3 (from 3 votes)
Zamarian - Review, 7.8 out of 10 based on 4 ratings
JumpinJesus


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