Developer: ASTRO PORT
Publisher: Nyu Media
Platform: PC,Linux; Steam OS
Tested on: PC
Zangeki Warp – Review
It’s time to engage the warp drive, buckle your seatbelt and jump back in time to an era of side scrolling 2D goodness. While sometimes we crave a deep story with lots of character development and high definition graphics, sometimes we just want to shoot stuff. Now let that just be the strong suit of Zangeki Warp.
Evil scientists do what evil scientists do best, no matter what year it is by creating chaos and destruction. In Zangeki Warp the year is 2054 and the main source of evilness comes in the form of the ‘bug eyed monsters’. They were created by the evil genius Doctor Benomiya who obviously lost control and now the galactic civilization faces an imminent threat of annihilation. The good guys also know as the Super-Electric Research Center sent out their best space combat craft ‘ZanFighter’ to clean up the mess. This about sums up the story, it’s short and doesn’t provide much detail, when you start the game nothing is explained, no reason is given why you are there or what you’re doing. There is a story for the sake of having one.
Visually the game looks very clean, there is a lot of variation in the enemies and backgrounds for each level. The boss units are always a delight. It also has a modern feel to it compared to R-Type and Raptor: Call of Shadows which are classic examples of an era long gone. You do get the look and feel of the older games but with a bunch more pixels, everything look more crisp. The game features a simple yet effective interface as there is no clutter. The screen space is divided into two areas, a small interface on the bottom and all remaining space is room for you to warp around in.
Overall sound is just fine, the background music is exiting enough and has its variation during the different stages of the level. As with the graphics the background music also feels retro inspired but more refined. The sound effects are of decent quality but don’t overrule the background music too much either. So there is a good balance in music and sound.
Zangeki Warp is a side scrolling shooter very much like R-Type and Raptor: Call of The Shadows from back in the day. To get a decent idea of the amount of gameplay available in any game it’s often a good idea to look at the control scheme. Opening up Zangeki Warp’s control options you’ll notice there are six keys that are game related. Four of those are directional keys to move your ship around the screen, one of them is used for shooting and last but not least is the warp key. Hitting the warp key will freeze the game as long as you have warp energy to do so. During that time you use the directional keys to move to the location you want to warp to. Letting go of the warp button or when you run out of warp energy you are warped to the location that is indicated. It’s possible to warp through walls and enemies, destroying the latter. In a basic sense this is all you can do.
There are a couple of upgrade options, at the start of every level you receive points that can be spend on several upgrades until that upgrade is maxed out. The most basic upgrade is your weapon upgrade, spending points here will not only increase the damage caused by each bullet but will also shoot more bullets each time you hit the fire key. You start off with just shooting straight but with a little upgrade you also shoot extra bullets in a forty-five degree angle, allowing you to hit multiple targets at once. Another straight forward upgrade is the speed of your warp drive, upgrading will recharge your warp energy faster allowing you to jump more often in rapid succession. There are two more options to make warping better, one being the addition of splash damage around the warp area, damaging enemies in the vicinity, another is deploying a decoy at the location you warped from, distracting enemies for a brief period of time. Defensively you also have a shield that can absorb one hit, this shield needs to recharge but you can increase that recovery rate, in addition to picking up items that recover a piece of the shield for you. Finally there is the ‘Omega Crash’ your most lethal weapon to annihilate basically anything on screen but time its use wisely as it’s not a button you can press, it only activates when you your shield is gone. This means that you can time the damage you take, which would trigger said massive weapon.
As mentioned you receive new upgrade points at the start of each level but they are not final until you complete that level. So upon dying and restarting you need to reallocate those points, giving you a chance to try something a little different this time around.
Usually this kind of games goes from left to right, thanks to the warp drive you can always jump back or skip ahead of an enemy or obstacle. It’s not just possible, it’s basically required do get to the end. They do try to mix it up by having ceilings drop down on you and the only way to survive is to warp through the dropping ceiling, a minor annoying point here is that enemies can come flying in off-screen and crashing into you, resulting in an undeserved death. The overall difficulty increases with spikes, while at the start it’s relatively easy once you get the hang of the warping. That combined with random undeserved deaths and long periods between auto save points might lead to frustration.
Zangeki Warp has two minor points against it to be a great game. If you can overlook the minimalistic story and deal with the sometimes random undeserved deaths then Zangeki Warp can still be a decent game for you and you can happily spend a couple of hours warping around. Overall it’s a decent homage to many older games in the genre, but it never truly stands out to become the new standard for similar games.