‘Zenzizenzic’ offers plenty of tense moments but lacks innovation

Zenzizenzic screen
Zenzizenzic

Developed by bitHuffel
Published by Adult Swim Games
Available on PC

Zenzizenzic brings the classic twin-stick gameplay of Geometry Wars to the PC audience in a frenzy-filled package, as the PC has never been a place to call home for many of the genres great achievements. For the unversed, twin-stick gameplay involves navigating a character, in this case a square, through various obstacles while also attacking. It is certainly a test of both reflexes and eye sight, and while Zenzizenzic does nothing to really change up the genre, it does make a case for being a must play to PC audiences.

Featuring an abstract art style and one and two player gameplay, Zenzizenzic lives up to its forebears. Five levels with three difficulties a piece make up much of the games’ classic mode. In these stages, players will rack up their score to buy new game modes and special weapons that are available in either Classic mode or Macro mode. By default, players are given secondary weapons of lasers and missiles to tackle the first few missions, but by completing the various stages with high scores many more of these become unlocked as well. Some of the scores seem ridiculously out of reach, but once things start unlocking it becomes easier.

The small square ship moves at a manageable pace, but can be sped up or slowed down. When dodging countless bullets these little variations in movement play a big part in success. Once enemies are shot down, picking up their pixelated remains is what racks up the score. There is plenty of opportunity as well since Zenzizenzic wastes no time with sending plenty of enemies. At the end of every stage a boss is featured and even a bonus stage.

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What begins as a game with not enough options, quickly dovetails into a game with a ton. Deciding which secondary weapons to bring into a battle, which enemies to use what special weapon on, and watching bullets fly by all make for a pretty frenetic experience. An Xbox controller or other gamepad is highly recommended since the minimum precision the keyboard and mouse allow leaves a lot to be desired. Sure Normal difficulty might be easy enough to tackle with imperfect controls, but once the difficulty amps up, the screen is covered with as many bullets and enemies as possible.

After unlocking some of the various secondary weapons, Macro mode provides a fun diversion from the main gameplay. The mode is set up as a rogue-like, with the ship in a safe zone grabbing items and then going off to fight waves of enemies. Scores can be traded at shops for different upgrades and each run is randomly generated so that each one is different.

If there is any issue with Zenzizenzic it would be that it is not very original. Countless twin-stick shooters have done what Zenzizenzic does with a much better presentation and better collision detection. It just doesn’t feel all that satisfying to destroy these waves of enemies, even if they are lobbing bullets in your direction.

Zenzizenzic is a fine example of the twin-stick genre for PC afectionados. There are enough variations in the stages and weaponry to keep novices happy, while also providing a challenge for pros. Not only does it offer all options of Classic mode and Micro mode, but it also has two player mode to make things even crazier. Zenzizenzic is perfect for twin-stick shooter fans to get their latest fix, just don’t go in expecting it to reinvent the genre.

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