Zotrix from ZeroBit Games
Zotrix is an action-packed space shooter that adds customization ship options to a well-trod formula. Developer ZeroBit Games adds plenty of loot to keep players engaged while they move through similar waves of enemies. While these changes to the equation add a better line of progression, they don’t feel necessary, and complicate the purity established by games such as Space Invaders.
The gameplay is still simple enough: you play as a spacecraft that must fight off waves of enemy ships that fly in predictable patterns, and face the occasional boss battle (read “big enemy ship”). You can not only pick up power-ups in the field of combat, but also purchase and add better equipment between encounters. All of these options are designed to make the basic combat easier or more interesting. For example, many of the upgrades focus on expanding the breadth or power of your lasers or boosting your defenses.
Tried and True
The game looks and sounds like a modern version of Galaga, without the depth of flair found in Geometry Wars. The music is your typical synth-heavy space techno, which is completely serviceable to the setting. Overall, while I wasn’t blown away by the audio or visuals, they played their part in immersing me in the world.
The setup for the game is fairly basic. You are some of the last of humanity’s defenses, tasked with resisting an alien invasion. This is done by engaging in missions in various sectors of space, denoted by landmarks. Each sector can only be traveled to from select others. While this adds a bit of immersion, it felt a bit too cumbersome and tacked on to be really meaningful.
While the ship additions are well designed and do not break the game in any drastic ways, they also don’t feel incredibly rewarding or useful. By design, the controls of top-down space shooters are not as tight as more modern shooting games. As such, the upgrades do not feel as customized as they would in a game where you have more control over how you attack.
For example, rather than go for an upgrade that would give me a better boost or maneuverability, I typically went with increased attack and defense options. The movement is inherently loose, so none of the upgrades geared towards improving it feel rewarding or substantial enough to justify abandoning maximum attack and defense.
A Fun, Safe Ride
Overall, I enjoyed my time with Zotrix. While some of the new systems to the genre feel superfluous, the core gameplay of engaging in arena combat is actually quite fun. It’s not overly complicated or difficult, but served as a great stress relief, allowing me to wash away the day’s burdens by shooting baddies in a straightforward way.
If you are looking for a simple, arcade-based game to relax and return to over time, Zotrix definitely scratches these itches. While I felt that the upgrade systems were not as satisfying as I would have hoped, the core gameplay was still fun enough to keep me coming back for more.
Zotrix is available via Steam and from the developer’s website.
Watch the official trailer for Zotrix below: