Zytron II – A Particle-Emitting Indie Game Review

Zytron II – A Particle-Emitting Indie Game Review
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Platforms:

Windows PC

Game Name:

Zytron II

Publisher(s):

Trinosis

Developer(s):

Kevin Murphy

Genre(s):

Shooter, Side Scroller, SHMUP

About The Developer

Two years ago, game designer Kevin Murphy started his journey to create Zytron 2. The predecessor to the game, Zyton Megablast, was created 20 years ago, due to his frustrations of not being able to “find a decent scrolling shoot-em-up for the PC.”

He most recently set out to create a side-scrolling sequel that everyone could enjoy, though he was on a tight budget for the project. He looked to Geometry Wars for inspiration, and by using their minimal, yet vibrant art style and open-sourced music for his game, he was able to stay within his projected monetary constraints.

Murphy feels that Zytron 2 is the game that he first envisioned when creating the original game. Two decades ago, he was but a fledgling programmer and confined by the technology of the 1990’s. With today’s tech and twenty years of experience under his belt, he hopes that everyone can sit down and enjoy this retro themed successor to the original Zytron.

Developer Summary:

Zytron II is a twin-stick scrolling shoot ’em up for Windows PC computers. The game is typical of scrolling shmups of that era and will be familiar to anyone who has played such classics as Armalyte, R-Type or Gradius (Nemesis). The aim is simple enough — blast anything and everything in your path to make your way to the last level and destroy the final boss.

What We Think:

Zytron II employs controls that recall Geometry Wars and Super Stardust. One control stick moves the player’s ship, while the other directs the directions that the ship’s projectiles are launched.

I Flunked Home Ec Wars

I must admit that I stumbled during the first few moments of this game, dying three times or more within the first level. At first it seemed I would be unable to pass it. Then I realized that the power-ups not only upgrade your ship or afford you smart bombs, but also they increase your health (as do the crystals that are sprinkled through-out the levels). With this knowledge, I switched from a head-on assault mentality, with ease, opting instead to level-up my ship, and I was able to stay alive without issue through most of the beginning levels.

As I am not that great at “shoot’em up” type games I found the later levels to be a bit more challenging, but with perseverance, I was able to complete them after a few tries. While the game provides a strong challenge, it mercifully eases the player in.

General Arts Degree Wars

The graphics, music and general sounds certainly seem to tie together in a way that very much reminds me of Geometry Wars. Little audio touches, like the sounds of bullets coming into contact with different shapes, and those heard when acquiring up power-ups and gaining higher combo levels, all result in a nuanced mix of sounds that effectively draw the player into the moment. Though the deliberately sparse graphics seem to set the scene, the sound design truly drives home the feeling that these shapes simplistic seeming shapes are exploding into millions of pieces.

Recess Wars

The game is a lot of fun to play with friends as well, offering local co-op support for up to four people (who can jump in at any time). This feature also offers a new mechanic to work with; when two ships are close to each other their health combines and evens out, thus allowing you to save your friends from certain death in the matter of milliseconds, simply by flying closer to their location.

Though the single player game can seem a little easy, that doesn’t mean adding more players make it a cakewalk. The number of enemies multiplies with each additional co-op partner. Keep in mind, though, that the challenge of Zytron II is managing to amass huge point totals, and co-op allows you to kill more enemies than if you were to do it alone, thus resulting in a reward of more points per player.

Overall, Zytron II is an amusing and engaging game, especially with friends along for the journey. If you have a few controllers I would highly recommend this game for the price. The style displayed in the graphics and sound choices pull the game together brilliantly, making for a gaming masterpiece that I will definitely be revisiting in the future.

Zytron II can be purchased from Trinosis for USD $6.79

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

Michael Brune

I love programming, writing and gaming. I always am working on several things at once and am very ambitious but I usually have www.mjbrune.org up to date.

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