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Zack Zero Review (PS3)

When I first fired up Zack Zero I thought it looked colourful enough. Zack was the handsome intergalactic hero, but let me tell you now, he’s no Buzz Lightyear.

Zack Zero is a 2D platform and puzzle game by Crocodile Entertainment. When the game starts there is a short (very short) cinematic that shows Zack landing his aircraft and jumping out. The player then gains control of Zack and the story is fed to you via bubbles of chat from some blonde, but you don’t really find out what is going on until later. For a while you’re just wandering around following the path of the level not really clued in to why you are here. Not until the end of the first level. Queue the cheesy narrative.

Zack has the ability to harness the power of fire, ice and the earth using his fancy suit and regularly has to switch between these in order to progress through levels. Other controls required are fed to you in the chat bubbles throughout the game. The extra powers you gain through fire, ice and earth etc are limited if you use them constantly but the energy replenishes quickly enough. Earth movement is really slow and this drove me mental, but it’s generally used for smashing things into teeny tiny pieces or pulling/pushing heavy things. Fire is used for “massive damage” and also for jumping longer distances. I guess being on fire would perhaps make me jump a bit more too. Lastly ice can be used to slow down time. Handy!

Often I found the game to be inconsistent. I’d get stuck trying to jump and cling on to a ledge only to fall every time, despite that fact that I can cling to and climb up on other ledges. I could see no visual clues to distinguish what was a clingable ledge and what wasn’t. Death by falling subjects the gamer to a short cutscene of Zack screaming as he falls to his death…funny the first time, but really once is enough. Avoid death at all costs, but especially death by falling. Zack is rather squishy at the start, getting hit by anything twice is enough to have you start over, but thankfully not from the beginning of the level.

Green globes of… whatever can be collected to make your suit stronger, along with other treasures which are just collectibles. Theres no real incentive to search them out unless you’re a trophy hunter or a high score gamer.

When left idle Zack can be seen look at you, look at his watch and shrug. Get a move on! He can also be seen doing a few other things. I confess I do like idle animations and deliberately sit still to see these. This is an old habit from all the companions my World of Warcraft characters have.

One thing that bugged me was that if I killed some birds that were flapping about in my way they would respawn quite quickly. Don’t get me wrong I love to destroy all that is evil, but if you even hesitate at jumping over a ledge then those bastards are back to pester you.

Graphically it’s pretty, nothing astounding, but fun and cartoony. I did find some of the underground areas a bit too dark… thankfully I could light things up a bit with the fire portion of my suit. That could just be the way my TV sits in relation to my window though. Stupid daylight, why must you torment me!

Zack Zero had the potential to be something really cool, but its just tee geneic. At no time was there much exciting going on and there was nothing original or engaging to see or do. Great idea, poor execution.

5 idle idols lacking innovative ideas out of 10

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