Before we begin with this review, I just want to highlight some slight changes to our review format. As you no doubt have noticed by Saturday’s Soulcaster 2 review, we’ve decided to go ahead and just get rid of the various sections. Honestly, they make things clumsy, it’s difficult to organize them accurately, and, at this stage, I just don’t see what they bring to the table. We’ll still be keeping our selective highlighting, however, so you’ll be able to catch the gist of our reactions on the fly. Anyway, on to the review!
When working on my title for this review I had come up with a few possible alternatives; some funny, some satirical, others just plain crazy. I went with something kind of drab and self-explanatory because I honestly believe that this is what the XBLIG channel was missing, a truly deep online multiplayer experience.
There are a lot of ways you can explain ZP2KX, but really there is only one way you need to explain it. It’s a spiritual successor to Soldat, the incredibly popular sidescrolling jetpack infused multiplayer game from the early 2000s. The developers won’t say it, but being a huge fan of both I can attest to the fact. ZP2KX is truly worthy of being considered as such.
For those who don’t know what I’m talking about allow me to explain the game. ZP2KX is a sidescrolling online competitive multiplayer shoot-em-up. Upon starting the game you’ll choose your character and skills (of which there are tons) and you’ll be flung into a game. From there, depending on the game mode, you’ll have to seek out weapons and generally lay waste to anything and everybody you come across. It’s ridiculously fun.
Of course, what’s a multiplayer game without game modes, of which ZP2KX has five: deathmatch, team deathmatch, capture the flag, king of the hill, and zombie hunt. The first four modes are fairly self explanatory if you’ve at all dabbled in multiplayer games. Zombie hunt, however, is something fairly unique and is easily my favorite mode. Each game starts out with humans vs zombies. The humans have jetpacks and weapons, but can only see through a small flashlight where they are aiming. The zombies, on the other hand, are faster, stronger and can see everywhere but they can’t fly and are easily killed. This mode, specifically, makes for an incredibly satisfying experience.
Additionally, the game comes with a host of ridiculous weapons. I won’t detail them all here, but suffice it to say, you’ll get your standard weapons (assault rifle, grenade launcher), your melee weapons (Masamune, Cloud sword) and then your hilariously odd weapons like the rainbow gun and the shrink ray. Combine all that with a host of varying grenade types from ‘splodey kinds to time manipulation and you’ve got one of the best weapon arsenal’s in a multiplayer game.
ZP2KX doesn’t just leave it at amazing weapons and game modes, however, as developer Ska Studios thought to take it to a whole new level with progressive leveling, skills, and character customization. As you level up by scoring points you’ll gain access to new ways to make your character look different, and access to skills that affect various weapons and abilities like being able to jet pack for longer periods of time. More so than anything else, this level of customization adds in a welcome level of depth.
Graphically, ZP2KX is now slouch. If you’re at all a fan of Ska Studios unique brand of style from The Dishwasher then you’ll enjoy this game as they’re very similar, albeit a bit mroe cartoony from ZP2KX.
Of additional note, you’ll probably enjoy the small niceties included in the game like whenever dying a small bit of text will appear near your corpse saying “DEDZ!!1″ Almost a signature trademark for Ska Studios at this point.
Finally, there is no story to ZP2KX (surprise!). Not that it needs it though. This is a pure multiplayer experience. You pop in for a couple of minutes, blast some people away and carry on with your day. Nothing keeping you there.
In the end, I have a difficult time not recommending this game to anybody who likes competitive multiplayer games. Even if you find yourself deeply engrossed in Call of Duty: Black Ops multiplayer, you can still find time to experience this whimsical take on everything you love. Plus, at only 80 MS points ($1) you’re getting one hell of an online experience.
ZP2KX: Zombies and Pterodactyls is available right now for 80 MS points ($1).