By Fabrice Stellaire / April 26th, 2017
|Release Date||February 15th, 2017|
|Genre||Shoot ’em up|
Challenging shmups are more common every day on Steam and not all of them are good. Some of them specifically target hardcore gamers while others try to provide a more friendly difficulty curve for everyone. Which category does ZANGEKI WARP belong to, and does it have the qualities to make an impact?
The story of the game is rather basic: you must fight Bug Eyed Monsters created by an evil scientist called Doctor Benomiya. You pilot a ship that has the ability to warp, an ability that can be used for both defense and offense. When you teleport, enemies that were near the trajectory of your teleportation get damaged. This move is very useful and to some extent mandatory to defeat some enemies. It is the main mechanic of the game and the primary focus, as there are no other special moves.
When an enemy is behind you or hidden behind a wall, the warp move is the only way to defeat it. Each level has ordinary enemies and a few bosses, but there is another threat that must not be underestimated: environmental hazards. Guillotines, moving ceilings or walls, and exploding enemies located in tricky spots of the screen are some of the numerous traps you’ll face, and will require all your attention if you want to survive. In fact, they may be harder than the enemies themselves.
Defeating the final boss of the level before the time limit expires will grant you three upgrade points, which you can spend to improve your fire power, the destructive power of your warp, its energy bar, and various other options. Those upgrades make the game a bit less frustrating, as ZANGEKI WARP is generally rather challenging. I am an average shmup player and I tried to beat the game on Easy mode, but even this mode has difficulty spikes that require patience and quick reflexes. Bosses are generally huge and spectacular, like the giant flea, which can be hard to defeat since the six legs of the bug can destroy you if you are not careful. Another dangerous enemy looks like a giant shark whose jaw is deadly.
Most shmups tend to have electronic music, and ZANGEKI WARP is not an exception. The music wasn’t really bad, but electro-techno style music is not my favorite, and this is typically the kind of music that begins to resonate in my head after playing for a while. I also noticed that the game has only two modes, the STORY mode with its 7 levels, and the PRACTICE mode. I feel some other modes could have been added, like a BOSS RUSH mode or an ENDLESS/SURVIVAL mode. This lack of features is not a big problem, but it hurts the replayability of the game. Maybe those modes will be added in a future update. In a genre where scoring and challenge are so important, additional game modes would be welcome. Not all shmups have them, but I feel they are relevant to this genre.
In its current state, ZANGEKI WARP is a decent shmup that would benefit from getting additional content. It may be more hardcore and less friendly than other shmups on Steam, and I would recommend it more to average or experienced players. I reached the end of the game after 4 or 5 hours on the easiest mode. I have experienced different shmups on Steam, and I feel that the competition in this niche genre is rather intense. In this context, players may opt for more polished shmups, or wait for the game to be updated. The game is currently being sold for $5.99 on Steam.
Review copy provided by the publisher.
astro portNyu MediaPCShmupZangeki Warp