ZIQ (PC) Review

Developer: Midnight Sea Studios | Publisher: 3D Realms || Overall: 6.0/10

From 2 guys named Josh and one guy named Joshua, comes ZIQ, the runniest arcade runner you’ve yet to play.  Featuring a snarky, talking… thing, you are his experiment, supposedly named ZIQ, and you run, jump and die hundreds of times getting through a game that feels like it was made for a phone.  The whole point is to rank on leaderboards, I guess, cause there’s not much else to do other than master the challenge put forth.

The idea behind ZIQ is that you get through a certain set of obstacles while changing polarity, between blue and orange, and collecting the correct sequence of colored orbs.  All of the orbs become the color of your polarity, so you are “in control” as far as that goes.  Along with that, you move left, center, right, jump, and perform all of the combinations of those actions you can think of as you progress through the stages.  The pace of the game doesn’t break until you die, at which point you reset the current stage you are in (there seems to be some sort of checkpoints involved, though) and try not to die again.  The stages also seem to be randomized so you’re not progressing through anything that is “designed,” preventing any memorization from occurring.

In one run you have three lives, and your ultimate goal is to score as much as possible.  The speed of the game is actually quite fast so you’ll have to think pretty quick.  After a few tries, I was getting the hang of it and my points began to progressively get higher.  With less than 100 people on the leaderboards, you can get pretty high on the list with minimal effort.

The music is fine, but it feels like there’s only one, maybe two songs that keep playing so it gets pretty redundant.  The voice actor of the guy who keeps saying snarky things every time you die is fine, but there also doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of variety in what he says.  The theme doesn’t change, but new elements pop up every now and then that you didn’t see before, so you’re able to focus more on the puzzle aspects of the running than needing to appreciate a range of locales you may run past.

So, is it fun?  Sure, I had fun for a little bit once I got the hang of it, but there’s literally nothing else to do or work towards in this game.  You’re not unlocking any cosmetics or new areas or new game modes or anything.  The game reminds me of a less fun version of Audiosurf, which creates levels out of music you load into it, and I played enough of that.

 

Graveball (PC) Review

Developer: Goin’ Yumbo Games | Publisher: 3D Realms || Overall: 3.0/10

Graveball is a perfect example of wasted efforts, and it makes me feel bad.  The game is no good, but maybe it could have been better if so much time wasn’t spent on a multiplayer mode no one would ever use.  It is also never a good sign when the freakin’ Tutorial is more fun than your actual game.

Graveball is basically an “alternative sports” game, where the goal is to put the Graveball in your opponent’s zone for more than two seconds.  There’s a smattering of influences from football, soccer, basketball, and hockey, I suppose.  There is also an “arena brawler” aspect where you kill your opponents and if you wipe out the team that’s also another way to score.  For some reason, there’s a loading screen after each score which destroys the continuity of gameplay.

There’s not much point in really trashing the game.  Simply put, it’s bad.  It looks ugly and plays like mashed potatoes.  I suppose it works when you play it, but the gameplay isn’t engaging and there’s only one game mode.  You can play with bots, and probably local multiplayer if you happen to be into BDSM and coax your gimp into playing it with you.

There’s an online multiplayer mode.  You can make custom games, or click “Quick Play” to get instantly matched up with people.  Actually, scratch that “instant” part.  My Quick Play timer is now at 15 minutes and it will never stop counting because nobody is playing this game.

There are customization options for your Goblin character, including masks, hair styles, weapons, and taunts.  You get 25 “Ball Bucks” for losing a game against bots, and 50 if you win.  The prices for new items are astronomical, considering the rate you earn this currency.  Additionally, if you want to unlock another style, it is randomly unlocked from the available list (you can’t even choose), so if you want that Evil Bunny mask you’re probably going to never get it if you don’t get lucky with the first couple “free” rolls you get with the starting balance and shortly before uninstalling.

I suppose the music is fine.