Published on May 18th, 2017 | by Joseph Saulnier0
Every so often, I am asked to review a game that is so incredibly dull and the opposite of fun that it truly makes me wonder why I got into reviewing, or even video games, at all. Don’t get me wrong, I truly understand the hard work and dedication that goes into making games [even bad ones], but sometimes you just have to know that they’re trying to polish a turd. Zheros put me in this exact state of mind. Suffice it to say, while I appreciate the effort put into to Rimlight Studio’s first outing, I wasn’t very impressed. Which is unfortunate because the trailer made me actually want to play this game. I guess that’s good marketing for you.
Zheros is a sci-fi “beat-em-up” type game in which you control a baboon man with a chin to make Bruce Campbell jealous, a pink-haired techno Suicide Girl, or a badly stereotypical female Asian robot who tends to mimic the late, great Bruce Lee. The goal is basically to fight off virtually endless eaves of robot hordes. The game tells the story, in so far as I can tell, of an evil spaceman, with a menacing top hat, who (for reasons unknown) sends a massive robot army to attack a laboratory in space. This is my best guess. Yes, I played the game. Yes, I paid attention to the cutscene. Singular. One. That’s it. Oh wait, there was no dialogue. No exaggerating here. One cutscene. But let’s be honest, games like this aren’t exactly known for their gripping subplot. No, what beat-em-ups are truly about is…
You guessed it. Beating people up. It’s the fast-paced, over the top action that takes place on many levels and against a variety of enemies that make for great beat-em-up games. One of my favorites in recent years was Shoot Many Robots. Though not exactly the same, I had a lot of fun with that game, which is what initially attracted me to this game. But if you are looking for these things in Zheros, well allow me to quote South Park: “Move along. Nothing to see here.” The combat system is clunky at best. It’s not intuitive. You rely on unlocking and mastering new combos instead moves or weapons. The core gameplay isn’t what you would come to expect of the genre. And the game is amazingly difficult. Not necessarily due to the actual content, but the poor design. You will find yourself getting overwhelmed every time you try to complete a combo. Checkpoints are very poorly spaced, or just completely don’t exist. This means that one wrong move can, and will, set you back about 10-15 minutes. All in all, it was just irritating.
The gameplay itself is very repetitive, too. I know the same can be said for many titles in the beat-em-up genre, but this one was agonizingly so. Every section feels the same as the last section, and the last level. Though the visuals are decent with bright, vibrant color palette, seeing the same massive metal tank and cables for the four millionth time begins to lose its luster. The sound design is simplistic, if not minimal. It’s basically not there. You’ll get a few smashes, crashes and grunts here and there, but there isn’t much more to it than that. Oh wait, I forgot. There was some music. But it was some of the most forgettable music I’ve ever come across in a video game. Which is just as well, I suppose. It fits nicely with the rest of the game. The inclusion of local co-op was probably the only shining point of the game, but it really only served me to bestow my bad experience with this game on a friend so I wasn’t alone.
Overall, Zheros is a rather mediocre, flawed entry into the beat-em-up genre. It’s really unfortunate that this is the first venture. But, I do wish them the best for future releases. They clearly have some talented people, but they need to find the right game to present. So I must encourage people to avoid this game as it’s repetitiveness, difficulty and lack of charisma just make it for a poor experience. But that’s why I’m here. To take one for the team.
1 star out of 5