Anyone that has spent their childhood pumping quarters into an arcade machine during the 80’s and early 90’s will be happy to hear about Zotrix. This game is based on the shooters from that era and features the usual one space pilot versus an entire alien armada formula that was so popular at the time. The roots of the game might be retro, but this doesn’t mean that it feels like it is stuck in the past.
We had an opportunity to check out a press build of the game which features five missions, two of which are examples of boss fights. The full release of the game will boast more than fifty arcade missions as well as over twenty boss fights, so the version we played offered only a small glimpse into the world of Zotrix.
Playing as a space commander it is your job to protect the cargo ships that are delivering supplies between space stations. Your enemies are alien aggressors who will stop at nothing to take you down, which means quick reflex are required to survive their attack waves. Battles are viewed from an overhead perspective and takes place on a single, non-scrolling playing field. Visually the game appears to be inspired by Galaga, but instead of being confined to the bottom of the screen you can maneuver around like in Asteroids or more recently Geometry Wars.
Surviving the waves of attackers rewards you with resources which can then be used to trade at the stations or upgrade your ship. These features were not yet implemented in the press build, but we were able to check out some of the different ship types and weapons that will be available. Your ship has an energy bar, so it won’t get destroyed in one hit like in the classics, but if you run out of lives you fail. In the version we played the cargo ship that you are supposedly escorting is visible on the screen, but fortunately it doesn’t look like it can take damage from enemies. Seeing as enemies are able to spew tons of bullets all over the screen (you can shoot these thankfully) staying alive and keeping the cargo ship protected at the same time would have been a nightmare. The controls are already very solid, whether playing with a keyboard and mouse or controller.
Zotrix certainly has a lot of potential and brought back a lot of memories playing these types of games in the arcade. The inclusion of modern elements such as resources and upgrades will also ensure that the game appeals to more players than just the retro fanatics. The game is currently on Steam Greenlight, so if you like what you see go and cast your vote.