PC Reviews

Zenzizenzic Review

Zenzizenzic is definitely a game that is as hard to play as it is to say. I’m not the biggest fan of shooters and less so for shoot ‘em ups, so I didn’t know what to think going into it. I was pleasantly surprised.

There isn’t any kind of background story to say why the seemingly endless fleet of baddies want you dead, but I can roll with that in this kind of game. Zenzizenzic has the familiar-feeling stage levels as well as practice levels for the bosses and hidden stages within the regular levels. The stage levels are typical for shoot ‘em ups meaning that you try and dodge walls of bullets while trying your best to keep your endless stream of bullets pointed at an enemy. Eventually a boss comes out and you have to learn the pattern of its attacks and hope to survive (although you can spend points to get back lives).


I don’t really see anything about this mode that sets it apart from other shoot ‘em ups. You can switch up your weapons once you purchase new ones, but each weapon has their own unique style that takes getting used to. To be honest, I found that the first two weapons were the easiest to use and the most effective at killing the Bad Guy Ship Horde. It is just shooting/dodging with some modicum of skill to build points and reach the next stage.

There is an entirely different mode called Macro mode. This more resembles a 2D open world for your Pew Pew ship. Stats like speed and fire rate drop at the beginning and you need to kill and survive in order to buy upgrades to stats and weapons. I think this is very unique to this genre and found myself having a lot of fun in it. There are obstacles to fly around, treasure and points to gain, items to collect, and still endless waves of bad guys.


Normally, I don’t care much for how a game looks, but it wouldn’t be right if I didn’t mention the visuals in this game. Something between the trippy background and the chaos of mutual fire and “explosions” make just watching the game appealing. I have died more times than I’m willing to admit by being distracted by the visuals of it.

I was not expecting much going into this game, but this game is definitely above the norm. It offers more than other shoot ‘em ups I have played, especially with Macro mode. Zenzizenzic is a game that you should grab a friend and try not to die with together.


PC Playstation Vita Reviews

Super House of Dead Ninjas Review

Super House of Dead Ninjas does not mess around. The very same tightly-knit mechanics that make SHODN a ton of fun to play are the same ones that will make you lower your guard, lose a life, and curse yourself for your dumb mistake. It’s the constant sense of urgency brought on by the ever-depleting timer in the corner of the screen that will coax you into trying to brute force your way through stages in a rush. Beware, though. It is an instant death sentence. Death is essential to progressing through SHODN to help you learn specific enemy patterns and experiment with different weapons. Thanks to the game’s upgrade system, dying often means permanently acquiring new abilities, weapons, and upgrades that help you to improve your progress every time you play.

Think of Super House of Dead Ninjas as Spelunky, only if your spelunker moved with the speed and agility of Super Meat Boy and carried shurikens. That is all to say: it’s a very fast-paced roguelike. Though unlike many games of its type, SHODN allows you to begin your journey from any stage you’ve already completed. In a way this is great, because at some point there isn’t much value in repeating the first stage over and over. Every stage is randomly generated, to a point. While the stage won’t be the same every time you play it, you quickly begin to recognize tile sets that are simply placed in a different order.


Possibly the greatest single element in SHODN is its upgrade system. Many roguelikes force the player to start each new session with nothing but knowledge, but SHODN’s upgrade system is designed to give you a new advantage nearly every time you die. New weapons, projectiles, and bomb types are unlocked by completing tasks that are usually easy to meet without trying. All of the upgrades are completely permanent, including health and time enhancements. In this way, no matter how much trouble I had along the way, I was at least going into a new session with a new advantage.

There are only four stages in Super House of Dead Ninjas, but don’t let that fool you. Each one will take many tries to complete. As for the final stage, that can only be accessed by completing the third stage on Hard mode. Considering Hard mode supplies you with one measly life, I’m not ashamed to say I’ll probably never be able to pull that off. In order to add some considerable replay value, MegaDev has included a level editor. The editor is simple enough to use, and includes Steam Workshop functionality, so you can download other players’ stages to your game.

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Super House of Dead Ninjas effectively draws the best elements from games like Super Meat Boy and Spelunky. Its fast-paced movement and tightly-wound combat excels in giving SHODN a feel all its own. It’s a roguelike that encourages you to keep trying by dangling each upgrade in front of you like a carrot on a stick. With its low barrier to entry, replay value-adding level editor, and superb upgrade system, it’s hard not to recommend Super House of Dead Ninjas to any roguelike fan.