Strike Suit Zero Review
Delivering beautiful environments, diverse missions and attractive replayability, Strike Suit Zero will keep you hooked.
Game titles don’t get much better than “Strike Suit Zero.” Sharp and authentic, it’s exaggeration in its finest form. After immediately declaring the presence of this ‘Strike Suit’, you don’t care what happens next because, damn it, whatever the hell a Strike Suit is has got to be amazing. Then, just when you think you understand, the ‘Zero’ flies in, offering an enigmatic element along with the vast, emptiness of space. It’s at this point all your preconceptions spin violently out of control, but not before firing an absurd amount of missiles – vaporizing any who draw too close. Coincidentally, this is exactly the feeling you’ll experience amidst your time with the actual game. Could it really be that badass? Do I need to say the title one more time?
SSZ is the product of an impressive Kickstarter campaign- it’s a fast, frenetic space-action combat game from Born Ready Games. The premise is simplistic as it follows Adams, a silent protagonist, through 13 missions in an effort to thwart the Colonial fleet. As it usually works out, your enemies have managed to find a super-weapon and desire to unleash its unholy might upon Earth itself. A well-tread scenario for games in this genre, I know, but its somewhat derivative narrative plays the part nicely.
Forgettable as the plot is, there are plenty of memorable moments leading up to the game’s surprising conclusion. Firefights inside nebulas, surprise assaults on cruiser ship pens, guerrilla-style attacks on communication arrays- it’s too bad Born Ready didn’t attempt to add as much strength to the story as it did the mission structure. Within the first couple of missions you’ll be killing dudes, but you still may not understand why. While I’m a story kind of guy, I know when action is meant to take precedence, and Strike Suit Zero is one of those cases.
At first, SSZ‘s gameplay seems similar to Colony Wars: you simply fly around, completing missions and blowing dudes away. But once the eponymous Strike Suit clamps down around you, may the lords of the galaxy have mercy on the souls of your enemies! At this point, the game gives the serious, arcadey vibe you may recall from the forgotten score-attack titles of yore.
While you fly around shooting enemies here and there, you’ll gain a special resource named Flux. Flux is so abundant, that you’ll earn some by just flying around, but the best way to gain vast quantities is to kill things – fast. Once you gain a small amount of Flux you can transform into Strike Mode, which turns you into a giant mech. As I said above, once you’re cruising around in your Strike Suit, the game dramatically shifts into a sort of meta-game where you’re constantly trying to keep your Flux meter charged to remain in Strike Mode. As you might have guessed, things die quickly when you’re in Strike Mode and if you’re good enough, you can murder a whole lot of bad guys before having to revert back to ship form.
Since SSZ has leaderboards, medals and its own unlockable systems, it’s an incredibly exhilarating feeling to bounce around wasting things, racking up score. The faster you complete the mission, the higher the combat multiplier will be and the higher your score and medals will become. Missions aren’t always an elementary ordeal though, so you’ll need to think fast and manage priority targets in order to survive and to land that top spot. In this way, SSZ is a lot like the under-appreciated Bulletstorm. Both follow a safe story, but deliver their replayability through sheer chaos and ludicrous gameplay. Oh, and if you’re not into this score attack shindig, there’s still reason for you to play.
Fun as I found going back to obtain medals and higher scores, the first thing you should do is play the game how you’d like. Whether that’s taking your time, caring less about your placement on the leaderboards or flying around in a frenzy (like me), SSZ doesn’t discriminate. Just about every mission holds unlockables that require specific actions – some easy and some quite difficult. Upon completion, you’re awarded with upgrades to your ship, such as armor, performance, shields and even to Strike mode itself. A space combat game that caters to both crowds? You’d better believe that got me excited.
Ship customization is a big deal in this genre and SSZ doesn’t fully deliver on this front. You’ll unlock a total of four ships, three of which cannot transform into the Strike Suit. Certain missions require you take the other vessels, like the Bomber, but otherwise nothing really compares to the titular ship. There’s also a varying degree of weapons to unlock, but as it stands, I do wish we had the option to customize our suits with better weapons than the crazy missiles and gun it comes with. The unlockables you attain essentially just light up to tell you that you have them. What they actually do in detail isn’t known since nothing is displayed when you mouse over the upgrades. Stop teasing me, Strike Suit Zero!
Regardless of its shortcomings, this is an absolutely beautiful game with stunning backdrops full of cosmic magic. Randomly stopping to absorb the breathtaking scenery isn’t something that might happen- it will happen. When you aren’t stuck gazing into the cosmos, SSZ still provides addicting action within a varying degree of intelligently structured missions. I should also mention that some are quite lengthy, but thankfully they’re separated by checkpoints. Dying might still set you back a ways, but as long as you’re smart there’s no real error here.
Starting out the year strong for the indie department, Strike Suit Zero has provided an awesome, unique take on the space-action formula that will last you well past the 10 hour mark. While it may not be the vast, sprawling space-sim you’ve been eternally hungering for, it was never supposed to be. Delivering beautiful environments, diverse missions and attractive replayability, this game will keep you hooked. Once you rip your first cruiser in half after simultaneously taking out three corvettes, you’ll understand the power that is Strike Suit Zero!
This review was conducted on a retail Steam code provided by Born Ready Games.
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