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Platform

PC, Xbox 360

 

Genre

Schmup

 

Publisher

Ubi Soft

 

Developer

Brightside Games

 

ETA

2011

 

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Indie Spotlight: Zeit˛

 

zeit-squared-1.jpg (51538 bytes) zeit-squared-2.jpg (54982 bytes) zeit-squared-3.jpg (118127 bytes)

 

In this day and age there's probably no point in lamenting the passing of the schmup. It's a genre that seems more or less relegated to a bygone era. The big boys have all but stopped producing them, and it's even rare to see a classic compellation from series in the genre now. Only on rare of occasions does a small, independent developer come along with a new entry. One of the more recent schmups to come along deserving of some attention is Zeit Squared that takes the genre and adds an interesting rewind option that allows players to move back in time a few seconds to augment their assault on the legions of spacecraft thingies out to destroy them.

 

While much of the game will have players flying around shooting up enemies like most other schmups, the key feature that helps Zeit stand out from the crowd is how players can rewind time for a few seconds every now and then. Not only is it convenient for doing a thorough job of blowing up enemy spacecrafts, at times the ability is essential. Some enemies can only be hit while rewinding, and when your ship re-enters normal time, there is a block orb representing where your ship was in the previous time line that can be used to manipulate how you shoot stuff in normal time briefly. I found it particularly useful when I wanted to saturate a target with fire, especially on boss fights. Sometimes this would be a very useful technique for pouring on damage firing heavily at one area, then rewinding and doing it again.

 

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It's a pretty challenging setup, as players have to think about when the best time to rewind might be. This comes from the fact that the ability can only work for a few seconds, and after that players need to gain more energy before they can do it again. It's not possible to keep on rewinding again and again, ad nauseum. That would be silly.

 

As interesting as Zeit Squared's gameplay is, the does seem to lack

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in soul a bit. We aren't given any real reason why we're soaring through space, blowing up these ships. No big evil army out to destroy the earth or some such. It almost feels clinical the whole process of fighting these things. Just use all of the gameplay abilities at your disposal, and proceed to the next level. There isn't any real motivation, or compelling backdrop as to why we have to fly around, shooting all of these things. We simply do.

 

The game has a pretty simple look to it, with vary basic enemies that look more like single celled organisms than anything else. The visuals aren't bringing a lot of zazz to the table, but they get the job done. The same holds true for the music.

In any case, Zeit Squared is a neat little entry into the world of schmups, breathing a little bit of life into a woefully neglected genre. The rewind feature alone adds a tone of depth to the experience. About the only shortcoming that the game suffers from is that it is lacking soul. Other than that, blast away.

 

roygbiv
May 30, 2011

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