Zero Cross Indie Game Overview
This week I was able to get my hands on the new bullet hell shoot em’ up, Zero Cross by Christopher Emirzian. This game is a take no fucking prisoners, sci-fi, top down action shooter, where you take control of a single spacecraft and must either destroy all the enemies on screen or complete a specified level objective. I don’t often get around to playing games like this, but was really excited to dive in after reaching the title screen. The format of Zero Cross resembles games like Smash TV, where each level is an arena style battle and you try to avoid droves of colorful enemy bullet patterns. In all the chaos you try and kill as many enemies as humanly possible without being hit. A slight miscalculation could mean your death and having to restart the level. In terms of artwork and music, this game stays true to the retro style aesthetic of classic arcade games. Gryzor’s dark style of artwork is excellent, and ironically uses a beautiful and colorful palette. The artwork is dark and bleak, painting an engrossing vision of a nightmarish mechanical future, where aliens oppressively roam the vastness of the universe. The music complements the games visual style very well. Using 8 bit midi music by Tim McFarland, it feels like it was pulled right out of an 80’s or 90’s windows PC game.
Zero Cross features 40 unique levels that are tense, action packed, and may potentially test the players sanity (hard difficulty). The first 10 levels more or less teach you how the game works. As you progress through each level you will encounter 35 different enemy types all with their own unique attacks and movements. Smaller enemies disintegrate with single shots, but medium sized and large enemies won’t go down so easily and require a lot more firepower to take down. Thankfully your ship is equipped with two types of fire modes, machine gun and spread. Both fire types are good at handling different combat situations and you will need to switch between these two modes constantly to stand a chance at taking down the constant waves of enemy aliens. Along the way, you’ll also acquire different abilities like Hijack shot, Black Hole, and Shadow Swap which add a unique combat elements to the game play. The bosses are challenging as hell and really fun once you get the hang of the controls and overall feel of the game. The controls in Zero Cross are well balanced and definitely one of its strongest aspects. You use the WASD keys to move your ship around, and the mouse to control the direction of fire. You can choose between 4 different challenge levels that are pleasantly well balanced. Playing through the games beginner difficulty setting was pretty smooth, but was beneficial in mastering the games controls and knowing what to expect. As you increase the difficulty level you will experience smarter, more aggressive enemies, and a slew of extra ship upgrades and objective types that enhance the game play experience further. I found that from level 25 and on, the game really kicks up the challenge level and can give you a serious ass kicking if you’re off your game.
I personally really enjoyed this game and in all honestly, couldn’t believe it was free. It’s definitely a game I would’ve gladly voted on and picked up through Steam Greenlight for $5 to $10. The complexity and different game modes offered in Zero Cross are exceptional, and you can tell the developers really put a ton of work into it. Zero Cross has a lot to offer fans of this genre, and I feel like we don’t see too many games like this these days.
With a great art style, cool musical score, and addictive game play, Zero Cross is a game that’s begging to make it into your play queue.