Over the last couple of years there has been a greater amount of retro releases; games which use graphics from a much earlier era. Usually it’s 8-bit or 16-bit graphics on offer, often found within a platform game. But imagine a game that uses 1-bit low-fi graphics, yep something even simpler on the eye, basically the only colours available black and white, and even those colours are presented in its most basic form. That game is Zero Zero Zero Zero.
Zero Zero Zero Zero is a basic platform game using very simple graphics. You have to jump and shoot your way to pick up a spherical object, when you do a door appears and you then have to make your way to the door to complete the level. There are 100 levels in total, but here’s the strange thing, you don’t know what level will be next should you complete one or die. In that sense it’s a bit similar to Himno, where that had randomly generated levels, in Zero Zero Zero Zero the next level you play is randomly chosen for you from the 100 that are playable, if you complete one you don’t go back to it. You will die a lot in Zero Zero Zero Zero, because the difficulty curve and what is required on some levels is very high. There is no life bar, if you get hit, you die and move onto the next level, rinse and repeat.
There are a few modes on offer. The standard mode gives you unlimited lives, so if you die you just appear on a random level. On hardcore mode, you only have one life, so if you die that’s the end. There is a Race mode whereby you can compete against someone else to complete the level. Some of the levels in Zero Zero Zero Zero are very difficult indeed, there is for the most part very little margin error. There are multiple obstacles you will come across. The easiest levels only obstructions will be pointed platforms, hit the point you die but in general quite easy to bypass. There are the usual spikes, lasers both static and moving, an almost space invader like robot who follows you when you move and turrets both big and small that shoot annoyingly quickly to name just a few, there’s even a ping pong related level which is reasonably hard to complete. There are even points where the platform you stand on could kill you depending on your jumping choice. Many of these levels encompass many of these obstacles so there will be much trial error. The 100 levels are listed at the bottom of the screen, when you complete one they turn white so you have an idea how many are left. You do have a gun, but it’s only useful in three situations. One is shooting the little space invading enemies who don’t offer too much resistance anyways, the second is that some turrets needs to be hit to turn on. You may ask why you need to shoot a turret, you will need to because you can only shoot left and right, some of the turrets are able to shoot up and down giving you access to otherwise out of reach areas. The final situation is that some pixels can be shot opening up access to other areas.
Graphically Zero Zero Zero Zero is one of the most basic titles you will see but the high tempo electronic music really gets you into the mood. The risk of only having one go to finish a level is really complimented by the banging tunes. Jumping for the most part in Zero Zero Zero Zero works well, although sometimes you will rue that second jump attempt that doesn’t seem to come off. Zero Zero Zero Zero is one of those titles where your jumping is more floaty than solid, if you jump then you don’t fall down faster as you would in real life, so it’s easier to float jump to a platform. There is a timer keeping a score of how long it takes for you to complete 100 levels, depending on your skill level that could be anywhere from an hour to infinity! There is no story behind Zero Zero Zero Zero which is a shame, because the featured imagery gives the impression there may be one. Your sprite character is really small and sometimes can get lost in the more claustrophobic levels.
Zero Zero Zero Zero is a very challenging title, the lack of graphical detail does not detract from what is an intense brain draining platforming experience. Thankfully not having to go back to replay levels you have already complete is probably the best thing about Zero Zero Zero Zero! If you are looking for a low key no frills extreme platforming challenge then Zero Zero Zero Zero is something you will enjoy…….eventually.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Zero Zero Zero Zero Review
Gameplay - 7/10
Graphics - 7/10
Sound - 7/10
Replay Value - 7/10
Zero Zero Zero Zero is a very challenging title, the lack of graphical detail does not detract from what is an intense brain draining platforming experience.