By: Jeff Cater
Zotrix is one of the latest twin-stick shooters to hit the scene, and it completely screams Space Invaders! and Galaga. In Zotrix, you will earn your keep by blasting every enemy in your path while maintaining trade routes between interstellar star bases.
Zotrix feels a bit funny at first, as the movement of your ship seems to orbit an invisible cursor that’s governed by your right stick. It takes a little bit to get used to, but it’s similar to just about any other twin-stick shooter out there.
Fast, responsive, and even if it’s little bit hard to get used to at first, you’ll rarely be leaving the right stick at rest so it’s pretty much a non-issue.
This game has a very minimalistic approach to the design on pretty much everything: enemies, player ships, bases and weapon effects. While blasting enemy ships, you’ll be treated to some pretty decent 8-bit explosions and plasma poofs, but the background rarely deviates from the generic, sparsely lit void of space — nary a nebulae.
Musically, Zotrix is actually pretty enjoyable and covers up the annoying sound effects. The regular blasters grate on your ears horribly, and the late-game weapons are just as bad, only louder.
At its core, Zotrix will simply have you blasting wave upon wave of colorful enemies. Post-mission rewards are materials for upgrades and credits to utilize those materials. In between bouts of blasting, there are several different star bases you can visit and accept missions from. Also, you can only visit certain bases while at a base. If that sounds weird that’s because it is weird.
The game represents this with a ring of different star bases, all with a few lines of travel connecting them to another base — but never an adjacent one. This seems like a pretty nifty feature at first, but having to hop-skip between missions so often gets a bit tedious.
Missions generally consist mainly of blowing up enemies and picking up a certain amount of loot or bringing X to Y, so the game is really best served in short bursts. It’s also very easy to become overpowered rather quickly, so during later missions there’s actually a lot of down time between enemy waves, assuming you’ve bought the best weapons, which you will (especially when it’s so easy to trade your way to wealth via the space stations).
While Zotrix isn’t a bad game whatsoever, it’s just that it seems to top off as a better Space Invaders for the current generation. It has pretty annoying sound effects, just like Space Invaders, but some pretty slick tunes. Without the wonky base-hopping mechanics, and maybe the addition of some type of multiplayer mode, Zotrix could have been a no-brainer this holiday season.