Strike Suit Zero Review
There’s always an air of apprehension around the release of a Kickstarted game: will it be a disappointment? Is there some obvious game-breaking flaw? Have all the promises – and with it our hopes and dreams – been crushed by a developer unable to fulfil these tough expectations?
All fair questions, of course, but we’ll save them for another day, because Strike Suit Zero good. Really good.
Your thoughts on Kickstarter – and its benefits to the games industry – will likely rely on just how much you like playing Call Of Duty. That might seem like a bizarre statement, but hear us out.
You don’t get COD clones on Kickstarter, instead you get strategy games, classic isometric RPGs and – in the case of Strike Suit Zero – space flight combat games.
All dead genres, in the eyes of the traditional publisher anyway. Yet Strike Suit Zero proves there is enjoyment to be found in these types of games still, and though it’s fairly typical of the genre it’s still a worthy addition all the same.
You play a fighter pilot and his allies as they attempt to fight back against a seemingly unstoppable aggressor. The odds of survival are slim, but Earth’s continued existence is at stake, so you soldier on.
Some of the stages have really gorgeous backdrops.
It’s a little contrived, admittedly, but then this was a game designed to be typical of the genre. Reinvention was not a goal Born Ready is targeting, merely recreation.
As such many of the missions follow fairly similar patterns. An uninhabited space station doesn’t stay that way for long, while bombing runs on supply stations are familiar to anyone who’s dabbled in the genre before.
But none of this really matters: the combat itself is wonderfully executed, and the feeling of zipping around battle arenas taking out enemy fighters is an experience that’s been very much missed.
You’ll begin with two types of weapons but the choices soon start to build up, so much so that customising your setup can feel as important as your skills in battle.
There’s a delicate balance between rotational dogfight and strafing runs on larger targets, so it never really feels like you’re doing the same thing.
It’s pretty tough too – in a good way – so though most missions will only take 15-20 minutes each, understanding your attack patterns and keeping a steady eye on your shield bar is a necessity to survive through to the end.
Enemies can warp in and out – the last fighter usually teleports out, which is a nice touch to highlight your dominance.
The unique twist here is the mecha transformation, which is unlocked in the third mission. Here you’ll take control of the Strike Suit, a fighter plane with the ability to transform into a mech for unstoppable – albeit brief – power.
As you kill enemies you’ll earn ‘Flux’, an additional meter that limits the use of the Strike Suit. This builds up fairly quickly, however, rewarding you with short but thrilling bouts of devastating force.
With the ability to deftly dodge incoming missiles, lock onto multiple targets and halt the gradual and uncontrollable drift of space flight the Strike Suit is best used in bursts, powering through tough targets or decimating hordes of incoming torpedoes.
And it’s this sense of spectacle that Strike Suit Zero has really mastered. Each time you return to battle after chasing down a stray fighter ship you’re greeted with the sight of an epic battle: cannon fire, homing missiles and more than a few explosions provide a thrilling view as your thrusters kick into gear and you get stuck in once more.
It’s consistent too: this display of colours – set to a variety of unique near-planet backdrops – continues to amaze even as you progress further into the game.
We’d compare it to the over-the-top sense of scale seen in Michael Bay’s Transformers films, but that’s perhaps doing a disserve to the depth of Strike Suit Zero’s combat.
Clever use of the mech suit is vital to survive certain sections.
With only 13 missions Strike Suit Zero is over fairly quickly – even with the multiple restarts factored in – but there’s still plenty of replayability in each of them.
Combat medals are rewarded for your speed and success, while additional upgrades are unlocked for completing alternative objectives during each mission.
Once all four ship variants are unlocked, too, you can return to a mission to tackle it with your favourite loadout to try and improve your score or earn the challenging highest medal rank.
There’s no faulting the quality of Strike Suit Zero, and a lot of effort has gone into recreating the classic space combat genre that has been so vacant from the games industry this generation.
That said a handful of frame rate issues are a slight disappointment when a game like this relies so heavily of fast reactions.
And despite the sheer excitement that Strike Suit Zero does provide, there isn’t much – brilliant mech suit aside – to distinguish it from the space combat games that came before it.
But then that probably isn’t a critcism: at least 4,484 people felt that Strike Suit Zero was worth backing, and in all honesty it’s enough just to be able to play a modern take on an otherwise extinct genre.
Born Ready has done a fantastic job of diluting what made flight combat games so much fun, and added in a couple of neat features all its own. One for genre fans, but highly recommended.