Game development is a trade that is rapidly becoming more accessible. Indie developers are popping up left and right trying to become the new top developer, and Born Ready Games is no different. After raising almost double what they asked for on Kickstarter, they quickly finished up their first title, Strike Suit Zero.
A bit of a hybrid title, Strike Suit Zero was designed to combine the best of games like Zone Of Enders, with the objective space-combat found in titles like Starfox and the space battles from Star Wars Battlefront 2. Set in a future where humans have colonized other planets, it discusses what happens when humanity doesn't want to be put in an umbrella with Earth. On one hand, the people of Earth want to keep everyone Annexed under them, and the others want to be separate planets, governed by their own world powers. Needless to say, a war has broken out, and you end up the lucky pilot of a new space fighter that can transform into a giant robot of death. Now here's the question: is this game worth your time and $20, or was the title simply too much for the indie devs to handle?
Tron Pretty - Strike Suit Zero is a special kind of pretty. Rather than focusing their time and money on really detailed ships that you might not even notice, Born Ready Games has pushed for a more extreme option. Some ships leave blue trails behind them while other leave red. Depending on what weapon you're firing, the color of your weapon can be anything from blue to purple as well. While this may not seem like anything too interesting, when you place these extreme colors against the black and white of space, you begin to notice beautiful designs as ships blow each other up.
Indie Game Soundtrack - I've mentioned in a variety of my reviews that indie games tend to either have the greatest soundtracks or the worst. Strike Suit Zero is good, but just barely. The main theme is a particularly nice piece, with some of the other songs also providing a nice amount of listening material while I blew things up. However, aside from the main theme, there weren't too many super memorable parts.
A Good Staple in a Scarce Genre - Aside from the occasional Ace Combat release, the world of flight combat titles has been a little barren. It's nice to see a title like Strike Suit Zero show up, because I'm a real junkie when it comes to games like this. To be fair, I doubt that Strike Suit Zero will be a well-remembered title, but it's a good staple to keep fans of this kind of action satisfied until another similar game comes out.
Intense Combat - Strike Suit Zero caught me off guard with how tactical some of the combat is. There was one mission in particular where the player will have to defend a ship that's charging up its fold drives. During this mission, the ship the player is defending gets attacked by four other ships that need to be dealt with as quickly as possible. Here's the problem: if the player rushes their attack and focuses on the ships, the fighters protecting the larger ships rip the player to pieces. If the player targets the smaller ships, it leaves the ship they're defending hating life. It's moments like these where Strike Suit Zero shines as a unique title.
Who? - Strike Suit Zero is composed of a few key characters, but I've already forgotten all of them. The issue here is that there's nothing that made the characters stick out other than some silly accents (why is every captain Irish?). This really isn't an issue as the game wasn't about the characters, but this was a topic where the developers could have scored some easy points by putting a little bit more effort in the characters. I'm not asking for a frog mechanic, but some depth to these characters and how they communicate could have been nice.
I Don't Care - It's a bit difficult to care about which faction is trying to obtain what when both of them are nothing more than a bunch of butt-hurt children. The storytelling is a bit lame, but it's something I can look past as there isn't much emphasis on it. At least not as much as there could have been. Just trust me when I say you're going to be playing this game because it's fun to blow stuff up, and not because M. Night Shyamalan wrote it.
Frame Rate Issues - The game has a nasty habit of not being able to take proper shortcuts to ensure frame rate issues won't occur. The most intense, and perhaps beautiful moments of Strike Suit Zero quickly become bogged down with frame rate problems. Granted, these moments only last a few seconds, but 3 seconds of bad frame rates can really throw off the pace of a heated battle.
The Controls Hate You - The controls in Strike Suit Zero aren't horrible, but they aren't comfortable to figure out. That's not to say they aren't manageable, but they aren't the best controls in the world. The problem is they are neither arcade nor realistic, but rather a hybrid of the two. A hybrid that's designed specifically for Strike Suit Zero. Like I said, they aren't bad, but you certainly will spend time making mistakes during the first few missions.
I Already Killed That Ship - Strike Suit Zero suffers from a bit of a problem with the level design. Barring a few levels, a lot of the 13 mission campaign is very much the same. Go here, shoot this while defending this. The problem comes mostly from the level design. You can do the same mission 100 times as long as it's fun and new each time. The problem is that it isn't fun, or unique each time. It gets repetitive, and the first few levels are especially guilty of this problem.
Strike Suit Zero isn't amazing, but it isn't bad. It's a good staple for people who like air-combat. The biggest problems for the game come from its repetitive design that makes it a bit rough. The game has a lot of unique ideas going for it, but it failed to truly carry itself. On top of that, it's not exactly the friendliest game for people who haven't stepped into this genre since StarFox 64. A good attempt for Born Ready Games' first game, but I expect more from them next time.
*This review was based on the PC version of the game with a review code provided by the developer.*