In the sleuth of iOS games, particularly from EA, that have been given huge price cuts at the moment and have led me to stray away from my Xbox temporarily, and allow my heart to recover from the new Mass Effect 3 trailer that has been released (obviously in the future, Mass Effect 3 will have been released and taken over my life). Whilst traipsing through the App Store I went and found ‘Z’ and my heart missed a nostalgic beat. Back in the days of my very old and cranky PC, Street Fighter 2, ‘Z’ and Command and Conquer Red Alert ruled my life; unfortunately I am just as rubbish at all of them so many years later.
premise is pretty simple. You are a group of red robots, led by a Texas American cum Sheriff robot whom leads you through missions, destroying the bases of the blue robots. Bioshock this aint. The missions themselves are linked together through pretty basic FMV’s for today’s generation but their charm, promotion of alcohol (the beer that the robots drink whilst flying around the galaxy looks suspiciously like Fosters), and American surfer dude accents make them incredibly enjoyable.
Gameplay is standard RTS fare that is pretty enjoyable and has barely changed since it originally came out, for better or for worse. The game boils down to capturing sectors of the map and gaining control of areas that provide various benefits to the player, from radar to new bases for your units. There is no base building element, other than the choice of units that you place in the build queue. The touch screen controls work much better than I Imagined, with scrolling and directing units relatively easy though managing a huge force requires back and forth scrolling making full on tactics incredibly difficult. Path finding however, perhaps an overhang from the old PC days, is atrocious with your infantry and vehicles’ constantly getting caught in rock formations dotted around the map. ‘Z’ adds various other elements that are slightly different to the rest of the RTS crowd, the best being the fact that a tank or a jeep is nowhere near as invulnerable to attack as usual. Luck of the draw states whether your vehicle wins the fight or loses its driver which can then be promptly stolen by your enemy. The constant yelling by your troops when things are going well or badly gives the characters far more charm than terrorist A of the Brotherhood of Nod and soldier B of the GDI in the Command and Conquer games.
Graphics are a balance of early PC standard, both quirky and ancient, but work very well on the Iphone screen. However it compares incredibly badly to the new 3D games, some as high as PS2 quality these days, so thankfully its gameplay more than makes up for it. Difficulty level wise, the game breaks you slowly in but, by the forth level, is ready to chew you up as the AI becomes more demanding. Either that or I cant handle difficult games anymore!
On a sidenote, for anyone who enjoys retro games and/or is married to their NES, head over to www.theretroreview.com. Tis a fantastic site and well worth visiting.