By – Mike Andre
Remember those arcade games you used to spend all your lunch money on in the hope of getting your name in the highscore list? If you do, Zytron II is probably up your alley.
Zytron II is the sequel to Kevin Murphy’s original Zytron Megablast, released 2 decades ago for the C64. The game is a traditional scrolling shoot’em up or shmup, similar to R-Type, where your objective is, as you probably guessed it, to blow everything up and proceed to the next level.
Simple But Good Looking
Visually, the game looks very simple and is a pretty big departure from the more traditional look of the original game. In Zytron II, everything looks somewhat abstracted: very colorful and with lots of particle effects. The space ships, drones and so on are mostly made up of very simple elements, but even if they had actual detail on them it wouldn’t matter because, well, the game plays so fast you’d hardly have time to appreciate any smaller details. Plus the game is pleasant to eye as it is, so personally I think the developer made a good decision when he decided to keep things simple.
The techno-ish soundtrack is one of my favorite things about the game. There are some memorable tracks in there and they fit the game very well, not to mention they do a great job on keeping the adrenaline at high rates.
Frenetic Gameplay, Smooth Controls
The controls feel smooth once you get used to them, and you can play with the keyboard, mouse, gamepad and joystick. While personally I prefer the keyboard+mouse combination, the game plays well either way. The simple graphics made it easier for Kevin Murphy to add all sorts of enemies, from UFOs to turrets, each with their unique behavior and look.
One interesting gameplay element is the inclusion of some drones that are attached to your ship and will fire in the direction you are facing. This can be very useful, especially when you are up against hordes of enemies and they get dangerously close. The game should keep you entertained for some time as it’s surprisingly long, with 32 well-sized levels plus plenty of achievements to get and if you’re the hardcore type, you probably won’t mind finishing the game more than once so you can get improve your scores. Zytron II is fast paced, not to say insanely fast paced, and if you’re new to genre, things can get pretty chaotic right in the first levels. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, mind you. You can get more friends to join the mayhem, as the game has co op multiplayer for up to 4 players.
The boss fights can get pretty intense and are always fun. Unlike any other shmups, they never feel tacked on and at the same they throw some different challenges to the player, keeping things fresh and interesting.
Conclusion – Is It Worth Your Money?
Zytron II is a very nice surprise. It’s literally a blast from the past, and I’m almost certain that regardless of whether or not you enjoy shoot’em ups, you’ll almost certainly have lots of fun playing this. If you can get more people to play with, even better. Interestingly, the developer offers a free version of the game (scroll to the bottom) if you accept to promote it, but even if you can’t or don’t want to, at 10£ or around $15 and given the pretty reasonable longevity, it’s more than worth it.