Zzed (PC)

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Graphics: 8.50
Sound: 8.00
Gameplay: 9.50
Replays: 8.50

Zzed is an action/puzzle game. Essentially, think of it as Asteroids combined with Bust a Move. While this may not sound like the greatest concept in the world (and I will admit, on paper it sounds a little dull), play it for 10 minutes and instantly you’ll be hooked.

This game looks great, as you would expect a great puzzle game to look and play well. Zzed has a very cartoon like look to it, as the objects all have a little bit of shading to them. The asteroids themselves all have recognizable colors, and it is easy to tell which color you currently have in your ship’s cannon. Unlike in other games, the screen will often be filled to the brim with pieces that you need to eliminate, but the game never slows down a bit. Also, the in-game story scenes look great as well and actually add some depth to this game.

There is an upbeat soundtrack in the game that is actually pretty catchy. Unlike most shareware games, you may actually find yourself humming some of the tunes here and there after you’ve played the game for a significant amount of time. There are also nice sound effects, and it helps add to the satisfaction you will get when you set off a massive chain combo. There is only one thing I would’ve liked to have seen that wasn’t included, and that was some kind of voice acting during the story scenes (perhaps alien voices?). This could’ve added more emphasis to the story, rather than just having to read through text.

In this game, you play as Zzed, an alien who has just gotten a job at a space waste management company. His goal is to become rich in order to be able to marry his girlfriend. To do this, he must do his boss’ bidding and clear each level, while finding out about the corruption at the company at the same time. I haven’t seen a puzzle game with a story in a long time, so this is a welcome addition, as the story is actually pretty decent as well.

Gameplay is simple, which in part helps make it addictive. You maneuver your ship by holding the right mouse button and moving around. However, there will often be limited room due to the large amount of asteroids in your way, so be careful. If you are hit by an asteroid, your ship will lose health and you can eventually lose a life. Using the left button on the mouse, you fire off asteroids in order to match similar colors. Match at least three of each color, and you eliminate the chain. Once you have fired enough shots or created enough combos, it is also possible to get power-ups such as missiles, bombs, and an extra laser sight. There are more then 50 levels in the game, and each one is fun and challenging enough to hold your interest for a long time.

This is one of the finest puzzle games to come out recently. While it’s a little disappointing that there is no kind of two player mode (perhaps in a sequel?), Zzed is still a must-have for any puzzle game fan. Give it a look and you’ll be addicted in no time. A demo can be downloaded from http://www.nevosoft.com, and the full version is $19.95.

Overall Rating: 9.00

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