Z-Warp (PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, X/S)

Z-Warp is a fast paced vertically scrolling shooter with classic styled graphics and sensibilities.  In the future, a spaceship with a new warp drive goes missing, and it’s up to you to pilot a special craft to recover the black box and find out what happened.  But story doesn’t really matter, just shoot everything that moves and avoid all the bullets!  Z-Warp is available on most current consoles but reviewed on PS4 here.

The game plays like any other shooter but there are a couple of unique things about it.  You can press the fire button repeatedly for shots, but you can hold it down for a powerful continuous blast.  But doing so slows your ship down.  Hammering on the fire button can get tiresome, though.  You also have a screen clearing bomb but unlike other games, you have an unlimited amount you can use.  But you have to wait for it to recharge for you to use it again.  You can see when it’s recharged by a circle around your ship, and when it overlaps you can fire a bomb again.  The circle shows the blast radius, too, and you can use it to defeat clusters of enemies, activate switches, and even collect power-ups!  This is also one of those ‘bullet hell’ type shooters where you must avoid streams of projectiles that fly around in flowery patterns.

The Story Mode is the main mode and you can choose three difficulty selections, but they’re all pretty hard.  You don’t get very many continues so that’s frustrating, too.  Depending on how many credits you use, you’ll get a different ending.  If you can beat the game without using a credit, you’ll get something special.  There’s also an Endless Mode and you can view the leaderboards, toggle settings, and view instructions on how to play.  The pixel graphics are chunky and the constant flashing makes things hard to see, but the main problem I had was just the high difficulty.

Kid Factor:

Z-Warp is rated T for Teen with ESRB descriptors of Blood and Violence.  You shoot all kinds of aliens and the game has an ‘inside a giant organism’ look to it (think Life Force) so I guess that’s where the blood comes from. But the blocky retro visuals negate a lot of the graphic violence.  Really the best reason why this is better for older players is the high difficulty.

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