The weekly indie game releases from publisher Eastasiasoft continue with the latest being Panda Indie Studio’s new shoot ‘em-up Z-Warp. When it comes to shoot ‘em-ups with a retro flair there is no shortage of them on the market so does Z-Warp do anything to warrant your attention?
Like most of these budget priced games that Eastasiasoft publishers there isn’t much of a story to Z-Warp outside of an initial premise to set things up. It takes place in the year 21XX and has you playing as the most accomplished pilot in the Z-Division. Your mission is to find an experimental ship and bring back the black box from within it to investigate it. That mission will pit you against many waves of enemies that you’ll have to blast out of your way.
Z-Warp is a vertical shoot ‘em-up and one that is very easy to pick up and play. The left stick handles moving your ship while shooting is tied to the X button. Circle lets you use bombs that can be very effective with a cooldown period being needed between each use. Firing your main gun by holding the X button is more effective but comes at the cost of less maneuverability while holding it. I found tapping the button to be the best way to go as you can maintain a consistent fire rate while still keeping your faster movement speed. There are only a handful of stages in this game but they are pretty challenging even on the easiest difficulty. Screen filling boss battles await you at the end of each one so between the regular waves of enemies and those there are plenty of threats seeking to kill you.
Outside of just beating the few levels in the game you can try to rack up the highest score possible for the online leaderboards. There is also an Endless mode that you can dive into to see how long you can last before dying. The visuals are your standard retro NES style look but nothing about it really stood out to me. The same goes for the music and sound effects which are solid but nothing memorable. It of course has a very easy trophy list too with 17 in total including a Platinum. You’ll earn them all in no time so long as you beat all the stages, beat so many bosses, and rack up a certain score in the story and endless modes.
Z-Warp is very much just another shoot ‘em up but one that is very affordable and that offers a decent challenge. The most unique thing about it is how the bombs work as it adds a bit of strategy to the standard SHMUP gameplay. If you are looking for a cheap new retro shoot ‘em up to spend a little bit of time with then Z-Warp will be for you.
*Z-Warp is available now on PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. PlayStation 5 version reviewed. Review copy provided by the publisher for this review.