Review Code Provided
A Zenith review for Nintendo Switch by Northern-Gamer’s Steven Bracewell.
Brought to us by Infinigon Games and published by Bad Land Publishing, Zenith an all-out RPG and dungeon crawler experience rolled into one. Taking humour to a truly adult level with its use of innuendos and adult language, as you join Argus a thirties something ex wizard who’s trying to put his adventures behind him and settle down for a taste of the quiet life.
Like many great games Zenith starts us off with a pre-game intro setting up the pretence for the game itself, Argus pinned down by an enemy elves battalion with nothing but his witty remarks and hysterical comebacks to defend him, knowing the reputation of his captors, he knows his fate is sealed. Some time passes as comments are passed back and forth between the pair when Argus announces the arrival of a pack of man-eating singing spiders. Of course absolutely ridiculous but entirely true, Argus taking full advantage of this opportunity, escapes handing you control. With only your basic attack, a dodge and a block to start, the combat is swift and smooth, smashing through the enemies continuing forth in search of the treasure you’re seeking. The pre-game goes on for a little as you get to know the character and his abilities equipping various new weapons and apparel as you find it, finally going onto meet your larger party of allies. Again commencing with comedic banter between the cast of characters as they make entry into a tomb housing the treasure they seek opening you up to their first puzzle, with a short clue written on book, you progress forward getting sucked into a portal. Dropping to a dark dungeon you are suddenly besieged by an ancient beast, alone you combat the threat using a combination of attacks you collected on your short journey, defending against its brutal onslaught of attacks.
Waking up 7 years on Argus is now but a simple shop keeper, a merchant of potions being summoned for the daily needs of his annoying patrons. Meeting a funny host of eccentric characters with heroic dreams in a parody style, including a peculiar breed of evolved rat people created by Argus through disposing of his potions into the sewers. Argus overhears of a plot to uncover the sceptre he sought so valiantly in his youth, knowing the devastation it will bring to mankind he attempts to stop the blue-haired enthusiast. Switching between the present day and Argus’s past adventures surrounding the staff, how he acquired it, who for and what became soon after. Now, this girl has meddled, forcing your hand and pushing you back into the path of destiny, uncovering the sceptre and preventing and demonic evil from gaining its power. Travelling across a vast world filled with dangerous portals and monsters, revisit Argus’s past and prevent the apocalypse from happening all over again and finally stop the evil Unknowing forever.
Graphically Zenith is visually similar to old PS2 games, reminding me of Broken Sword in the way it moves, despite being rather detailed it becomes wasted on the small screen of the switch still appearing quite blocky or distorted. The towns and environments also bearing resemblance to games such as Final Fantasy in its early stages, overall the graphics make you feel like you’re playing an old game making it difficult to contend with higher quality games such as Greedfall or Diablo.
Its gameplay was also very nostalgic reminding me of many great games with the layouts of dungeon crawlers and swift combat to make it an enjoyable play, adding to its humour with some upbeat Russian sounding music and quirky comments from Argus. Switching between three different weapons with alternate elemental abilities; earth, fire and ice, also adding upgrades for each as you progress, improving their combat effectiveness and other traits. These immense weapons are not the only means of offence, you can also equip crystals, scrolls, and boots enabling a dodging technique. Combat is easy to pick up and blocking and dodging attacks, most enemies are defeated quickly, aside from weaponry you can also equip armour and charms to better defend yourself, switching between various levels of gear that look mostly the same and often only differing a little.
Playing Zenith although entertaining, I found myself reading line after line watching slow-paced cutscenes and on the scale far less time in combat when you do you gain experience building up to upgrade your elements increasing damage, defence or other effects. Being more like a dungeon crawler with its top-down camera style. During play, there were a few bugs; some small issues such as characters during cutscenes not always acting as they were intended and other more annoying issues such as enemies spawning but being like ghosts and un-killable forcing me to reload.
Overall Zenith is a little crazy, doing things that really catch you off guard and always surprising you with its story, making it well worth the play to enjoy an adult game filled with parody humour from many old games with some funky puzzles and quirky characters holding it together. Unfortunately, a few issues do hold it back a bit, such as spending more time watching things and less time in combat. Check it out at the Nintendo Switch store here.