Zeno Clash is the debut game from the Chilean developer Ace Team. It is an impressive piece of work that really explores the graphical capabilities of the Unreal engine. The game, while very strange looking, is very beautiful. The team used a very broad range of colors and textures and lights to give a unique feeling for each stage and characters. Don’t expect a very detailed environment, but it will catch your eyeballs nonetheless.
The game is just like a first-person shooter, but without the shooter part. That s because the game is all about brawling. While there are weapons, most combats you will only punch and kick. It’s very fun to focus on close range combat. You do not need to worry about stealth and very precise aim, but timing is required. Get close, avoid being hit and give everything you get. It is hard but much more pleasant that firing with guns: a bit relaxing I dare to say.
If the gameplay is a bit weird the story and theme are really crazy. The world of Zenozoik is populated by strange and ugly creatures. The whole theme is messed on purpose giving the player a constant itchy feeling of surprise. The dialogs are very cryptic and never reveals the whole story. Several elements of the game, from the characters, places and dialogs all seem to be some sort of reference, like Matrix movies.I personally never found out any direct reference, but I would bet that there are some link with the Biblic texts. I don’t know.
The game is short, with some repeating stages and mechanics. But I found myself enjoying most of the ride. I know that a sequel is getting cooked and I’m anxious to see the much more experienced team diving again in this universe.
It’s a classic of weirdness and I recommend to take a look. But be aware that is a love or hate product. My tip is: play a demo first. 😉
Gamespot: +Innovative, +Unique , -Shallow , -Weak Story