Strike Suit Zero Review
Born Ready games hits space combat fans right in the feels
Today we’re going to be looking at Strike Suit Zero, an indie game from Born Ready Games and funded in part by a successful Kickstarter campaign. Strike Suit Zero is classified as an “Action Arcade Simulation” game inspired by Wing Commander, X-Wing vs Tie Fighter and more whereby you fly a blue ship around and blow up the red ships in space. No, seriously, it’s that simple.
Strike Suit Zero is truly elegant in its design and sci-fi fans will feel right at home. The “Strike Suit” is part-fighter, part-mech that can transform between the two modes. The fighter mode allows you to move very quickly in a straight line with the fighter using traditional roll, pitch and yaw controls with an array of weapons onboard. By destroying enemies, you acquire energy called “Flux” which is used once you transform into the extremely powerful strike mode that allows you to move in all six directions, lock on to enemies and unleash a flurry of spectacular and extremely damaging ordinance as you take on vast fleets of cruisers, frigates, interceptors, torpedoes and more.
Throughout the game, you’ll also fly a few other ships as well and eventually be presented the option to select your ship for the mission at hand. Some missions (such as those that take place inside a Nebula) prevent you from using the Strike Suit and instead give you a lightning fast interceptor or heavily armed bomber to keep the gameplay fresh. Each ship has its own pros and cons, handles differently and contains a different loadout of weapons which means you’ll be adjusting your playstyle quite a bit throughout the game.
Without spoiling too much of the story, SSZ is about a wartime conflict between Earth and the human colonies scattered across the universe. Your prime enemy, The Black Fleet has ventured far into uncharted territory and somehow acquired a big, scary weapon of mass destruction and is planning to take it to Earth. Naturally, your role is to stop this from happening and defend your glorious homeland.
The story progresses quite quickly and doesn’t spend too much time interrupting the core focus of the game: the gameplay itself. Part of me enjoys the fact that this game gets straight to the point, and part of me wishes the story played a bigger role in the game. Advances in the plot occur in mid-mission cutscenes that don’t do a lot of character building, or in pre and post-mission text summaries.
The gameplay itself is quite fun overall, and sports a control scheme that is relatively easy to understand for anyone who’s played fighter games and already understands maneuvering using roll, pitch and yaw. For those who don’t, I’d be shocked to hear that they couldn’t pick it up after more than a mission or two. W and S control acceleration, A and D control roll, and your mouse controls pitch and yaw. Switching between weapons and modes is made quite simple and Strike Suit Zero allows you to configure your control scheme as you see fit, as is to be expected for a PC game in this day and age. I personally remapped the weapon switch keys from Z, X and C to 1,2, and 3 as that’s one of the the things I decided on many years ago during my hardcore Quake years that worked better for me.
I must admit, I originally tried to play this game using a wired Xbox 360 controller and found my enjoyment quite diminished. The dogfighting requires some fairly quick and precise movements from time to time, something that becomes increasingly hard when using a controller and trying to hit AI with surprisingly good evasive maneuvers. I’m willing to bet that this is partially due to my bias towards keyboard and mouse setups, and the game is still quite playable with a controller if you’re more skilled with it or have more patience than I.
The graphics are colorful and pleasing to the eye. While it won’t be winning any awards, Born Ready has presented the game in a very visceral way, with stark and Tron-like contrasts in the colors; brilliant skyboxes giving you a sense of the environment that you’re battling in; debris scattered throughout war-torn space; and naturally cool effects and explosions. Born Ready does a great job of setting the tone for each mission with all of these tools as well as the original soundtrack included with the game. Epic battles feel truly epic when all around you are lasers, missiles, spaceships and explosions coming from all sides. The soundtrack in and of itself fits Strike Suit Zero quite well. It has a futuristic, electronic feel to it, similar to what you’d expect from Tron or Mass Effect.
All in all, Strike Suit Zero is a solid 7.5/10 if you’re a fan of the genre. The game does get a bit repetitive, so I don’t recommend trying to play it through in one sitting; however it’s designed to be very easy to play through a mission or two, put it down and come back later. The gameplay is fast-paced but not extremely complicated, exactly what you’d expect from an arcade-style game. There are currently a total of 13 missions, each one taking approximately 20-30 minutes to complete (unless you die a LOT) and for only $19.99 on Steam, it’s hard to go wrong. There’s new content coming down the pipe as well, with the Steam workshop community taking advantage of the toolset as well as Born Ready-made DLC.
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