Strike Suit Zero: Director's Cut Review: Breathing New Life into an Old Genre

Strike Suit Zero: Director’s Cut is an arcade space shooter by Born Ready Games that improves upon its original release. In purpose, the game seeks to revive and improve the feel of classic space combat games. Deceptively simple in scope, Strike Suit Zero is a fun game to have on-hand for spontaneous play.

At first glance, Strike Suit Zero is just a simple arcade, dogfighting space shooter. And while that sort of appraisal would certainly not be wrong, there is much more to it than is immediately apparent. The most obvious difference between this and its peers in the genre is the Strike Suit. The Strike Suit is essentially a separate battle mode that you have at your disposal aside from your standard fighter mode. The Strike Suit is indeed what changes this game from a brainless space shooter to a space shooter that requires some foresight and strategy. The Strike Suit operates on an energy type called Flux.

Without Flux, players will be unable to enter Strike mode and take advantage of its powerful capabilities. As such, playing at top efficiency requires a management of Flux: knowing when to let up and utilize Fighter mode. While Strike mode is typically superior to Fighter mode, there are certain things that Fighter mode can do that Strike mode cannot. Just as an example, the Fighter mode has an ability that allows it to more easily evade missiles that Strike mode otherwise may not. Simply put, mastering gameplay requires an astute sense of balance between Strike mode and Fighter mode.

The Strike Suit is an impressive piece of technology that really lets players put the smackdown on enemy fighters.

The Strike Suit is an impressive piece of technology that really lets players put the smackdown on enemy fighters.

The next thing that sets Strike Suit Zero apart from other arcade space shooters is its inclusion of dialogue and a narrative. While certainly not an expansive story, the existence of one that is regularly brought up and forwarded along helps frame the entire gameplay experience. Indeed, having a mission and a narrative goal in mind allows players to keep their focus without losing both interest and attention to a game that otherwise would just be pure gameplay. Again, while the story may not be expansive, it is mildly interesting as you fight for the United Nations of Earth against a combined mass of space colonies.

Unfortunately, some players may not find the story interesting enough to keep them going. While gameplay is generally fun, it can get quite stale and repetitive. Essentially, the narrative exists just to give players something of a reason for going out and shooting at things. Really, the game doesn’t offer much besides shooting at other inanimate ships with a variety of different weapons. Regrettably, this makes it so that, after playing a mission or two, the game can become somewhat boring. While the game certainly seems fun to play one mission at a time, it is quite a downfall that it cannot sustain long-term interest.

Much of the game's narrative takes place via dialogue between and among character portraits located at the bottom right of the screen.

Much of the game’s narrative takes place via dialogue between and among character portraits located at the bottom right of the screen.

At an aesthetic level, however, Strike Suit Zero is quite appealing. Most notably, the game features an incredible soundtrack. Approximately 25 tracks boast a soft, but still powerful, Indian-spacefaring fusion theme. Indeed, the soundtrack does much to help players orient themselves to the space environment, allowing for great immersion into a world that may otherwise be pretty mundane and lifeless. Further, the game has a bright, detailed art design that really diversifies the space environment. Indeed, the spaces you navigate are brightly colored in with varying environments. You will fly near and around planets of different colors, expansive wreckages of great detail, and plenty of other scenes. Considering the game takes place in space, it was imperative that the development team create diversified maps. Otherwise, the game’s art design would have devolved into a simple dark, black-purple space hue that would certainly become stale over time.

ain't dat purty?

ain’t dat purty?

One last, unfortunate note about Strike Suit Zero regards its fairly unintuitive, imprecise controls. Navigation requires the use of both analog sticks. Generally, one moves you up and down while the other moves you from side to side. This takes a bit of getting used to, especially considering that the game takes place in a fully 3D world. Moreover, movement and navigation itself is quite clunky. Making turns is a frequent requirement in Strike Suit Zero, yet it is one aspect that is pretty clunky and frustrating. Outside Strike mode, opposing ships move quite a bit faster than you, so in order to keep up an assault, you will need to turn around and follow them. Unfortunately, by the time you complete the turn to have them back in your sights, they are at a significant distance away from you. Similarly, just moving up and down is imprecise at times. Making sharp turns in any direction is something of an impossibility. As such, players must be sure to allow proper distance from an object or aircraft before making a turn. On countless occasions, I found myself flying towards a wreckage, trying to destroy it, only to find myself crashing into it and taking quite a bit of damage, which can become quite frustrating. Thankfully, the controls are not terrible. So while they be frustrating at times, they do not ruin the game by any means.

There's a decent chance of crashing into that ship.

There’s a decent chance of crashing into that ship.

All in all, Strike Suit Zero: Director’s Cut is an enjoyable game. It adds a fresh new feel to an otherwise old, washed-up genre that can appeal to just about anybody looking for a casual gameplay experience. While it does have some noticeable drawbacks, most people who give the game a look-see should find a solid amount of fun to be had.

Final Breakdown

[+Refreshes a stale genre][+Balance between Strike mode and Fighter mode][+Soundtrack][Subtly interesting background narrative][+Art Design][-Can become uninteresting, repetitive][-Imprecise, unintuitive controls]

Good Review Score

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