Born Ready Studios successfully completed their Kickstarter campaign to raise the final funds to get Strike Suit Zero done and dusted, but was it all worth the effort? Let’s venture off into review-space and find out.
In the future, mankind will discover alien wreckage which will give us the knowledge to reach for the stars, and being human, it’s only natural that we’d search for the source of that knowledge. As we head into the unknown we’ll create colonies in the far reaches of space, but over time the colonies will demand independence from Earth.
Finding the source of the alien knowledge, the colonies will bargain with Earth for independence and Earth humans will grant independence to the colonies in return for access to the source of the knowledge which the Colonials have found.
There will be rivalries between the two sides and deals will be broken. The Earth will become embroiled in a bitter conflict with the colonies who are now ready to strike.
It’s up to you to stop Earth’s destruction as the colonials advance. So ends the plot preamble, and so begins the game.
Playing the role of pilot Adams, you are tasked to stop the Colonial fleet by taking on a series of missions utilising the very latest in space fighter and bomber technology. You are of course a crack pilot, the best of the best, so it’s going to be an easy ride right? Well maybe not.
Now I’m not that bad at space shooters, in fact I really enjoy a good blast and Strike Suit Zero certainly ticks all the boxes when it comes the action. The game features a whole host of different ships which unlock as you progress through the game, the most formidable being the Strike Suit itself, a cross between a ship and a mech/gunplatform.
As the game starts there’s no access to the Strike Suit. Born Ready ease you into the combat with some pretty basic fighters, but after a few missions the Suit is yours to command. This ship of war features two flight modes and players have to switch between the two depending on the circumstance of each mission.
When activated, the Strike Suit handles completely differently from a normal ship, in fact it’s almost like playing an FPS with the ability to stay practically stationary and circle around enemy objectives which is damn handy as some of the missions would be practically impossible to complete without it.
The big draw to this game are the weapons, Born Ready go mental with the firepower, especially in Strike Suit mode. Equipped with an arsenal of different rocket or missile types, which you select from the pre-mission load-out, you have the ability to not only lock onto one target but multiple targets all at the same time by highlighting as many targets as possible. This releases a whole barrage of firepower and mastering the technique of selecting as many as possible before your Suit runs out of juice is a skill in itself.
It took a few attempts to get this working to its full potential, but that’s the key to Strike Suite Zero; mastering the weapon systems and the ship control, no matter what ship configuration you have currently active when flying the Suit.
The catch with the Strike Suit itself is a resource called Flux, it can only be activated if the Flux bar has reached a certain level, the more targets taken out the faster that Flux bar charges. Once spent, the Strike Suite reverts to the normal ship formation.
On more than once occasion I got so carried away blasting the crap out of enemy ships I forgot to check the Flux charge which reverted the ship back to the normal mode. This usually happened at some inopportune moments which resulted in my death and a restart back to the last checkpoint.
Each mission is split into sections, usually with two or three checkpoints which were a godsend. Obviously if you don’t die then there are extra bonuses to be had once the mission is completed, but if you die and have to restart at the last checkpoint, then possible rewards will be reduced. In fact much of the game is based around how well you can perform and completists are probably going to be replaying the missions just to get the better ship upgrades and get their name on the global leaderboard. I am no achievement whore though, so missing the odd collectable unlock didn’t bother me too much.
An issue with the missions is that some can feel rather samey. In one early mission you have to take a communication relay out, but then just a couple of missions later you are once again taking out a communication relay. When the target objectives start to repeat like that, it can get quite predictable and it begins feel like you’re going through the motions. That’s especially the case on timed missions where you’re watching a clock tick down until something AI controlled happens.
However, there are a couple of missions which did come as a nice surprise, the most notable being taking command of a bomber for the first time which means access to torpedoes to destroy some of the larger capital ships. These large ships appear throughout the game which means there are multiple targets positioned on a single vessel. Picking off Plasma Cannons and Flack Turrets is not easy, even with a good load of missiles. The larger ships can really drain your shields and there were a few points in missions where, if you stray too close, it seems as if you’ll die regardless of how well you think you can fly.
The targeting system is essential to master but it can feel a little clumsy when cycling through for target objectives. A lot of the time the selected target on your HUD changes from the objective to a ship closer to your location, usually just after you have completed an objective. When shit hits the fan and the screen is flashing white with explosions, tapping through targets and getting the right objective back up on the HUD became an irritant and caused a few untimely deaths. Perhaps I am just crap at the target selection, but it’s also something Peter had issues with during his preview.
What Strike Suit Zero does very well is create an atmosphere, and that is largely helped by the audio skills of Paul Ruskay, of Homeworld fame. I do have one bone to pick with the audio department, however. The radio chatter when dogfighting is not only annoying but completely irrelevant most of time to what’s going on around you. If I hear “they’re going after Adams” one more time I’ll, I’ll, well … probably just pull off my headphones. Obviously they’re going after Adams, without Adams there would be no game, he’s the guy in the Strike Suit don’t you know?
Strike Suit Zero is without a doubt a fun game, and it’s pretty challenging. Challenging enough to keep you sitting there and thinking “right, I am going to get this mission done,” and before you know it you’re either weeping at the amount of times it took to complete a mission or just eager to crack on to the next. You also can’t fault the art style and overall visuals, it’s pretty looking game with some great effects on the missiles and explosions.
Despite a few faults, Strike Suit Zero is a game well worth taking a look at. The space combat genre needs a new title, and at the £15.00 price point, you’re going to get your money’s worth of entertainment, especially if some decent DLC is released in the future.