Developed By: 2P Games Published By: PQube Categories: Roguelite, Action, RPG Release Date: 08.06.21
Zengeon has a great artstyle, is a roguelite and is an action RPG? What’s not to like? The Dark Emptiness, an ancient evil sealed in the Blessed Land by the Celestial Academy, something your characters are students of has escaped. It’s up to these students to send the Dark Emptiness right back and return peace.
Upfront, I’m pleased with Zengeon. I love how the characters look, the music is great. While much of it is locked, there is a lot of content to play with. Multiple characters, all with their own abilities and style of play, all with unlockable outfits. Then you have a lengthy campaign to play in. Get ready though, Zengeon, like most roguelites is a hard one. You’re gonna get mad, perhaps frustrated, but the fun and best part of roguelites is getting further and further with the abilites you unlock and buffs you acumilate.
Getting this out of the way, the biggest part of what makes Zengeon difficult for me is how damage is given to you. Zengeon has rumble, which you can toggle on and off, makes sense, right? Well taking damage does not make rumble activate, only attacking does. This seems like an odd design decision, but I suppose I could work around that. However, you can die in a matter of seconds and not know what was hitting you or when outside of minor whimpers your character makes. I can be doing fantastic, then suddenly croak because you get ganged up by enemies that move faster than you and the indicator for damage is inadequate.
Worst things first, right? One thing I can imagine some players will not be the biggest fan of is how abilities work. Each abilities has its own cooldown. From your weak attacks (A button), to your dodge (B button), to your wide and heavy attacks (Y an X respectively). This is done to make sure you’re not just spamming the best, strongest attacks, and the weak attack’s cooldown is tiny enough to where you *can* spam it. I got used to this fast enough, but the fast enemies catching up to you when you’re trying to dodge away, only for the cooldown to rear it’s ugly head really does suck.
The way you get those juicy powerups is usually by finding these floating pillars. With a small monetary exchange, you can smash them open and get your powerups. It’s usually the choice between two. You’ll see a lot of buffs to speed, strength, but my favorite and most preferred powerups by far are the ones that summon extra elemental attacks randomly with attacks. Just randomly when you’ll be chipping down HP, the enemy will suddenly get frozen solid or struck by lightning. It feels great. For the issues I have with how taking damage is, giving it feels good. One other way I’ve gotten powerups is by killing certain glowing enemies, you’ll really want those powerups. Stuff like ranking your abilities up exponentially.
If you’re brave enough to wander around (grind), you might run into a hidden areas. This is full of harder, stronger enemies, but it’s often worth your time, with better powerups, more experience, and a little shop to exchange items. Items are also found in those pillars. The biggest one for me, and it’s the item you have by default is a healing potion. You’ll need this one. Other items come off more as super strong, devastating attacks that have much longer cooldown periods. You can only hold two items however, so you’ll either have to replace an item, or instead of tossing it, making into a boost for a current item. Make that attack stronger, or just refill a potion.
Say you’re not brave enough to make this journey alone…then just play with friends. You and three friends can join together and assist in going deeper and deeper, but they difficulty is scaled for this.
I wouldn’t say that Zengeon runs poorly, but it does come off as jittery when moving around from area to area. In the more squared off, actiony areas, it’s fine, but I always noticed when not in combat that it seemed to have weird framerate jitters. This is an otherwise, good looking, and colorful game, so I wonder how this will fare when it hits other consoles.
I like Zengeon, but man oh man does the way the game tells you you’re getting hurt and dying stink. It doesn’t matter what game it is, if you can get killed in seconds without a decent way to tell you you’re getting hit, and this can happen ON THE FIRST LEVEL, this is a flaw. I love everything else about the game, so perhaps this could get an update to fiddle with that a bit.
Buy Now: $19.99 Digital – $29.99 Physical
*Game Download Code graciously provided for the purpose of review