WASD April 2024 Coverage - Zet Zillions

Article by Adam Ray

We here at Fantastic Universes just deeply love games as much as comics and the rest of the big bad things in popular culture. Twice a year, as part of the London Gaming Festival, WASD brings players like us a plethora of games for us to sample. This is the first in a long bevvy of reviews that we're going to you delightful readers.

Zet Zillions

I love me some card gaming goodness, Akhariou from the Fantastic Plays Podcast can definitely attest to this. At WASD, there was a curious little game, easy to miss, but one that immediately grabbed my attention so deeply that I had to play it twice. There were one other game that made me come back for more.

The Roguelike Deck-Builder is a style of game I ought to love, but have had a lot of trouble with. There have been elements of the gameplay where the difficulty wall is so high or the rigid playstyle of the gameplay makes it hard for me to express myself as a card gamer.

Zet Zillions fired all those expectations out of a cannon and blew it up with heavy ordinance.

Zet Zillions is a well rounded and immaculately polished Roguelike Deck-Builder with a rich world and visual look, punchy gameplay and a strong sense of cohesion in what it's doing.

In the story of the game, you're a conqueror filling up planets across the universe with people to then inevitably destroy the planet, growing your prowess as an intergalactic warlord.

Cards and Conquest

The gameplay loops in ZZ is wonderfully simple, but brings a lot of complexity the further into your runs you go. You get a set number of actions each turn to play cards. The cards you play usually match the 3 stats of giving yourself armour, dealing damage to your enemy, or adding people to your enemy. That last action is a good thing, you want to add people to the planets for them to violently die. War crimes are fun.

What adds real decision point complexity to ZZ is the card fusing mechanics. It doesn't cost an action to fuse cards, but putting Junk and Trash together turns them into Meatballs. I know how that sounds, but please go with me. They're your main damaging cards, but they don't usually appear in your starting deck. They have to be fused. As you go through your run, there are some more powerful cards added to your deck, but do nothing on their own. They have to be fused. The tension in the heat of a battle leaves you to decide whether you want to use the People to wear down the enemy shields and use Armour to add to your own, or cash them in for damage.

What really grabs the player is its art style and the punchy humour of the in game flavour. Bold colours and sharp edges fits the Newgrounds era of games. Niche references to pop culture in the form of 'Left Hand of Thanos' and the 'Battle Star'. It pulls in exactly the type of players that it wants.

Plenty of Pineapples

This is the first of the genre I deeply enjoyed, the gameplay is frenetic and punchy. I strongly expect it to be that one kind of game I can turn to after a long stressful day down the mines.

The demo seen at WASD is available on Steam, and you can add it to your Wishlist for their May 2024 release right here!

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