We're huge fans of Indie games here at Dealspwn- and were excited to learn that Ubisoft had taken a team of student coders under their wing to publish their latest project. Zeit2 is the result: a scrolling shoot 'em up that packs a nifty time time travelling mechanic.
At first glance, Zeit2 resembles every SHMUP you've ever played. Enemy formations approach from right to left, requiring quick responses and a slick trigger finger to take down. Shooting constantly depletes your health that can be regained from downed foes, adding an interesting balance between firepower and self preservation. However, most enemies can drain your life simply by passing by... meaning that letting even a single ship slip past your defences means certain death. Your weaponry is underpowered and enemy waves frequently take up the entire screen, but luckily the power of time itself is on your side.
Holding the left trigger rewinds time by a few seconds and duplicates your previous actions, effectively doubling the amount of firepower that you can throw out. What's more, targeting your past self amplifies your weapons into devastating shockwaves or splits a beam cannon into a multi-directional torrent of laser death. Intelligently using this ability to destroy entire formations ensures enormous score combos and longer lifespans. Later levels are hard as nails (with enormous bosses posing a ridiculous challenge), though learning the ropes soon pays dividends.
Zeit2 attempts to sweeten the deal by offering a wealth of game modes and an addictive challenge metagame (think achievements within achievements)... but unfortunately this is where its major failings start to ooze through the cracks. The core gameplay soon becomes repetitive and dull thanks to limited enemy types that attack in over-familiar patterns, meaning that the experience soon descends into a massive thankless slog. Players will have encountered practically everything it has to offer within the first few levels, making continued play an exercise in grinding boredom. Sure, it's extremely difficult in parts, but this serves to enhance the claustrophobic nature of the action. Zeit2 simply refuses to have any fun with its innovative premise!
The visuals also don't do Zeit2 any favours. They're solid enough (with a nice ambient vibe), but dull uninspiring backgrounds and copy/pasted enemies will soon compliment the repetitive slog. If not cause your brain to leap down through your nose and try to boot up something more interesting to look at. The music is similarly underwhelming and starts to grate after a few minutes of play.
- Innovative time travel mechanic
- Responsive controls
- Addictive challenge metagame and numerous modes
- Thankless repetitive gameplay soon becomes a chore
- Uninspired presentation
- Poor value for money
The Short Version: Zeit2 is a lukewarm SHMUP that offers little beyond the initial thrill of its time travel mechanic. Dull visuals and crushing repetition make what ought to have been an exciting adventure feel uninteresting and bland after a while. Hardcore shooter veterans will find it a challenging diversion, but it's not a patch on any number of Xbox Live Indie Games that retail for a tenth of the price.