Zeit Squared review

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Zeit Squared review

The idea of adding time travel to a side-scrolling shooter is so awesome, it’s scandalous no one thought of it earlier. Why let enemies slip away when you can scoot back a few seconds and help your past self clear stages swarming with fish-like health-drainers?

It sounds like an obsessive’s heaven, and unique self-partnership and scoring mechanics will certainly earn Zeit2 some ardent fans. Blast your shadow self with ordinary bullets to generate screen-clearing shockwaves, end your trips through time where they began for bonuses, and face a frantic screen-filling final boss who takes minutes on end to vanquish, even if you know exactly what you’re doing.

You’ll plow through Arcade mode’s 16 main levels in under two hours, but a handful of ancillary modes (including Survival and Score Attack) will appeal to any bullet-hell buff’s desire to nail the perfect run through an area. Plus, a dynamic challenge system endlessly goads you to improve your scores, earn better medals, and show up online pals on the leaderboards.

What ices up the game’s wings is a lack of variety: though Zeit2 definitely feels unique at first, the enemy behavior and visual fireworks are too limited. Common foes never do much more than coast by, and only so many stars-with-blue-gradient backgrounds can scroll past before your eyes glaze over. As a result, the game starts to lose its novel sheen after just a few hours, even as it offers a tantalizing glimpse of the genre’s future.

On Xbox Live Arcade

+ Time travel unlocks unique new play patterns without undermining the difficulty.

+ Solid collection of modes and unpredictable challenges.

- Dull enemy patterns and endless fields of blue are snoozerific.

? Why does the Tactics-mode leaderboard tally total trophies, not stage scores?

7.0

 
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