In a not so near (nor different) future, humans are obsessed with a mobile phone game (remember the Pokémon Go frenzy ? Told you this future is no different). You have to open their mind by delivering “Zines” for them to read in order to make them discover what the world has else to offer. You will do it through 13 missions thanks to robot arms and legs equipped with rollerblades, and a rewind power that allows you to travel back in time when you miss your target. Ride along and save the world !
If the scenario is not central in Zineth (you can see up there that it can hold on a postcard), you will discover soon enough by playing the game that the developers aren’t lying when they say it “celebrates speed, movement and twitter” (although the twitter functionality doesn’t seem to be working). This hyper dynamic fast and furious free to play game will leave you with a very satisfying (although short) experience, especially if you like to ride, grind, jump and roll along the walls with frenetic electronic music – we’ll talk about this later.
This game definitely makes me nostalgic. Nostalgic of an era when the Dreamcast was praised by critics and players but failed commercially. This influence is not a mystery to Arcane Studios, since the motto on their website is “Make the games you wish to see on the Dreamcast”. An era when I played Jet Set Radio while drinking hot chocolate on my momma’s lap (come on I was 9 when it got out, who doesn’t need his/her momma at 9 ?). Because this game is clearly inspired by this famous rollerskating and graffitiing game that used to rock Sega’s console, as much in its concept than in its graphics. Zineth’s world is nothing but a stack of colorful blocks, bumps and cactuses (don’t ask why) that I found beautiful but might cause epilepsy crisis to the most sensitive players. Subjectivity put aside, this open world is quite huge for an indie game made in two months, and apart some long trips in the desert (literally, a desert is covering most of the map), you won’t be bored easily by the obstacles and other jumps you can meet in this game.
Playing uniquely with the keyboard/mouse combination, and even though I had to use a weird zasd configuration (I play on an azerty keyboard and couldn’t find out how to configure the keys properly) I had a surprisingly nice riding experience. Turning and adding gravity while jumping may be a little complicated when you haven’t mastered the game yet -understand if you suck, like me- but the rewind power doesn’t make it a problem as long as you have enough patience to do your tricks over and over until you reach your target. If speed gaining through left clicking the mouse could appear to be off-putting at first hand, it actually gives rhythm to the game and will appear totally natural after a couple of minutes. I haven’t tested it, but know that you can play the game with a gamepad as well, if you want to feel again the exciting sensations you had playing Jet Set Radio, Tony Hawk Pro Skateboarding, Coolboarders et al.
Aaaaaaaah… The music. If it fits well with the action within the first minutes, it will unfortunately give you a headache soon after. By the way it’s surprising that a game which first picture is “Winners don’t use drugs” has such a drug related soundtrack and color setting. Really, even with my headphones lying on the table, this sound drove me nuts. But if you like rave parties and hardcore electronic music go for it ! Put your volume level at maximum and dance in front of your screen as if you were in front of the booth in the middle of the Australian desert with wasted aborigines and drunken Aussies ! But then again, winners don’t use drugs. Remember this folks.
Taste (Lasting appeal)
If the number of missions is quite limited (only 13) the search of all the items and secrets will leave you busy for quite some time. It will take you around 1h30 to finish the missions and 5h to overcome all the secrets of the game. You will be helped in this task by your mobile phone, which holds plenty of handy apps among which is a radar to find the missions and stuff you can pickup nearby. It will also let you access to a minigame featuring fighting monsters which is pretty central since most of the items you get are dedicated to upgrade these newage Pokémons. But if riding along is what you love, you’ll spend even more hours just trying to access the highest platform of the level, to rule over the desert and be the king of the cactuses (and the few non playable characters that are dispatched over the map).
Smell (overall experience)
Sweet cactus flower
Like cactuses Zineth may make your eyes and sting if you look too closely (and your ears as well), but its flower is beautiful and smells good from the very beginning. Cactus seeds can be used as drugs, and you will certainly get addicted to this game for a couple of hours – if you turn your sound off or if you like music drug addicts love. Apparently cactus juice can help with hangover, but remember : drink responsibly and winners don’t use drugs !
Thanks to : Pampel (Nico), Meska (Hervé), Vignou (Quentin), PM (Paul), Srompich (Sai), Sly (Sylvain) and Hélène Thomas