Strike Suit Seven
Energy beams fly by me at every turn. No matter where I turn, ammunition is rocketing about. I fire off a few missiles and barrel roll out of the worst of the carnage, slowing my ship to take aim at a passing corvette. A few ammo dumps, and the corvette is no more. With another target down, I turn to take down another…and another…and another. This is Strike Suit Zero — a lot of firing at a lot of space ships. But hey, if that’s what you’re into, Strike Suit Zero is for you.
Strike Suit Zero puts you into the cockpit of one Private Adams, a man only recently permitted to fly again after a psych evaluation. Adams is a soldier in a war between the United Nations of Earth and the Colonials, but in truth, the conflict doesn’t matter here. What matters is that you get to fly around deep space, blast debris, take down enemy ships, and intercept torpedoes. You’ll accomplish this the way all space flight games do: by controlling your flight angle with a mouse (or flight stick), accelerating and decelerating with the W and S keys, and barrel rolling with the A and D keys.
Strike Suit Zero puts some other tools at your disposal, including – obviously – weapons. You’ll start with basic energy cannons and missiles. Energy cannons can be linked for higher damage, though this drains energy faster. Missiles are limited in supply (thanks, Metroid), but do high amounts of damage when they home in and connect. You are also equipped with a highly convenient EMP to stop incoming missiles. It can be tricky to use, due to both timing and its default placement on the Ctrl key, but it’s a useful tool.
As you progress through Strike Suit Zero‘s missions, you’ll unlock more weapons and ships, all of which can be changed out before embarking on missions. Weapon slots even allow you to stack the same type of weapon, allowing for a larger ammo supply; I was starting missions with 90 missiles every time. Other weapons, such as rocket pods, are just as destructive, if not as convenient as the starters. Later ships allow for greater mobility and different shield rates, and this adds to pre-mission customization.
OK, Gundam fans, you can relax now – I’m getting to the main attraction of Strike Suit Zero: the Strike Suit. This is the game’s premiere ship, and it plays differently from all others. The Strike Suit has two modes of flight: pursuit and strike. Pursuit mode is akin to other ships, with basic flying and weapon firing, but Strike mode is where things get interesting. When using the Strike Suit, all destroyed targets fill a Flux meter. Strike mode uses this Flux energy to transform the ship into a giant, humanoid mech. This form is far more powerful than other ships, allowing you to dash away from missiles, immediately center on targets, and fire multiple missiles at a group of targets. Playing in Strike mode is Strike Suit Zero‘s main draw, and for good reason: you feel like a real space badass when it’s active.
Of course, you feel like a badass regardless as you progress through the game. A few missions in, and you’ll be mastering the zero gravity dogfight, learning to lead your shots and keep your turns tight. The game’s arcade-y feel is enjoyable, and it needs to be, because that fun can run out fast. As mentioned before, Strike Suit Zero involves a lot of shooting down enemy ships…and really, nothing else. Missions never cease to fall into the “destroy all targets” category, even when other mission types are possible within the game’s parameters. This gets repetitive quickly, especially when the game does little to spice up the encounters in category or difficulty. Fun fact: I failed exactly one mission during my entire play time.
Strike Suit Zero nails the exciting space battle vibe, but it doesn’t even attempt to enter other territories. Sure, you’ll master the art of deep space dog fighting, but it’s due to the fact that you’ll be doing nothing else. Mechanically, this title is sound, but it really doesn’t offer enough to warrant a look beyond “neat – I just destroyed a frigate!” A cool mech suit does not make up for the game’s lack of variety.
A copy of the game was provided for review.