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Exzeal Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . While not very original, Exzeal is a fitting end to Shooting Love 20XX. It's a mostly enjoyable shoot-em-up that gets the fundamentals right, but fails to give players a reason to care. The backgrounds are boring, the enemies are familiar and the whole thing is over far too quickly. This is a solid shooter at a decent price, but you're better off playing Super Galaxy Squadron EX. Rating: 64%
Exzeal
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  • Review Score:

  • B-
Having already ported Shmups Skill Test, Minus Zero and Trizeal Remix, it seems only appropriate that Degica brings the final part of Shooting Love 20XX to Steam. Exzeal is yet another action-packed shooter that not only offers a compelling overhead experience, but shows that the developers at Triangle Service continued to get stronger with each passing release.

This is a straightforward 2D shoot-em-up where you play a lone pilot who zips through a bunch of outer space levels blowing up fleets of nasty aliens. It's nothing you haven't seen before, but Exzeal does it well for a decent price. Whether or not you'll remember anything about it in a month or two is a completely different story.


While Trizeal allowed players to switch between weapons on the fly, this follow-up wants you to lock in your selection right at the top. We're given a choice between several unit loadouts, each with their own type of firepower and bombs. It's not just the bullets the ships fire, but also the charge attack. Each ship is a little different, with a couple intended to be flown only by experienced fans of the genre who know how to use the experimental weaponry.

For as much as I enjoyed flying around with the different units, I quickly grew bored of seeing the same levels every time. There aren't branching paths or even a mid-level skirmish; it's just a straightforward path that sees you blowing up little ships in order to get to the boss. It doesn't help that a lot of the levels take place in front of a generic outer space background. Instead of being distracted by a detailed setting, we fly over brown clouds and through uninteresting fortresses. There's nothing much to catch your eye in Exzeal.

The fleet of bad guys fares better than the backgrounds, though it's nothing we haven't seen countless times before. The enemies are created using polygons, which allows the developers to give certain ships a more dramatic entrance. This can be especially effective with the boss battles, where we'll see them ramping up in the distance before eventually joining the fight. Sadly, these standout moments are few and far between.

Exzeal (Steam)Click For the Full Picture Archive

I'm not sure if it's because of the different ships or the enemies being more forgiving, but I found this follow-up to be considerably easier than Trizeal. Even on the higher difficulties, the game never felt as punishing as previous Triangle outings. I ended up having a better time with Exzeal as a result, though I can understand why veterans of the genre might wish for a more challenging shooter.

While I ultimately enjoyed Exzeal, I did come away with mixed thoughts. It's a game that gets all of the shoot-em-up fundamentals right, but then fails to give players a reason to care. The backgrounds are boring, the enemies are familiar and the whole thing is over far too quickly. This is a solid shooter at a decent price, but you're better off playing Super Galaxy Squadron EX.
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