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Zangeki Warp Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . Although the graphics are a little plain and the difficulty spikes at the very end, I had a lot of fun fighting through the swarms of Bug-Eyed Monsters. Zangeki Warp has a cool gimmick that I want to see more of in shoot-em-ups, and I like the way they incorporate the teleporting into the level designs. It's short and the cheap hits hold it back, but Astro Port's newest shooter is great twist on the old school formula. Rating: 71%
Zangeki Warp
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  • Review Score:

  • B
A few years ago, I reviewed a game called Velocity 2X, a vertical shoot-em-up with an ingenious gimmick that had players teleporting around the screen with the touch of a button. I loved the concept and everything FuturLab did with it, but wished somebody would transplant the mechanics into a side-scrolling horizontal shooter. Well, it looks like Japanese developer Astro Port has done just that, and Zangeki Warp proves to be an engaging little action game that oozes 16-bit charm.

The story sees the galactic civilization facing annihilation from an unexpected foe. After an evil genius scientist creates a swarm of "Bug-Eyed Monsters," the Super-Electric Research Center sends the ZanFighter to the fortress to lay down the law, 2D shoot-em-up style. This simple setup sends us through a half dozen retro-inspired stages full of bullets and bad guys.


The gimmick here is that players will be able to literally stop time and warp to a different part of the stage. This can be used for everything from escaping bullets to flying through walls, as well as killing the enemies that get in the way. But the warp juice is not unlimited, and the ZanFighter will need to recharge between teleports. It's a tricky balance that can make you feel super-powered and helpless all within the span of a few seconds.

As you can probably already imagine, Zengeki Warp has crafted its level designs around your unique skills. The game is full of walls and obstacles you'll need to warp through, as well as bosses that can only be defeated with a few well-timed teleports. I like that the stages don't just go from left to right, but will occasionally scroll up and down, often putting enemies behind the player. It never veers too far from the tried and true shoot-em-up formula, but still manages to feel fresh.

Part of the reason why this works so well is because Astro Port knows how to make an old school shooter. While not a household name, the company has spent the last six years honing their skills with games like Wolflame, Steel Strider and Gigantic Army. Zangeki Warp is one of their best, and a great starting point for anybody new to the company. I'm impressed by the variety in level designs, the different endings and the multiple bosses found in each stage. There's a lot to like here.

Unfortunately, there are a couple things I absolutely don't like about Zangeki Warp. For one thing, the difficulty spike in the final few levels is a real eye-opener. It goes from being almost too easy to frustratingly difficult in the blink of an eye. This is partially caused by some annoying checkpoints, which can often feel a little too far apart.

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This issue is only made worse by the many cheap deaths you'll face while taking on the Bug-Eyed Monsters. It's not the bullets that end up being the problem; I'm used to that in 2D shoot-em-ups. The problem here is that enemies will constantly fly into you from off screen. There's no warning, which can make parts of this game seem unfair. This is especially true with the boss battles. You'll not only have to memorize enemy patterns in order to beat the game, but also be a little lucky.

Zangeki Warp is also a bit on the short side, a criticism that can be leveled against most retro-inspired shoot-em-ups. The game does offer a few extra difficulties and modes, but it would have been nice to see a few more levels. There remains a lot of potential in this cool mechanic, so I hope Astro Port revisits the concept in the future.

Although the graphics are a little plain and the difficulty spikes at the very end, I had a lot of fun fighting through the swarms of Bug-Eyed Monsters. Zangeki Warp has a cool gimmick that I want to see more of in shoot-em-ups, and I like the way they incorporate the teleporting into the level designs. It's short and the cheap hits hold it back, but Astro Port's newest shooter is great twist on the old school formula.
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