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Ziggurat Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . Ziggurat is yet another fun first-person roguelike for the PlayStation 4. Inspired by games like Hexen and Heretic, this is a fantasy-themed action game where players fight murderous mushrooms, killer carrots and slime monsters. While fun, the action quickly becomes repetitive and the levels aren't as diverse as similar games. Rating: 71%
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  • Review Score:

  • B
After finishing up my review of Tower of Guns, I sat back in my chair and wondered how long it would take for another company to create a similarly-themed shooter. Little did I know that it would only take a couple of weeks for competition to show up. Who knew first-person roguelikes would be such a dominant force in April?

If Tower of Guns was intended to evoke the spirit of old school action games like Doom and Duke Nukem, then Ziggurat's focus is more in line with Heretic and Hexen. This is a fantasy-based shooter, complete with magic wands, powerful staffs and a variety of spells to cast. You fight murderous mushrooms, killer carrots and, yes, even slime monsters, all in an effort to battle your way through a difficult challenge tower known as the Ziggurat.

Each level plays out exactly the same way. You'll be asked to explore a series of randomly assembled rooms in search of a portal key, which is then used to summon the boss. Although the map changes every time, you'll recognize a lot of the same types of rooms. Many will trap you in, forcing a fight against a wave of monsters. There are also treasure and challenge rooms, which will test the player's ability to jump on small objects and avoid difficult obstacles. Once the boss is defeated and you're done exploring, it's off to the next floor where you'll do exactly the same thing.

As our hero travels deeper into the Ziggurat, they will discover new weapons and battle increasingly difficult creatures. Killing monsters will drop experience points, which can be used to alter the combat in exciting ways. Leveling gives the player a choice between two powers, such as being able to hold more mana or gaining a little health before each battle. But like any good roguelike, all of your weapons and upgrades will be lost the moment you die.

Players start out as Argo, a balanced apprentice hidden behind a mysterious hoodie. However, completing tasks will unlock additional characters, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. The tasks are deceptively simple and offer a lot of incentive to play through the campaign multiple times. Thankfully, each playthrough offers a different maze to solve, complete with unique obstacles and bosses to fight.

Although the stages may be random, that doesn't prevent Ziggurat from becoming incredibly repetitive. Many of the rooms look the same, and ultimately devolve into arena battles. Some rooms add an extra handicap on top of the usual challenge. You'll often run into rooms that will slow you down or make attacks less powerful. This sounds cool, but isn't enough to keep these rooms compelling. It certainly doesn't help that every floor plays out exactly the same way, with only the maze changing.

Ziggurat (PlayStation 4)Click For the Full Picture Archive

While similar to Tower of Guns, there are a few things I prefer about Ziggurat. I like that this game allows me to switch between four weapons on the fly. I was also immediately intrigued by the game's fantasy setting and monsters. Best of all, the first-person shooting was a lot more accessible in Ziggurat.

On the other hand, I preferred the wide variety of themed stages found in Tower of Guns. The game could go from bright and neon to dark and moody in a blink of an eye, while Ziggurat keeps the same general aesthetic throughout. And while it's fun to swap between different weapons, I had a better time jumping high up into the air like a superhero. If Tower of Guns and Ziggurat could somehow merge their best elements into a single first-person roguelike, we would be looking at a real Game of the Year contender.

Alas, Ziggurat probably won't be up for any awards at the end of the year, but it is a solid action game with a fun fantasy theme and a lot of cool monsters to take down. Milkstone Studios gets the first-person shooting right and even outdoes the competition in a few important ways. Unfortunately, it won't take long for repetition to set in and the action to turn into a chore. There are a lot of intriguing ideas in Ziggurat that I would like to see explored in a more ambitious adventure game.
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