Game Experience: Medium
Game Value: High
Quiche’s Recommendation: Get it free with controller
For review guidelines, go here.
I didn’t have high expectations for Amazon Fire TV’s first exclusive. After all, it comes free with the controller ($6.99 otherwise). Also, it’s not realistic to expect games on Fire TV to be console-quality robust yet. The trailer didn’t exactly blow me away either. But after few weeks defending the human race from the Ne’ahtu, an insect-like alien species, I’ve decided the game is pretty darn enjoyable.
Of course, there are derivative aspects of the game. Your character is a Master Chief clone. The action is similar to Mass Effect 3. It’s also a movie we’ve seen before: a tragedy of commons situation where one side wants what you have and the other will fight to defend it. And everything else common to third person shooters and tower defense games.
There are quite a few bases to protect and two phases to each. The first phase is placing your towers (laser, mortar, biological, etc) in strategic locations around your base to protect the core. The aliens arrive in designated locations in several waves, and move along a pre-determined paths toward the core. Once enough aliens reach the core, game over. Simple enough.
Some aliens move faster than others, some are bigger than others, some throw things, some can teleport, and so on. You get to pick one of three primary weapons: rifle, shotgun and machine gun. The weapon of choice for me was the rifle. It’s slow to fire but the most powerful. One shot, one kill. You also have a choice of secondary weapons including a grenade launcher and an air strike. Another good way to kill a Ne’ahtu is to drop from the sky on its head. There are some additional features, but you get the idea.
Each map requires strategic thinking. You want to place biological or life drain towers in high-traffic cross-roads. Mortars go in areas that can cover two or three lanes at the same time. There’s also a slow tower and others, which I found to be useless so far. Once the game starts, towers need to be upgraded and more towers placed to maximize coverage. The tower defense gameplay doesn’t compare with some of the better tower defense games like TowerMadness – not enough variety or strategic complexity – but it is interesting to experiment with different placements.
The shooter action is passable. It gets intense when they swarm and there’s satisfaction in seeing one of the four-legged behemoths fall to an airstrike. Unfortunately, the shooting also becomes repetitive. Mainly, it’s shoot, back-pedal, shoot, back-pedal, bug falls dead, repeat. It could benefit from more variety of weapons and a melee option like a sword you can whip out and slash open the gut of one of those bad boys when they get too close. It would also be good to stand under one of those giants and give it a suppository from hell. A zoom option on the rifle would make killing personal, which is never a bad thing.
Overall, the game isn’t Halo. It’s not Assassin’s Creed. But that was never the expectation. It’s an exclusive of a game system that’s still in infancy. I have high hopes for Fire TV, but didn’t expect much from Sev Zero. The game isn’t perfect and it’ll be forgotten as Fire TV gaming really takes off, but killing the Ne’ahtu isn’t a bad way to kill a few hours.