Excerpt: A budding development team--let's call them ACE Team--cracked open a long sealed vault. Covered from head to toe in myriad spider webs, caked dust and grime, wrapped in a holey blanket of leather and denim, lay a long forgotten cadaver: the brawler genre. One amongst them smiled and said, "Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology!
Excerpt: Zeno Clash originally reared its head in April of 2009 as a downloadable game on Steam. Built off the Source Engine, it wowed many a gamer and critic with its unique first-person "brawler" gameplay. It went on to become a finalist in the "Excellence in Visual Art" category at the 2009 Independent Games Festival competition, but lost out to the equally visually stunning Machinarium.
Summary: This is without a doubt the most unique game I have played this year. Everything from the characters to the world to the gameplay is a breath of fresh air the likes of which I haven’t experienced in a couple of years. Yes, it’s short, but it’s also cheap, and it never overstays its welcome. This game is weird, but in a good way.
Excerpt: Developers have been trying to get melee combat right in first person games for years, Dark Messiah of Might and Magic tried to step up and deliver a visceral experience but found itself bogged down in a generic fantasy setting and lackluster level design. The same could certainly not be said about the aesthetic style in Zeno Clash , the debut project from ACE Team, which is filled with bizarre environments and creatures.
Conclusion: A combination of exciting, refreshing gameplay and the incredibly outlandish setting and characters really make Zeno Clash a standout game. It has all the style and pizzazz of a big budget production, but it's far more disturbing and creative than you're average release. Even with a story that never fully blossoms into something great and a few other limitations that arise, there's a lot to love about this unsettling adventure.
Summary: All in all, Zeno Clash is an amazing thrill ride from start to finish. I highly recommend stashing a MS Points card for when this game comes out on XBLA, if you are not a PC game player. If you are, stop reading this and pick it up from Steam or Direct2Drive! It is a short game, there is no multiplayer, but the replay value of progressive playthroughs and the Challenge Mode make it worth the $14.99 price-tag on Steam.
Excerpt: From the minute you start Zeno Clash to the minute you finish it, you will probably be thinking one of two things: "What the hell is going on," or "that was amazing." Chances are, the first might still follow the second, but that's what the game is going for. If you haven't scratched your head or furrowed your brow (and eventually been amazed) over the game's simple plot, actually otherworldly setting, or surreal, bizarre aesthetic, then the game hasn't done its job.
Excerpt: A livid humanoid bird charges towards Ghat. He absorbs a few attacks, then retaliates with a one-two punch-kick combination of his own. His enemy stunned, he uses this brief window to take stock. Picking up a five-foot bone club, he approaches the aggressor from behind, draws back his newly acquired best friend and swings wildly. Beak boy is hurled twenty yards through the air and lands in a pit, unmoving.