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Strike Suit Zero is a space combat simulation game that was successfully raised on Kickstarter by the Born Ready Games studios. After reaching their $100,000 funding goal, the developers added more polish to the game before its highly anticipated release on Steam and GOG. The game is highly reminiscent of classic space game titles like Freespace, Colony Wars, Wing Commander, Homeworld and Freelancer.  

The events unfold aboard a large space carrier as you are under strict training for the United Nations of Earth (U.N.E) as an elite fighter pilot. After a brief session, you are thrown headfirst into the action as enemy units invade your territory with command issuing orders for you to engage and destroy all hostile fighters. Strike Suit’s plot does not revolve around the player as you learn that you play a very minor role in a massive intergalactic war. With 13 missions in the story mode, players will learn about intricate details about the U.N.E. and the imminent threat of the Black Fleet.

You begin with a single craft and as the story progresses, you’ll unlock additional craft as well as upgrades based on your skill, kill count and performance. Four crafts are available in this game: Interceptors, Bombers, Fighters and the Strike Suit itself. At the mission select screen, your choice of primary and secondary weapons will dictate the tactics you deploy to complete mission objectives and parameters. Among the weapon choices are the plasma cannons, machine guns, lasers, heat-seeking missiles, rockets and more. Missions have timed objectives and failure to complete them will result in mission failure with an option to restart from the last checkpoint.  

The HUD is easy to use and has a very intuitive “arcade” type of layout. The Armor, Shield and Flux gauges are displayed at the top with mission objectives placed at the top left corner of the screen. As you engage and lock into enemy crafts and units, a visual shows their health bar and the amount of damage that you’ve inflicted upon them. Your primary and secondary weapons are revealed next to the arm and shield gauges to indicate how much ammunition is left. They are mapped to your energy meter that decreases each time the weapons are used before it is briefly recharged again. 

 

Earlier missions can be replayed with other craft to unlock extras that you may have missed in your first few attempts. The challenge and obstacles in the latter missions prove to be quite a challenge as your dogfighting skills and reflexes will be put to the test. Once unlocked, the Strike Suit is a very powerful craft that makes completing the first few missions objectives a very easy task. In the latter half of the game, using the Strike Suit wisely and tactically is vital to completing your mission objectives. The “strike mode” can be utilized so long as the Flux gauge is filled by destroying your enemies quickly and accumulating a high kill count.

The designs of the crafts are exceptional as they were created by mecha artist, Junji Okubo, whose works include Appleseed, Ex Machina, Viper’s Creed, Steel Battalion and Infinite Space. Digital copies of Okubo’s artwork are available for purchase along with the game while physical copies were made exclusively for Kickstarter backers at the higher tier levels. The soundtrack is phenomenal as the developers enlisted the talents of Paul Ruskay, the award-winning composer of Homeworld and Kokia, a Japanese songwriter and singer who has worked on Gunslinger Girl: II Teatrino, Tales of Innocence, and Origin: Spirits of the Past.

Strike Suit Zero is the modern space combat game that fans have been waiting for. Although the space combat genre has faded since the 90s, Strike Suit Zero proves that the demand still exists for an exciting, adrenaline-filled space combat shooter for PCs as well as gaming consoles. The missions are a bit long and the difficulty curve steep and unforgiving but that does not detract from the game’s aesthetic appeal and engaging gameplay.

 

PROS: Fast-paced gameplay, stellar visuals, solid controls

CONS: Missions are too lengthy, steep learning curve, lack of sufficient checkpoints

SCORE – 87%

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