Z The Game Review

By , on July 21, 2011

Z The Game
Download on the AppStore
4 out of 5


  • Amusing and charming themes; they may be robots, but they know how to party.
  • Classic, stripped-down RTS elements; suits iOS devices like a glove.
  • Dynamic music system still a treat to listen to.


  • Multiplayer feels like an obvious omission; while not necessarily easy to implement, playing against other people will be missed.
  • Interface updates don't cover some basic features; temporarily locking your selection would save a lot of time and effort.


Z The Game isn't just limited to classic gamers and RTS fans; while there is a steep difficulty curve to climb, the simplified RTS features are easy to learn and adapt to.

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If you grew up in the 90s and didn't know about games like Chaos Engine or Speedball, I'd say you're poorer for the lack of experience, but then again even fewer people I know seem to remember (at least seriously remember) playing Z by The Bitmap Brothers. While not a seminal release in the RTS genre, it took a different approach by focusing on the minutiae of controlling units while forming tactical strategies to outplay your AI (or real life) opponents. Kavcom Limited have brought the classic title to the App Store under the name of 'Z The Game' and while it may lack the multiplayer component, old school gamers and RTS fans alike will still be able to dive in to the challenging campaign.

Though perhaps it's more challenging than most simply because so little is explained. Instead of a tutorial, players are given a series of help screens that outline the basic concepts of the game. In summation, your job is to conquer the map by using the units you're given, pushing forward towards the enemy's base and crushing it. The fine details aren't quite so apparent, such as the ability to claim vehicles, though a modicum of experimentation is all that's required to get a feel of the game's quirks. Individual units can be selected and moved with a basic tap on the screen and buttons on the bottom of the screen can cycle between the units that are available, making it relatively easy to keep track of your ever increasing army

Outside of the sharp difficulty curve there are other dated features that may put off modern gamers (such as poor pathing and needing to re-select units if you've set a bad destination), but for a game that is 15 years old (to this very month) the aesthetic style has held up well. Although there's not a lot of detail in the pixel-art characters themselves, the voice acting and dynamic musical score add a healthy heaping of charm and polish to the game. The storyline is a bit thin, though really you're only going to prevent yourself from skipping these sequences just so you can see what idiocy the two main characters are up to THIS time.

Z The Game, just like the original title, is first and foremost about strategy - much of what we've come to consider basic tropes of the genre (resource collection and building) are absent and honestly not missed at all. Whether you owned this classic RTS or you want to try something familiar without all the fuss, Z The Game hits the spot.


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