By , on March 5, 2012

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4 out of 5


  • Simple to pick up and play but it takes major skill to survive for more than a few minutes.
  • Catchy music coupled with striking pixel art.


  • While precision mode is definitely the control scheme to take, it lacks the precision to truly make a difference (but perhaps that's the point).


Simple and straightforward, but only the most dedicated players can best the arcade gauntlet that has been thrown down by this title.

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As the last human on Earth, you stand tall upon the Ziggurat, surveying the damage that the alien menace has wrought. As the hordes approach, you and your powerful weapon can keep them at bay... but for how long? That is all the information needed to understand and undertake this arcade shooter from Action Button Entertainment.

Yes it seems that the team responsible for some of the more unique game writing and criticism on the net has thrown their hats into game design, and what they've come up with can be called striking if nothing else. For starters, the game begins and ends with a jarring note, protagonist silhouetted against a crimson backdrop. It feels like a Suda51 game in tone. Game wise, it plays kind of like a reverse paratrooper. You stand on your mountain as the aliens ascend from below. The goal is survival, in not letting any of them reach you or to have any of their projectiles touch you. To accomplish this you have a rather powerful gun equipped that arcs its shots and charges up to be more powerful the longer you keep from firing. Upon hitting an enemy, you can set off a chain reaction that engulfs it neighbors, which is needed as the incoming hordes are relentless.

Controlling the gun can be handled with either a precision mode which waves your gun back and forth via a slider bar at the bottom of the screen or an aiming mode where projectiles are flung out slingshot style. Out of the two, the precision mode feels the best, but the slider never seems responsive enough to keep the enemy at bay. This could be a skill based learning curve that improves over play time or it could be reinforcing the hopelessness of your situation. See, defeat will come, and it will come often, no matter how many times you have another go. The game even tells you how many aliens you managed to off before dying, suggesting that to expect any other outcome is foolhardy. This is in essence a game of high scores, except that there is enemy progression with different colored aliens appearing with increasingly maddening tactics. There is also apparently an end-boss, but defeating it let alone reaching seems to be a task for only the most dedicated and skillful players. I wouldn't be surprised if the design team was laughing uproariously while mapping out this constant increase in difficulty.

Let us warn you that difficulty is what you're in for. In spirit Ziggurat is an embodiment of an 80s arcade cabinet designed to steal your money under the guise of an engaging game that's quick to get the hang of. Luckily there's only a one time fee here so only your ego gets bruised while your wallet gets left alone. If you feel up to the challenge, give this one a play.


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