Feb 24, 2012Featuring a pleasing aesthetic, simple-yet-satisfying touch controls and a soundtrack fit for rocking out at the end of the world Ziggurat is a breath of fresh air for the iGamer demanding an app that challenges.
The premise: You are the last human being at the end of the world. Alien freaks have annihilated everyone else so it's up to you to take one last stand and kill as many of them before they kill you. Standing atop a triangular mountain (hence the title, ziggurat) the player must fire their blaster to fend off waves of bad guys coming at them from either side.
To fire the gun you swipe a finger (or thumbs) across the bottom of the screen. The position of the finger determines how the gun is aimed. Moving to the center aims straight up while moving out to the edges lowers. You also determine the power of the shot depending on how long you hold your finger to the screen. Tap to produce little pellets that dribble down the side of the mountain, hold to produce charged up shots that fly further before succumbing to gravity's tug. Be aware though! Once a shot is fully charged there is only a split second to fire it off before it reverts to a slightly lesser, and therefore slightly less powerful, shot. Aim for the eyes to cause explosions. Chain explosions to cause more explosions.
Enemy types come in about a dozen different flavors. Standard enemies make slow, big leaps up the mountain while others walk up or jump up to either side before dive-bombing. The longer you survive the more enemy types get introduced and the more complex and hectic the game gets.
There is in fact an ending to the story of the last human on earth at the end of the world. The question is, do YOU have what it takes to survive the onslaught of alien freaks long enough to see it?
Conclusion: Quite possibly the perfect iDevice game. Easy to learn, difficult to master. There are a lot worse ways you could spend a dollar.… Expand
Feb 24, 2012If you put Ziggurat on an iPad and mounted it in a full size arcade cabinet, you would have two things by the end of the month: a sweaty, half-busted iPad, and a million dollars. In a year, you would have kick-started a second arcade golden age, and single-handedly caused a national quarter shortage. Unfortunately for you, anyone can buy Ziggurat for one cent less than four quarters (plus tax).
It plays like the culmination of arcade game design, built from the ground up for analog input. (I could only imagine this game being played with a touchscreen or a dial, a la Arkanoid.) You stand atop a Ziggurat, as endless alien hordes bound up the sides in ever-increasing numbers. By sliding your finger along the bottom of the screen, you both aim and charge your gun, which fires upon release. This alone would be a satisfactory 99-cent experience, but the difficulty ramps up in such a way that there are eventually more problems than bullets alone can solve. Enemies' heads swell and contract--by hitting enemies with swollen heads, they burst, causing a chain explosion with any enemies caught in the blast. Frantic shooting eventually gives way to frantic decision making, as you prioritize every enemy on-screen and pick the RIGHT ones to shoot at any given moment.
Coupled with this design is a "soft" narrative progression, much in the vein of older NES games like Zelda or Metroid. As you play, the music shifts in tone while the sun sets behind you. Nothing is explicitly stated, outside of your score, but as you get further and further, you get to see a little bit more of the world's end on the horizon. To say so much in so few words is something of a lost art in game design--I appreciate seeing it here, and hope more games in the future act on the "less is more" philosophy of story-telling.
This game would have eaten quarters without remorse, but can be bought for a mere dollar. Get it!… Expand
Feb 24, 2012ZiGGURAT is my new reason for staying up hours after I've decided to sleep. Combined with the excellent music and visuals there's a real sense of progression - something I don't feel all the time when I'm playing other games considered as an "endless" game.
Feb 24, 2012This is the best game on iOS and you should stop reading this and go buy it right now. Are you still here? Okay, well here's WHY it's the best game on iOS. First of all, the surface level is great. The graphics look just like an awesome SNES game, and the main character's design is very memorable. Parallax scrolling clouds roll in the background, and the explosions are simply marvelous. The music is amazing, featuring a single long chiptune track with many variations on a simple theme. An extra cool thing about the music is that since the track is like 6 minutes long and constantly transforming, you can tell how well you're doing by just listening to what part of the song you're at! And the better you get, the more wonderful music you get to hear!
The meat of the game is, however, its excellent mechanics. As you've probably gathered already from other reviews or the description, you stand atop a ziggurat, above the clouds. Swipe your finger along the clouds at the bottom of the screen (anywhere, actually, but at the bottom you're not blocking anything) to aim your gun, hold to charge, and release to BLAST the BASTARDS. Your gun loses charge after gaining it, so timing is key. The aliens' heads grow bigger and smaller; shoot the head when it's big to make a big explosion. The key to the game is well timed shots of big bullets to big heads. The controls are RIDICULOUSLY intuitive. In a short amount of time you'll be shooting in all sorts of trajectories with great accuracy, so the game becomes much more about strategy and properly managing this horde of enemies than whether or not you can make a shot. The game is completely fair. No matter how overwhelmed you may get, all it takes is a few well-timed shots to nearly clear the whole screen again. Of course, this is hard when you're freaking out because of all the ALIEN FREAKS. You have to CONCENTRATE, CONCENTRATE, CONCENTRATE in order to improve, and when you get a new high score you know it was all your doing, not random luck or levelling up stats.
The final super cool thing about this game is that it is, as its description states, an "endless game with an ending." What this means is that, as you fight on, the world is changing around you. The sun sets, the moon rises, the sky turns epic, and... well, I don't know what happens next. Evidently the "universe ends" in one way or another. But I'm not there yet. My high score right now is 354, and evidently it takes around 600 to get to the "end" of the game. But after the game ends (in other words, after all the cool stuff in the background is over and the music has played all the way through), you can still keep playing! I don't know how long I'll be playing this game (I don't have an iPhone; I have to borrow my roommate's), but I know I at least HAVE to get to the "ending."
Have I not convinced you yet? It's a dollar, person! Buy it! It's amazing!… Expand
Feb 24, 2012The experience starts as soon as you tap the gold Z on your iPhone's display. Company logos fade in and out, accompanied by the low, booming bass. A sea of clouds appears, piercing synth cascade from your earphones, and from underneath erupts the word you'll see in your sleep for the rest of your life, embossed in giant, golden letters: ZIGGURAT. It glows radiantly, a shining beacon of hope amidst a sea of depressing grey. You want to touch it, more than anything you have ever wanted to touch. You touch it.
With a thunderous boom, a black silhouette on red appears. A single figure atop a massive mountain. With another boom the picture fills with colour, with life. Clouds stream by the base of the mountain, and others in the distance. The sun beams down and slowly makes its way to the horizon. The figure's hair waves in the wind, the light of the sun glinting off of the sizable gun in its arms. This figure is you. In this one image, you know all you need to know: this is your mountain. Your stand. Your ZIGGURAT. You will defend it until your last breath. In a few more seconds, you see who you will defend it from.
Aliens. Monsters. Freaks. Bizarre horrors with skeletal bodies and massive, pulsating eyes come bounding up the sides of the mountain. They claw frantically at any handholds they can find and propel themselves fiercely into the air. They fire things at you; they move slowly, but you know that will only take one to end you. The freaks move closer; they move slowly, but you know the pain will be unimaginable should they get to you. When they get to you.
At this point, you know you are going to die.
You pull the trigger on your weapon. It hums rhythmically as a glowing green orb emerges from the firing end. It grows larger and larger and spins more frantically with each passing millisecond. You aim the weapon at the closest beast to you and release the trigger. The orb flies off in an arcing trajectory, spinning wildly, sailing over your target. You missed, and the beast draws even closer. You pull the trigger again, and another orb grows from the weapon. Once again, you take aim and wait for the orb to mature.You begin the feel the right moment to release, deep inside. You fire. This time, you don't miss.
The orb detonates on impact, vaporizing the creature you were aiming for along with two, maybe three others who were unfortunate enough to be close by. More take their place. They begin to vary. White ones, huge ones, yellow, orange, red - all of them different, yet all of them the same. They want you. They want you dead.
You are going to die.
You pull the trigger, aim, and fire. Again, and again, and again. They won't stop coming. You won't stop firing. The sun sets, and the world - perhaps even the universe - begins to end. They won't stop coming. You won't stop firing.
You'll falter eventually. One will get close enough to tear you limb from limb. A stray shot will pierce your defenses and turn you to dust. But regardless of the many ways it can and will happen, one thing is certain: your scream will be loud and long, piercing the heavens. Echoing through eternity as the last remnant of an entire race.
You aim. You fire. You kill. You die.
This is your last stand. Our last stand.
This is the end.
This is ZIGGURAT.… Expand
Feb 27, 2012You might remember a time in some video game you've played where the game had managed to figure out your maximum skill output and forced you to keep yourself there, hovering just a hair's breadth from impossible, and the concentration required to keep going forced you to empty your mind, forget who are or that you even exist. Maybe that time was during the last level of Half-Life 2: Episode 2, or some Zen mind-state you conjured in a Halo match, or the Destroy Them All level of Gunstar Heroes. Whatever it was, whether you succeeded or failed, when you snapped out of it your heart was probably pounding like you had been running flat-out for 5 minutes. Maybe you had an adrenaline rush, maybe you had to stop for a bit and lie down. Wouldn't it be cool to experience that again?
It turns out There's An App For That. The app is a game called Ziggurat. Ziggurat wants you to feel like that all the time, it is precision-engineered by mad scientists to put you in that state of mind every time you play. Unlike some other iOS games it never goes too far, it never makes itself impossible. It gently lowers you over the edge of a cliff but never pushes you, it's up to you to never let go. It never distracts you from what you're there for, either. All the achievements are things you want to do anyway. There are no unlockables or coin shops or micro-transactions. The only progression is feeling that bicep between your ears bulge and swell as your skills improve, your repertoire of tactics and tricks growing as you discover the game's intricate nuances, and the light fading in the background as you press on.
Ziggurat is the best one dollar you will spend this year, if not ever.… Expand