Metascore
77

Generally favorable reviews - based on 41 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 41
  2. Negative: 0 out of 41
  1. Zeno Clash is a sterling example of how to make a game. Graphics, sound and gameplay merge perfectly to make this more of an experience than just a game.
  2. Zeno Clash is a welcome game from the veteran mod team of ACE. We honestly can’t wait to see what this team can accomplish in the future, especially with their focus on creativity in design and game play.
  3. Zeno Clash is what a future cult favourite looks like. With a wickedly brutal melee engine, and some jaw-dropping visual design, this gorgeously demented indie brawler is short but sweet.
  4. A combination of exciting, refreshing gameplay and the incredibly outlandish setting and characters really make Zeno Clash a standout game.
  5. A game with solid enough gameplay carried to a higher level by its aesthetic appeal and novel world design, this is a great game for people looking for true originality in gaming.
  6. The game treads on unfamiliar territory yet is fun. ACE Team bring us some more exploration, maybe some puzzles and varied challenges with more achievements in the sequel. Check it out!
  7. Zeno Clash is an atypical budget game, it's absolutely a good game with beautiful visuals and above all is very amusing to play. His close quarter combat system is so well devised that makes you scream I want more! after the game over screen.
  8. 84
    Zeno Clash sticks with you long after you play it, and that's a compliment many games aspire to have associated with them.
  9. A completely welcome contrast to anything you've ever played, supported by the most intense first-person fisticuffs we've seen in a game. [July 2009, p.78]
  10. Overall, I smell Hexen, I’m sniffing Undying and there’s a distinctive scent of The Time Machine, with the one note that Zeno Clash is very, very far away from the potential it could reach.
  11. This is melee done right, set in an astonishing world, brimming with imagination. [July 2009, p.101]
  12. A fantastically involving and solid fighting game, enhanced by being set in one of the most imaginative and beautiful universes in the medium.
  13. It might not be the longest or most polished game you'll ever play, but for half the cost of a regular PC release, you'll be treated to more charm, ingenuity and bravery than most full-price releases can muster. [July 2009, p.128]
  14. Not since Escape from Butcher Bay have I see melee combat so superbly integrated into a first-person game, and so it's clear that ACE Team has put their heart and soul into bringing Zeno Clash to life.
  15. A rare and gripping indy experience that pulls no punches.
  16. And now for something completely different... Unique fiction is really distinctive unlike the rest of games production. If you want to try an original action game, Zeno Clash will be your favorite. [May 2009]
  17. Zeno Clash is not very long, but it also ain't easy, which makes it perfect to unload some adrenaline without sacrificing a good plot.
  18. Zeno Clash is not just a fantastic beat 'em up from a first-person perspective, it also delivers one of the most unique and attractive worlds you'll ever experience. The great action, controls and graphical design makes up for the pretty standard story and voice acting. I mean, who doesn't love a hermaphroditic giant man-bird?
  19. The bizarre and unique world of Zenozoik separates Zeno Clash from so many other games that some minor faults still make it worth checking out. It doesn’t hurt that the mechanics of combat are excellent and stand out on their own.
  20. Zeno Clash takes you to a totally different world. I promise you, you've never seen something like that before. Bizarre, unique, weird – but it makes a lot of fun.
  21. If you're a fan of first-person action and truly offbeat, unpredictable games, head to your nearest Steam client and check this one out. I'd love to see what ACE Team can do with a bigger budget next time around.
  22. The game might not be worth the purchase for those that aren't terribly interested in first-person melee combat, but for anyone that's looking for that - or at the very least an imaginative, slightly crazy game world to beat people up in - then this is a fine choice to make.
  23. Outstanding visual design, a unique fantasy setting and intense first person combat are reason enough to pick up this exceptional action game. I only wished there was some kind of exploration and puzzle elements to it. And if the short play time of about 5 hours turns you off, think of the fair price - it is a pretty good deal after all.
  24. Other than a rubbish level in which you twat statues on the head with a stick you won't find many more issues. [Aug 2009, p.70]
  25. A bizarre, original and often compelling first-person action adventure - Zeno Clash is worth a crack. [July 2009, p.94]
  26. Simple at the beginning, and darn hair ripping harder near the end. But a odd breath of originality in a predictable land scape of first person games, well worth a go especially for the price of admission.
  27. Zeno Clash demonstrates why often the most Bizarre projects can only be developed by independent companies. No “major” could ever do something like this, and that’s because we are talking about one of the most suggestive and atypical titles of recent times.
  28. 73
    You'll either love it or hate it. If you can let the bizarre world and characters entice you, you will get your money's worth. Its flawed gameplay will annoy most people though. If you're open-minded, you might appreciate this unique experience. Try out the demo and decide for yourself if you want to purchase this decently-priced game.
  29. It's more complicated than it needs to be with the lock-on function of fighting enemies. It is an adventure, it is a fighter, it's a FPS - it is the Shamwow!
  30. Zeno Clash is a marvel, channeling yesterday’s hardcore brawlers whilst maintaining modern sensibilities.
  31. Zeno Clash is a very strange game with a lot of atmosphere. It's hard to describe how the game presents itself; you'll have to see it to understand it. Because of its modest price tag, this is definitely worth checking out for everyone who appreciates an action packed and strange experience or someone who is looking for something original. It's only a shame it's such a short experience.
  32. As I walk away from my review and Zeno Clash I’m left with the feeling that as an arcade game (albeit one with vastly superior graphics), something that you would chuck a few quarters at and play for a couple of hours and then not play again for several months, it would have been OK.
  33. While I would have liked to see a bit more emphasis on the melee combat and less on shooting, I think you’ll still find that most battles give you a bit of a rush and are enjoyable to play, particularly the unique boss battles.
  34. It’s a pleasant romp through a funky world that might be a touch too exotic for narrow-minded audiences, but the gameplay is entirely accessible. For a fresh world to vent your frustrations and fulfill your violent fantasies in, Zeno Clash is the way to go.
  35. Zeno Clash is not a perfect game, but it has got some qualities that will let you help to download that from Steam or Direct2Drive. It is essentially hybrid, between FPS and Beat'em up. The visual aspect is impressive and the story is well built. The system control is defective and the game is short, so we can't suggest you to buy it blind, but to try the demo and make your choice.
  36. Despite the initial weirdness and a few flaws, Zeno Clash is a unique take on first-person fighting that anyone with an open mind will likely enjoy.
  37. Zeno Clash offers a really good combat system, good AI and a real innovative design. But instead of seeing more of the world, you're back in the arena after taking a few steps. The story raises more questions than it answers. In the end, it's just a few hours of mandatory boxing.
  38. Zeno Clash is surreal and relentlessly bizarre, but sheer weirdness takes this first-person brawler only so far.
  39. It's for people who are looking for a rudimentary exercise in radical thought and hobbled game design. If that's you, then you'll love Zeno Clash.
  40. Crazy-looking landscapes, unusual color combinations and grotesque characters fill the odd world of Zenozoic. All this stuff could have made for a cool screen saver. Unfortunately, they crammed it into an action title. The result is a short, sluggish, boring game which loves to show off its novelty instead of entertaining the player.
  41. A brilliant brawler buried in a mediocre shooter.
User Score
8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 261 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 48 out of 71
  2. Negative: 12 out of 71
  1. Dec 10, 2012
    10
    Awesome game, nice graphics, animation, combat and history. The only Flaw is that its too short, but hey, it was made by a small developer who just proved its potential and its already making Zeno Clash 2, that will have n open world and RPG elements. Its a great buy for its price!! Full Review »
  2. Jan 8, 2011
    4
    This game was so promising, but in the end it turned out to be a massive waste of potential. It feels like there's a much bigger game in this, but for whatever reason the bulk of it was cut and never saw the light of day. The story makes no sense, and not because it's bizarre, but rather because it's missing large chunks. Like the ending. Instead, it's padded with what I assume was intended to be "weird" and "atmospheric" but just ends up being redundant and irrelevant.

    Other people praise it for its gameplay, which is just about mediocre, but a game with this much potential should not have been written so poorly and ineptly. The characters are flat, boring and uninspired. Every single line of dialogue that comes out of their mouths is exposition, every single action they take serves as a plot point. None of the named characters have any personality whatsoever. This doesn't make them weird. It makes them badly written.

    Visually, the game fails to deliver. There are several interesting set pieces, such as a beached whale and large walking things, but if you've seen a trailer, you've seen them all. Beyond that, it's essentially Heart of Darkness meets Another World. If you're looking for a "weird" setting and story, try either of those. Both are better written and more fun to play.

    The combat is clunky, stiff, limited and very, very repetitive to the point of boredom. If you've fought one large enemy, you've fought them all. If you've fought one humanoid enemy, you've fought them all. Even Father-Mother isn't all that distinct. Weapons are slow, cumbersome and largely useless anyway, making the achievement for not using any a no-brainer. It's an interesting idea, to be sure, but it's so cumbersome it just doesn't work. If you want a game that mixes weapons and and hand-to-hand combat, try Bungie's Oni. This is just slow.

    The only reason I don't give this title the lowest score I can is because I can appreciate the effort and I can appreciate the innovation. There really is a very good, very interesting game buried somewhere in Zeno Clash, but Zeno Clash itself ain't it. Contrary to people's opinions, I feel this would have been best served as a big-budget studio title, as they would have been able to spring for a decent writer, talented voice actors and actually a complete game that isn't padded to extremes and still far too short while missing any real depth.

    Zeno Clash should have been more than Cadillacs and Dinosaurs, and it just isn't.
    Full Review »
  3. kylebj
    May 5, 2009
    4
    WEIRD does not equal GOOD. You fight the controls in this game more than the characters. It's got a completely unnecessary lock-on function that will have you cursing in frustration when it won't allow you to move how you want. LONG parts of the game are boring and unchallenging (the river part, WTF?). It's also very repetitive--no real puzzles, just the same fighting scheme with more characters added to increase difficulty. The voice acting is also very bad, even by indie game standards. It does have some unique characters I won't forget soon. Full Review »