Sev Zero is immediately fun and easy to master, doing a good job of introducing gamers to what Amazon Fire TV is all about; ease of use blended with hardcore features. This title starts off as a great introduction for any type of gamer and then brings them into a fully featured tower defense meets first person shooter bullet hell as it progresses from simple walker type aliens up to massive and powerful monsters that fight back.
After quickly ramping up the difficulty, the movement speed, and getting used to the game’s tele-porting system – Sev Zero becomes more and more interesting. The aliens of early stages you may have seen online in screenshots do not prepare you for the actuality of packs of varying unit types you’ll be encountering. Many of the enemies in this game have their own special moves that must be learned and avoided when you beam down into the Impact Suit. While they resemble very slow moving zombies at early stages, and using low / default difficulty settings, these steady attacks end up more like stampedes of varying foes that get tougher, stronger, and faster as players proceed through each wave.
Many memorable weapons with dead-on accuracy, hit detection, and no lag at all when interacting with leader-boards, unlockable progress on full completion being tracked on-screen and on-cloud through your GameCircle Achievements which is basically the Fire TV’s version of Trophies. If you die, your Impact Suit will be rebuilt. But if you allow the onslaught of alien units to deteriorate the shields and subsequently the energy core at the center of the conflict (which your partner is trying to disable to prevent alien invasion) then she can begin to get attacked and can potentially die.
Action-wise some unexpected elements include enemies using melee and projectiles requiring players to perform teleportation strafing techniques in their Impact Suit to avoid death as well as huge enemies that are very deadly and can also teleport-strafe. Strategically the enemies will sometimes attempt a flanking maneuver, but once you get really good at planning things out and picking tower / weapon timing – with little to no overlap in kills on foot versus tower mode, things start to get routine and you’re ready for the next round, next stage, and eventually the next difficulty setting.
A mixture of strategy and shooting like this has been tried in the game industry before, but never quite felt right. Going into Sev Zero I had predispositions about the combination of tower defense and first person shooters combining, but Amazon Game Studios has made me a believer. Some of the great guns you’ll use as well as the speed with which the pacing of the game moves (complete with fast forward option) are real strong points and I appreciate the attention to detail when it comes to gameplay mechanics, especially the ease of use for the user interface as well as the excellent hit detection and object collision detection which makes it easy to just focus on action, increasing skill, and then re-playing at higher difficulties once the game has been beaten. This game doesn’t use artificial difficulty or overpowered enemies to scale itself to a higher level either – which was great to discover. In Sev Zero, strategic problems can always be met with a combination of great, accurate shooting in first person mode combined with patient, calm, logic-based decisions made in the real-time defense mode.
Some of the best guns you’ll take control of in the game include the Grenade Launcher, my personal favorite – the Aistrike Gun that fires scathing projectiles that mark and paint the target for an Aistrike that hits while you’re still firing off darts, the Railgun which is also an excellent choice and has a powerful shot gun type of alternate mode with a precise headshot tool that delivers extreme damage. This one hurts them so bad the aliens start putting their hands up and covering their faces, but it won’t stop the rails from killing them. The primary weapon can also be selected between different modes such as Shotgun or Rifle mode. There are also more unlockable attachments beyond this. Every gun has a level and can be increased in power and attributes over time through gaining experience. Only a certain amount of guns can be taken out in a loadout (which is decided before starting the session). Beyond that, explosive canisters can change the entire tide of battle (and they don’t respawn so use them wisely), towers get attacked by tougher and tougher alien beings, and shields get targeted directly by some while others try to distract a player or destroy defense infrastructure. Some enemies are slow and hard to take down, others are agile and do lots of damage if not cleared out quickly. Enemies have an artificial intelligence that occurs in parallel evolution to the players taught strategy and tactics throughout the game.
After you’ve killed enough of a certain wave, you can choose to take a quick breath and upgrade / repair any broken towers or teleport around before starting the next one. However, if you’re feeling on top of your strategic game – to speed things up, you can just send in the next alien wave by hitting X when given the option and that’s without interrupting anything you were doing at that moment. This is a great choice of options and they are presented in a fluid, streamlined way. Somehow I get the sense that streamlined efficiency is at the core to Amazon’s strategy with Fire TV overall.
Towers that players will have access to in this game include the Mortar Tower which fires rockets, Slow Tower which slows enemy units down, Radiation Tower which causes enemy units to get diseased, and the Life Drain Tower which I pray to god does not exist and resembles a pink laser evaporating the souls and physical molecular structure of those who walk near it (except you)! There are also more standard and expected towers and the way these are used may not always be textbook. Thinking with an open mind and trying to work out what does or does not work is the only way to take the game to full completion, and in that sense it is a truly strategy-based title.
Second Screen abilities, excellent Game Controller support, and a well directed experience provide players with the full game they were promised. Thankfully, RGN takes Gameplay a lot more serious than the cinematic / story quality of a game. However, it did hurt the game a bit that we sometimes felt forcing ourselves to have interest in the plot even though the game itself was brilliant without it. Higher difficulties and full-on achievements / friends to compete with online with the Fire TV give this game a decent replay value though – so this makes up for it. Graphics left a little to be desired, but looked much better on the actual Fire TV unit than in trailers. The core values of strategic gameplay design exhibited by the developers of this game provide for a title that simply works.
We love Sev Zero, and we patiently await future releases from Amazon Game Studios. As we go run through the hundreds of other Fire TV games already available, take a look at the Official Sev Zero Trailer below and our RGN Rating score for the game overall.
Overall Score: 8.5 / 10
RGN Rating: Silver Game
Developer / Publisher: Amazon Game Studios
Review Copy Info: A digital copy of this game was provided to RealGamerNewz by the publisher for the purpose of this Review.