newest puzzler, Zapper, represents a look in the right direction, but
with absolutely no follow up. Players may be interested enough to hop
through the first few levels, but will soon find the only puzzle left is
why theyre still playing the game. This game simply lacks any real draw
or staying power thatll make you want to hang around till the end.
Wicked Cricket, which closely resembles the Frogger series, begins with
our hero, Zapper, discovering his little larval brother, Zipper, has
been spirited away by the evil Maggie the Magpie. Maggie is a bit of a
packrat. She steals stuff from all over the world and replaces it with a
vulture egg--not exactly an even trade. Leaving those eggs is more than
bad taste, though. By placing her eggs everywhere Maggie hopes to have
her henchbirds thieving for her across the land. Needless to say Zapper
enjoys his brothers company much more than his newly acquired vulture
egg so he sets out to rescue little Zipper. To do this he must traverse
18 levels of puzzle action.
to a new level Zapper has to find six vulture eggs scattered throughout
each level and squash them before they can hatch. He wont be going it
alone, though, as several of his cricket friends are on hand to give
clues along the way. Zapper will receive further aide by freeing
fireflies that will lead him to nearby eggs. If he frees enough
fireflies theyll gather together and provide our hero with a
"super-zap" that can break special containers or defeat tough foes. Also
thrown in are secret areas in each level. Those areas are most easily
accessible by exploring out-of-the way places like a hollow log or open
visuals are its strongest card. The environments are colorful and well
represented in the spirit of this games cartoon nature. The special
effects such as Zappers electrified antenna are pulled off nicely.
Though the game is viewed principally from a third person, birds eye
view, Zapper throws in some mild 3-D elements as well. Still, though,
while the graphics are attractive, they lack any solid detail. The
levels are a varied in appearance, at least, which helps to soften the
blow of impending boredom.
a decent amount moves at his disposal during the course of his
adventures. Tapping the X button results in a "super jump," which comes
in handy when those eggs are up high. Holding the square button also
helps Zapper find elusive eggs by pointing his antenna in the direction
of the closest one. One odd feature is the need to push the forward
button repeatedly to make Zapper move. Each time you push a directional
button Zapper will hop one block in that direction. Understandably this
comes in handy when making precision maneuvers, but once youve pushed
forward about 200 times to make it through one level youll begin to
care less and less about the logic behind this control decision.
Jrish feel of this game shines through in its music as well. The music
is just too goofy and quickly becomes irritating. Zappers high-strung
voice is also a source of irritation, which youll hear regularly. After
half an hour youll be reaching for the mute button.
story mode, Zapper offers an arcade mode and a multiplayer option. The
arcade mode lets you revisit the levels youve completed and allows you
to time yourself to see how quickly you can succeed. The multiplayer
mode adds to the games appeal somewhat with five different games. They
range from Zipperball, where opponents try to toss little Zipper into a
goal to a regular death match. One interesting feature is that you can
customize your own multiplayer game manipulating the rules of the
already existing games like time limits and scoring. This way you can at
least fix some of the things you found irritating.
Zapper is a
very straightforward puzzle game lacking many extras. With attractive
visuals, this game will probably draw fans of the genre. The lackluster
gameplay will not be able to hold them, though. Zapper just runs out of
steam. It couldve shaped up to be a decent title. Unfortunately, that
potential was never fully realized. Unless youre starving for a new
puzzler, I find it very hard to recommend this title to anyone.