The game demo I am reviewing today is Zero Gears created by NimbleBit and hosted online using the Steam download service. I have been a Steam user for many years because of the amazing HalfLife series of games a long with spin offs. This is a budget priced game that goes for $14.99 on Steam. This is an online only multiplayer kart racing game in the same vein as Mario Kart.
In fact you will find it looks very similar to the Mario Kart franchise. It is relative low on the system requirements as well. Listed below are the system requirements from the steam web page for Zero Gears.
- OS: Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7
- Processor: 2.0 GHz CPU
- Memory: 1 GB RAM
- Graphics: Shader Model 2.0 capable
- DirectX®: DirectX 9.0c
- Hard Drive: 500 Mb free space
- Controller Support: Yes
- Other Requirements: Broadband connection and service required for multiplayer connectivity
I own a pretty decent gaming computer with a graphics card pretty old but this had no problem on it. This will not push your system at all, don’t let the flashy characters fool you this is about Nintendo 64 quality graphics with a few higher end touches thrown in. The graphics are very cartoon like and I did not find that much in terms of variety between the objects and landscapes. Sure the worlds are different but they feature the pretty much same flat track design. There are some cool ways in which you can customize your character however and it might even be worth it to check that out because a lot can be said about the racing. But besides that it’s about as generic as a generic as a Ben Affleck movie.
The gameplay is online only so if you don’t like online gaming you should look for another game. There is a nice server list that clearly shows how many players are playing and what map they are playing on. I suspect that this game will die out in the near future and I believe the demo only lasts three days once you download it. I looked on the developer’s site and they are saying this week is free to play but I am not sure of the details of it.
That being said it’s very much like playing Mario Kart in style not in gameplay. There are the item boxes that give you power ups and most matches are standard kart races in which you have a set number of laps that you must try to get first in. There is also some mini-game/ stunt tracks such as a course that features jumps and loops. This track very much reminded me of the old Rush games on the Nintendo 64. You can drive your kart over the jumps and do some basic stunts but don’t expect SSX here.
Other modes I played were tag, skeeball, soccer, basket ball and golf. These are pretty simple in design and I saw nothing more than players just driving around running into each other. The gameplay modes were not that interesting and you are really only doing the same things over and over again. It would have been nice to see some environmental scripted events such as the pool balls rolling over the table in the house level. This is what the newer Mario Kart games do so well with not just having a simple racer but adding some things to avoid besides your friend Jimmy who just likes to race the opposite direction.
Well my experience playing the game has be so-so it’s a decent kart racer if you have never played another racer in your life. There are too many technical problems such as being dropped by the server when playing or just as you are about to win. Then when loading up other maps you will just keep on switching maps for no reason. Also there are tons of other bugs it feels unfinished like it could use about 6 more months in the oven. It sadly just feels like an independent game rather then something you want to spend $15 on. I can appreciate some of the details in the graphics but gameplay really falls short. The controls feel very loose and sketchy like the o-zone layer. You can free look when you are driving with your car to see if Jimmy is about to smash right into you but other than that there is the basic forward, reverse, turbo & jump.
This game demo really does not bring much to the table other then multiplayer. There is no story or animations it’s just racing pure and simple. It’s not making me want to rush out and buy the game so I would say pass on downloading this demo. If you wish to check out the game anyways head over to http://myzerogear.com/ Until next time keep on gaming.
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