Zomp 3: The Quest for Z’s

Pro Tip: using “Z’s” in the title of your already tough-sale XBLIG is probably not a good idea.  Especially when the visuals for your game look like they belong in an advertisement for sleep medication.  Zomp 3 is the latest Lolo clone to hit the Xbox Live Indie Game scene.  It’s the fourth one I’ve tackled here at Indie Gamer Chick.  The previous three all rank in the top 30 on my Leaderboard as of this writing.  It’s weird, because Lolo as a franchise has been dead for twenty years.  Hell, Lolo can’t get any love from Nintendo these days, even though one of the main guys behind the series is now the fucking president of the company!  Pretty shitty that they’ve blue balled fans of the, ahem, blue ball.

Why is everyone so sleepy?

Why is everyone so sleepy?  Even the trees are on Ambien here.

Zomp 3 gets the spirit of Lolo right.  There’s 100 puzzles that are structured fairly similar.  Instead of collecting hearts, you collect Z’s.  Once you get all of the Z’s in a room, the door opens up.  Enemies are similar to Lolo too.  There’s guys who give chase, guys who pin you in, and guys that shoot and kill you if you cross in front of their line of sight.  The only real twist to the enemies formula is little slug things that don’t kill you directly, but if you cross their slime trail you pass away.  I don’t expect every game to tinker too much with the source material, but after Aesop’s Garden and Spy Leaks, this is a huge step backwards.

It’s still fun, and the puzzles are still clever, but it’s all bundled in a very ugly, very clunky package.  I try to avoid talking about bad graphics as long as they’re not detrimental towards gameplay.  Zomp 3 doesn’t fall into that category, but the graphics are pug-fuggly, to the point of being painful to look at.  Everything is very rudimentary looking.  On a platform like XBLIG, that is expected from time to time.  Still, maybe I’m just a little too in love with some of the previous games that aped Lolo.  Spyleaks looked amazing.  Aesop’s Garden looked like an NES game.  Even Crystal Hunters looked sort of cool.  Zomp looks cheap, rushed, and unfinished.  And some ideas that aimed to change-up the backdrops, like having stages underwater, just make it look like your TV blew a color tube.

This is one of the underwater levels I'm talking about.  All it did was make an ugly game uglier.  That's like adding a garage to your house by driving your car through your living room.

This is one of the underwater levels I’m talking about. All it did was make an ugly game uglier. That’s like adding a garage to your house by driving your car through your living room.

There’s also an issue with the controls, as in, they suck.  Every Lolo game has been a bit stiff on the controls, but Zomp 3 takes it to a new extreme.  Imagine playing a game like Lolo if Lolo controlled like Frogger.  It’s a comparison the developer reluctantly agreed with when I brought it up.  It doesn’t break the game by any means, but it will lead to cheap deaths and many moments of repetition.  XBLIG developers, you have got to work harder on controls.  People won’t quit out of a demo of a game because the graphics suck, especially if they’ve gone that far into the sampling process.  But if the controls are bad, they might.  And once they have, you’ve lost them forever.

I want to stress that I still really enjoyed Zomp.  It’s not easy on the eyes and it handles like shit, but there’s still a well designed game here.  It’s probably the easiest of the Lolo clones on XBLIG, and veterans of the series should be able to breeze past the 100 stages in a couple of hours.  But, it’s still a smart game.  The puzzles here are actually more accessible than some of the stuff I’ve dealt with on Indie Gamer Chick.  Some of the ones in Spy Leaks made me sit back and say “what kind of fucking egghead decided to make this instead of spending their time curing cancer?”  And puzzles in Gateways made me weep for the Nobel Prize that was lost by its creator.  No doubt something involving dimensional string theories.  That’s what I like about Zomp 3.  It has puzzles that anyone can solve without getting a headache, but still get a feeling of accomplishment.  For all its problems, talent is on display here.  I feel like I should take some kind of role as an XBLIG development match maker.  Pair the Zomp 3 guy with someone who can make better graphics, and hopefully the game will sell.  No, not one of the XBLIG boobie game guys.  I’m looking for a smart puzzler, not Titris.


xboxboxartZomp 3 was developed by Skelman Software

IGC_Approved80 Microsoft Points said the dude even looks like Lolo in the making of this review. 

Zomp 3 is Chick Approved and ranked on the Indie Gamer Chick LeaderboardFeel free to slam me for ranking four Lolo clones but ignoring City Tuesday.  You’re only strengthening my resolve. 

I was interviewed by Alexander Hinkley for the Examiner.  Click here to read my thoughts on XBLIGs, their future, and indie gaming in general.

About Indie Gamer Chick
Indie game reviews and editorials.

One Response to Zomp 3: The Quest for Z’s

  1. Pingback: Indie Links Round-Up: Catching Zs | The Indie Game Magazine - Indie Game Reviews, Previews, News & Downloads

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