Zero Zero Zero Zero review for PS Vita, PS4, Switch, Xbox One

Platform: PS Vita
Also on: PC, Switch, PS4, Xbox One
Publisher: Ratalaika Games
Developer: Alvarop Games
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: E10+

While I?ve played a lot of retro platformers, I don?t think I?ve played many that take the idea quite as far back as Zero Zero Zero Zero. Whereas most old school platformers look back to the NES and SNES for inspiration, Zero Zero Zero Zero takes things a step further, back to the earliest days of gaming.

This game looks like it came straight from the era of the Atari 2600 (if not earlier). It?s so spot on, Zero Zero Zero Zero it could?ve been slipped onto the Atari Flashback compilation and I wouldn?t have batted an eye. What?s more, even with these incredibly simple graphics — the developer describes them as ?1-bit? — the game is visually striking, though that may be entirely because there?s so little out there today that looks like it.

Mind you, as much as I?m a fan of this particular retro aesthetic, I?m less a fan of this retro gameplay. Even though the levels here are generally extremely short, lasting only a couple of seconds in some cases, they also tend to be insanely difficult. Not only is the hit detection ramped up so that if your little avatar comes within breathing distance of a spike you die, the challenge is compounded by some very floaty jumping. I could see some people embracing the over-the-top difficulty, but it didn?t do much for me.

I?d also be remiss if I didn?t mention Zero Zero Zero Zero?s fantastic score. It?s all dark and twitchy and minimalistic, and even though its modernity stands in stark contrast to everything else here, the juxtaposition works incredibly well.

In fact, the whole thing works incredibly well. Zero Zero Zero is about as niche as it gets, but if you?re into that particular niche, you should really enjoy it.

Ratalaika Games provided us with a Zero Zero Zero Zero code for review purposes.

Grade: B+