Publisher: Cinemax Games
ESRB: Not Rated
Bzzzt is a very good retro-influenced platformer.
Now, if you were to ask me where the exact line between “good” and “bad” retro-influenced platformer is located, I think I’d have trouble explaining that. For that matter, if you were to ask how to define it as “very good,” rather than merely “good,” that would also be hard to define. But there’s something about Bzzzt that makes it stand out in an incredibly crowded field.
It might be the tight controls. As you’d expect from a game in this genre, Bzzzt features some incredibly challenging levels (even if you play on the easiest difficulty), which means that you’ve generally got to be on your game if you want to beat them – and that goes double if you want to gather all the collectibles in each level. But the tiny robot at the heart of the game, ZX8000, moves with responsiveness and precision. It never feels like you’re fighting against Bzzzt’s controls, or like the game is being unreasonable in what it’s asking of you. It’s not hard to run and jump at a good clip through these levels, and that’s entirely because the game gets the controls right.
It also gets the level layout right, too. Every level is full of enemies and environmental hazards, but there’s a logic to all of them that’s almost intuitive. Like I wrote above, the difficulty is undeniably challenging, but you’ll almost always be able to see exactly where and why you went wrong, which is a credit to how well the game is put together and how well it treats players.
Bzzzt even finds a way to make its visuals look fresh and new. Pixel art and 16-bit-style graphics have been a thing for…well, seemingly forever, at this point, but so much care and attention went into making Bzzzt look great, it helps it stand out from the crowd.
Then again, everything about Bzzzt makes it stand out from the crowd. It’s a very fun old-school platformer that manages to stand out even in a very crowded genre, and it’s definitely worth picking up.
Cinemax Games provided us with a Bzzzt PC code for review purposes.