Ziro Game Review by Tim Peters
Game Rating = 4/5 Balls
Kokakiki’s Ziro is an ambitious puzzle game. Not only does it attempt to put a new twist on block-pushing games, it also pushes a very strong eco-friendly agenda with its eponymous ice block mascot. And for the most part, Ziro succeeds on both counts. While Ziro himself might remind veteran Simpsons fans of irritatingly out-of-touch mascot Poochie, the game itself is a wickedly clever puzzle game hampered by only a few irritating flaws.
The goal in Ziro is to slide matching dice next to each other and make them disappear. The twist is that putting two different dice together combines them into a new die, whose value is either added or subtracted from the old dice. This and other special blocks, with powers ranging from changing die values to teleporters and conveyor belts, make for fiendishly difficult puzzles. But they’re also frustrating, as annoyances like the lack of an undo button and slightly unresponsive controls will intimidate novice puzzlers. This is unfortunate, because the game is otherwise impossible to stop playing.
CREATIVITY & INNOVATION
The groundbreaking Sokoban might be the inspiration for Ziro, but the additions (literally, in this case) to the tried-and-true gameplay are what make this game so extraordinary. On top of that, Skill mode offers the best way yet to play through all 300 of the game’s levels, using bonus dice to add time or outright skip troublesome levels. Quest mode, by contrast, is a little lackluster, with the various locales serving only as backdrops rather than unique sets of puzzles. There’s also no way of knowing whether the next puzzle you play will be simple or a brain-buster. Again, a little accessibility for novices would go a long way.
Ziro’s graphics are good, though far from spectacular. The 3D graphics are slightly grainy, but clear enough to show everything relevant on the board. The text is also clear, but the in-game scoring font is too plain and looks nothing like the blocky yet distinctive main menu font.
The techno, jazz, and reggae tunes of Ziro tend to be a little too loud at times, but are still quite good. The pieces slide together with satisfying swishes and thwacks, while the rest of the sound effects are equally nice.
For $9.99, Ziro is a steal. Though lacking a bit in accessibility, it’s still an inventive twist on a decades-old concept. And the ecological undertones are subtle, so it doesn’t feel like you’re playing a Greenpeace commercial. Definitely try out Ziro if you’re looking for a cool brainteaser.
BUY THIS GAME IF…
– You’ve ever played Sokoban
– Math puzzles intrigue you
– You are looking for a challenging puzzle game
DO NOT BUY THIS GAME IF…
– You are new to puzzle games
– Wonky controls irritate you
– You would rather hear tips about saving the environment from a badly-dressed ice cube