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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

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Review: Zero Gunner 2 (Switch)

With all of the shoot ’em up games invading the Nintendo Switch eShop as of late, it can be exhausting to pick from them all. Fortunately, Zero Gunner 2 has made its mark on the console, and it provides some refreshing features to counter some of the more repetitive aspects of Zerodiv’s offerings. This Psikyo title was originally released in Japanese arcades and the Dreamcast in 2001. Don’t bother looking up the latter, though; let’s be honest – do you want to pay almost a couple hundred dollars for an import disc, or do you want to pay $7.99 for this Switch port? Decisions, decisions…


For the first time in Zerodiv’s Switch re-releases, Zero Gunner 2 sports a native widescreen resolution. To that, I say THANK YOU!! All the older games have their windows take up only a fraction of the screen, leaving for too much HUD space. While I understand they are all direct ports from their arcade heydays, the fact that Zero Gunner 2 has a widescreen display to begin with means that the entire screen can now be taken up like a normal video game! And what a great-looking game this is, too. Sure, the early 2000s 3D models can look a tad dated, but their details are fascinating and the game itself is slick, smooth, and energetic all around.


While the visuals differentiate plentifully from previous Psikyo releases, the audio is very familiar territory. By that, I mean I still don’t think that highly of the soundtrack. There are some cool “instruments” in the songs, but none of the melodies are memorable.


You know the deal at this point: Shoot, shoot, and move around to dodge the legions of bullets coming your way! Zero Gunner 2 is a several-level-long gauntlet with a variety of settings, mechanical monstrosities, and aircraft transforming into robotic death machines. What makes Zero Gunner 2 stand out from a gameplay perspective is your ability to aim in all 360 degrees. Alongside the weapon and score collectibles leaking from enemy explosions, the level layouts are primarily built around this mechanic. The result is a game that, while carrying Psikyo shooter traditions, feels fresh thanks to its additions.


Zero Gunner 2 is a sight for sore eyes for shooting fans that own a Switch. If you’ve yet to get any of the Psikyo shooters re-released on the console so far, this is a solid way to start. Given its arcade roots, it’ll be over in about an hour or so, but it’s quite enjoyable while it lasts.

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