May 4, 2011
Action games on the Android platform often suffer from one of two problems – either the controls interfere with their playability, or gameplay is made overly simple in order to compensate for potential control issues. Fortunately, ExZeus doesn’t suffer from either of those problems. Unfortunately, it suffers from a set of problems all its own.
In terms of presentation, ExZeus is easily the best looking and sounding Android game I’ve come across. Characters and environmental elements look great, and the music and sound effects received no less effort than the visuals. In short, this game is a treat for the senses.
The gameplay in ExZeus takes a little getting used to, but once you get a handle on it, it’s extremely enjoyable. You move your character around the screen by tilting the phone, and fire your weapon by tapping the screen. Aiming takes a little effort to master, but once you get the hang of it, ExZeus feels great. Speaking strictly to the gameplay, it does a great job of implementing the formula set forth by games like Space Harrier which clearly provided inspiration for ExZeus.
Unfortunately, the beautiful visuals and top notch gameplay are severely disrupted by some serious technical issues. The first time I ran the game, I had to try no less than ten times to get it to connect to the authentication servers to validate my license. I switched back and forth between my 3G connection, and a wifi connection multiple times, and eventually, the validation went through. I’ve never seen anything remotely like this in any other Android app, and it wasn’t the last time a technical frustration interfered with my enjoyment of the game.
Once the game was registered, and all the files were downloaded, the technical issues weren’t over. While playing ExZeus, it crashed on me multiple times, and on one occasion, it completely rebooted my phone. The crashes weren’t frequent enough to make the game unplayable, but they definitely provided an additional level of frustration.
ExZeus blends strong presentation with solid controls and gameplay to create a strong game. Unfortunately, the dash of technical issues mixed in really hurts the final product. It’s entirely likely that the game will perform differently on different phones, but without a free demo, it’s hard to recommend buying ExZeus given the possible technical hiccups you may face.