Puzzle-platform games are two a penny these days. Indie developers are churning them out quicker than I can play them. Yet, when I get the chance, I’ll always give one a go. The casual gameplay and familiar mechanics make playing them an easy and enjoyable experience. 0 Degrees uses all the tried and tested mechanics and is a colourful yet simple indie title.
Developed by Nerd Games, Kiddo Dev, and Eastasiasoft Limited and published by the latter, this is a basic platform game that spans forty levels. Set in an icy world, you control a pixel hero who must traverse icy surfaces, leap chasms, and shoot ice blocks to overcome spiked traps. There is nothing complicated about this, and its lack of difficulty makes it accessible to gamers of all ages and ability.
0 Degrees won’t wow you with originality.
You’ll note the game lacks originality. Yes, the setting is fairly unique, but everything else is well established. This familiar style allowed me to jump into the action with little concern, and I flew through the opening stages with relative ease. As new elements were added, the difficulty increased slightly, and you had to create a plan that uses precision placement to avoid the traps you encounter.
As you advance, you must place blocks and create icy platforms. This was a well throughout element that needed an accurate approach. Each stage allowed for a maximum of five blocks, so wasting them was a major mistake. You had to study the level, and choose where to place each one. This became especially tricky when you had to create floating platforms. You had to time your shots to freeze each block, which wasn’t as simple as it sounds. You’d miss, waste a block and restart each stage repeatedly as you tried and failed for the nth time. It was frustrating, yet this small layer of difficulty was enough to keep you interested from beginning to end.
0 Degrees is probably not enough for hardcore gamers.
With the casual audience in mind, and trying to be as inclusive as possible 0 Degrees has alienated the hardcore fans of the genre. With no collectables to gather, this may be overlooked, and that’s a shame as its style is charming, and its ice mechanic is unique.
What I particularly enjoyed was the lack of friction when walking across each surface. Sliding around was both fun and dangerous. Your plans were constantly thwarted as you shuffled closer to the edge of each surface. One millimetre too far and you fell to your untimely death. It was maddening, especially when you were inches from the portal to the next level.
A fixed screen and pixel art.
The fixed screen 2D perspective worked well. Its restrictive nature allowed you to plan, and it was nice that there were no nasty surprises. Your character and the environment lacked detail, but this mattered not. as it was colourful enough to make it enjoyable to look at. The pixelated style wasn’t original, but it worked with the theme.
The chilled (pun intended) atmosphere was enhanced with a calm and slow-paced audio. The airy music matched the icy world the game is set in and added no sense of urgency. This mellow approach differed from many puzzle platform games I’ve played and I liked the serenity it created. It was oddly paired up with a basic selection of sound effects. Simple noises matched the actions and seemed strange when combined with the well thought out music.
A child could play it.
With few buttons to focus on, and straightforward level designs, a child could easily play 0 Degrees. This isn’t an insult, it’s more of a backhanded compliment. Not every game in the world has to be challenging to play, and the developers have focussed on making this as simple as possible. With responsive controls, a handy crosshair for aiming, and limited mechanics to master, you’ll be an expert at this in no time.
A lack of collectables and a quick playthrough reduces its replay value considerably. Luckily it is fun to play, and it’s inexpensive, so it shouldn’t be written off. The achievement list is unlocked through natural progression, and you’ll be awarded your 100% status in two hours or fewer.
0 Degrees limits its appeal.
With no additional game modes, and a straightforward approach, the traditional fanbase may be put off. 0 Degrees will appeal to gamers who wish to have an easy, and no fuss casual experience. I had fun with it and recommend you buy it here! Become an explorer, overcome traps and don’t slip on the ice.