No matter the era you live in, the secrets that the future holds are both worrying and intriguing. In the 80s we perceived our future selves as wiser beings who flew in hover cars and are healthier beyond measure. These ideas helped to form the plots for many much-loved films and video games. Nuke Zone takes inspiration from these titles with its destructive neon-filled robotic outlook.
Developed and published by Blue Wizard Digital, this is a sharp, vibrant strategy shooter title. You control a lone tank that must drive through danger-filled tunnels. You must fight wave after wave of robotic foes, collecting Nukonium while trying to survive for as long as possible.
Nuke Zone is still in development.
Blue Wizard Digital kindly provided me with a demo key to give you this first look impression. Nuke Zone is currently a work in progress, so my one level taster gave me an idea of what we can come to expect. At this stage the gameplay is limited and the developers plan to add a lot more content. So with this being said, let’s look at what I saw, and then I’ll discuss the missing elements.
You are instantly struck by crisp lines and a Tron inspired look. The neon hues and symmetrical shapes make this a wonderfully retro title. Your weapons fire a trail of glowing lights and your enemies explode, leaving a fading pixelated cloud. It’s beautifully stylised and will capture arcade fan’s eyes immediately.
Another key feature is the synth-wave audio that pumps out banging beats in the background. The electronic sound was a true delight to listen to, and I was amazed at how well balanced it was. It’s loud enough to catch your attention, but it doesn’t overpower the glorious laser and explosive sound effects. The graphics and sound work in perfect harmony, helping to create an old-school title that pulls at those nostalgia loving heartstrings.
Dexterity and limited use of weapons.
The action quickly becomes fast-paced and unbelievably hectic. It fuses tank driving, warfare, and tower defence under its arcade umbrella. This eclectic mix of genres complements one another, but your success will be measured by your dexterity as a gamer. Your nimble tank can strafe, dodge, boost, and turn on a sixpence. It really is a delight to control, and this is helped by the simple combination of mouse and keyboard inputs.
What isn’t so simple, however, is judging your use of each weapon. The demo allows you to use; rockets, lasers and an EMP. Each has a cooldown system that prevents you from spamming the attack button. When all hell breaks loose, it was easy to lose your head and burn out your guns. Doing this was a big mistake and left you open to failure. I loved this strategic approach even if it made the gameplay considerably harder.
The weapons were wonderful and left me dying to know what the developers had planned. The balance of agility to power was just right. If they continue in this vein, they will have both a challenging, varied and enjoyable game on their hands.
What does the future hold for Nuke Zone?
Currently, this is a great addition to the indie genre, but it needs more meat on the bone. So, what does that look like? A deep and interesting story that grabs you and drives you forward. Tank customisation and the chance to alter abilities. Purchasing of new weapons with your Nukonium. A varying difficulty, including a hardcore mode. Random item collection and inventory system. Level and objective selection. And finally, new musical elements that bring the world to life.
Nuke Zone’s view of the future is bleak and damning! But its own prospects are as bright as its neon colour scheme. The demo was fantastic, addictive, and left me wanting more. It was the tip of the iceberg and I can’t wait to see this evolve. A demo is available, so give it a go here! (Demo available from June 16th 2021.)
It’s a massive thumbs up from me. The 80s inspired aesthetic, wonderfully sharp lines, and vivid colours make this great to look at. Challenging enemies and fast-paced gameplay make this an addictive arcade title worth giving a go.
(Reviewed on PC. Currently in development so gameplay may differ on release.)