Many games go through development under a heavy veil of secrecy, only showing a few screenshots here and there with the occasional perfectly-tuned video to back it up. There’s a good reason for this, because so often the images and screenshots are the best possible representation of a work-in-progress that could fall over when looked at funny while features and mechanics are inserted, tested, tweaked, or even removed entirely. Ex-Zodiac, on the other hand, knows exactly what it wants to be and has had a demo available for a couple months now to show off its completely un-subtle SNES-era Star Fox roots. Since then the game has gotten a decent amount of attention, a publisher, and as of today a Kickstarter.
The Sanzaru star system is home to the Zodiac crew, a group of space-terrorists who’ve adopted mechs in the form of the signs of the zodiac, despite the star formations only existing on Earth due to a perspective on the sky that would be completely nonexistent a few star systems over. Still, they’ve got a swarm of robots in all shapes and sizes plus giant boss-mechs, so there’s really no questioning the group’s theme. Kyuu is a fighter pilot with a mission to stop Zodiac from whatever their evil scheme may be, piloting a nimble craft that’s as handy in space as it is in the atmosphere. It flies in a straight line down a predefined corridor, and if you’ve played Star Fox you know the drill. Shoot all the enemies with lasers or lock-on missiles, keep an eye out for scenery that’s more than happy to be right in the way even if it means falling on you, and decimate each level’s unique end-boss by destroying it piece by piece. It’s a system that works, and while it’s hard to say why Nintendo doesn’t think that’s good enough there’s no reason someone else can’t pick up the torch.
Ex-Zodiac is live on Kickstarter as of today and will easily clear its funding goal, probably overnight. The original demo has also been updated with a new two-level version, showing off the original city level plus a new ice world, while also adding features such as sharp rendering on its low-poly models or sticking with the original 480i-styled resolution. More than a retro-trip, it’s shaping up to be a great shooter in its own right, so give the demo a spin and save at least a couple of planets of the Sanzaru system from the Zodiac’s control. Or at least give the campaign video below a watch.