Ok this one is as video gamey as they get: really gives that arcade feel. It reminds me of Geometry Wars but with a slight rhythm game twist. There’s really no fat on these bones: the game gets straight into the action, while still providing a quick means to customize your roguelike runs. You pick a weapon, pick an ability, then it’s off to the races. Temp Zero’s art style is very neon and minimalistic, with a rocking synthwave soundtrack that serves as the heartbeat of the game’s difficulty. The faster the song, the less room for error as you navigate hordes of abstract circles and squares.
Every few levels grants you an ability rogue-like style, but the options available are while effective, basically entirely discovered by your first few runs. That, however, isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but for those looking for Hades or Isaac-style synergies, things are much more streamlined here. That being said, I think the presentation is slick, and it does a great job of just letting you vibe to the music and reach that flow state. At its best, you really feel in tune with the game, gracefully weaving between enemies.
My favorite part of the game are the flashing death zones that sprinkle the screen, immediately limiting your movement options, and giving you an obstacle to juggle while dealing with your standard enemies. The game forces you to move around in the arena, giving you a few ticks before you have to get out of the area, else suffer damage. I think this entire system really helps get you in sync with the music and the level design as you skirt around using your dash or your skill. Honestly, this is the crux and counts for most of the appeal of the game. Like I said before, things are VERY streamlined, so outside of leveling up to unlock new weapons/spells or unlocking new faster songs that provide more challenge, there’s little else. I think the ease of entry of just getting into the game for a quick run, and then slowly mastering the different weapons and abilities makes for a very addictive snack food type game. It helps that the controls and action are generally really smooth and easy to keep track of.
There were very few times where I felt cheated or blindsided by what was going on-screen. I will say that some players may experience fatigue from level layouts and enemy variety making each run feel too samey. Though, I think the fact that each is about ten to fifteen minutes at most makes it really easy to binge runs of the game when you don’t feel like snacking on it.
Not much more to discuss here, if you’re into shoot-em-ups then this one has very little fluff and will provide exactly what you expect. I enjoy the music aspect, and I think it really helps cement Temp Zero’s space in the genre. It’s an easy recommendation for me, especially for the price point.
Temp Zero was developed and published by designer Alexandre Kadri and musician Paul Hebbinckuys.
Available on Steam for $4.99.
A review copy was provided by the devs.
Hellfirebam has awarded Temp Zero the Indie Gamer Seal of Approval.