War In 432Kb: A New Zero

Your cost-free indie curio of the day is a bravura work-in-progress from Alex Austin, the other half of the Gish team. Unlike the surreal ‘toonery of his and Edmumd McMillen’s joint projects, A New Zero is very much straight down the line. A simulation, almost. Austin cites the likes of TIE Fighter and Mechwarrior as inspirations, and they’re certainly there in the combat mechanics. As for the game as a whole, it’s got a definite scent of Battlefield and a dash of Battlezone to it. While there’s bot play in there if you’re scared of strangers, really it’s a team-based multiplayer game: two squads of planes, boats and bigger boats trying to wipe out each other and each other’s base.

Impressively, it’s all the work of Mister Austin on his lonesome. Doubly impressively, it’s only 432k big. Just one 10,000th the size of Left 4 Dead, as Austin points out – hell, it’s less than a 30th of a Peggle.

You’ll have spotted from the shot above that there’s not a lot of textures going on, and that’s because everything in the game is procedurally generated when it loads. The result is an oddly evocative brown and orange Tron-like landscape, but one containing some pretty sharp vehicle control modelling. Which is my way of saying “I’m rubbish at the planes.”

A New Zero’s merry blend of demanding precision and gigglesome screw-ups strikes me as the kind of thing a bunch of folk in our Steam group should hop onto to give it a thorough try out. Have community, will leverage…

Here’s a trailer, in case your mousing hand just fell off, leaving you physically incapable of clicking through to the game’s site. Again – 432k. Crivens.

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