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Have You Played... Zeno Clash?

First-person face-punching

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Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

Bam! Bif! Pow! Thump! Ooh! Aah! Eee! Coo! ‘Eck! Thud!

Those are the sounds of Zeno Clash [official site], a gorgeous first-person beat ’em up from ACE Team.

Zeno Clash is a fairly straightforward beat ’em up, with kicks and punches in a few simple combos, along with blocks, dodging, counter-attacks and whatnot. Sprinkle some kinda sorta useful guns over the top and a few powerful but breakable melee weapons and… look, it’s fun. Zeno Clash is fun with the face-punching (and kicking, and hammersmashing etc.) but its main impact on me has been ruining most other fantasy settings.

As has apparently been a hallmark of ACE Team’s, Zeno Clash looks like nothing I’d played before. Zenozoik is a fantasy world in the sense that it’s made of wild dreams, rather than having elves and chainmail. I never knew what I’d see (or punch) next. A chap who wears a cauldron over his head and is driven to forever walk forwards no matter what? Sure. A blind assassin wearing a crab as a mask, who’ll attack me by strapping bombs to squirrels? Yeah, okay. A swamp land populated by sculpturemen of shrieking metal, a beached whale with a serrated face, four-breasted vole women, hulking slothmen… it is a game of many strange and pleasant surprises.

Zeno Clash traipses across a wild world to tell, ultimately, a small personal story about a man, his parent Father-Mother, and their family. It’s small, tidy, and personal – I dig it. Yeah, the dialogue and voice acting are a bit odd but… what isn’t in Zeno Clash?

Seriously though, everyone else: enough with the European castles and chainmail.

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Alice O'Connor

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When not writing news, Alice may be found in the sea.

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