Let's make this clear right off the bat - Zodiac XX might be the coolest thing I've ever seen. Breaking from beneath the waves earlier this week, Virtuoso Neomedia's latest creation is a hot-as-hell anime dogfighter that follows a band of gorgeous cel-shaded studs as they wreck megacorporations under the sea in slick-as-hell watercraft. It's pure arcade bliss, and it's out now - assuming you've got a Humble subscription.
Zodiac XX comes from the chrome-blasted desk of Virtuoso Neomedia, developer Ethan Redd's outfit for crafting stunning homages to Dreamcast and arcade sensibilities. While I still long for Blazing Legion: Ignition's long-absent mech spectacle, Zodiac XX brought plenty of that game's flair out of the blue with a surprise release on Friday.
What you've got, then, is an arcade dogfighter in the same vein as House Of The Dying Sun or Ace Combat 7. But where those games put you at the helm of a jetplace or starfighter, here you've got high tech submarines. Styled somewhere between an F-35 and the hovercars from WipEout, these are functionally the same as any other fighter plane but come with the option of dolphin-jumping above the surface to take on aerial nasties.
The key here is that every inch of Zodiac is laser-focussed to make you feel like the hottest shit. Sleek watercraft with overdesigned interfaces burst over the waves, hurling swarms of missiles against a Sega-blue sky as 90s Anime rock blasts into your ears (courtesy of 2 Mello, Skybridge and Myrone). Your crew is the sexiest rag-tag band of pilots around, chosen under spotlight and breaking into a full-speed sprint with you on selection.
Annoyingly, Zodiac XX doesn't yet support mouse and keyboard controls. There's also that extra rub over its availability solely through the Humble Trove - access to which is granted via a minimum $3.99 subscription to Humble Choice. But if you've got a gamepad kicking around and don't mind putting a few quid into a Humble sub, I'd deffo recommend jumping behind the controls of this stunning machine.