0 Day Attack On Earth Review (XBLA)

Posted by Jim Cook, Jan 06, 2010 23:07

A top-down view, dual-stick shooter usually makes for a good staple game. They’re easy to learn and usually have good controls, and 0 Day Attack on Earth definitely satisfies both criteria. It is simple in design and certainly unambitious, settling for giving you a different perspective on old-school shooting games. This would be absolutely fine if it was priced accordingly, but it’s not. At 1200 Points/$15, this shooter has no serious flaws in its content but doesn’t excel or offer enough content to justify its cost.

0 Day does start off with a good and basic design, letting you control any of a few different planes from a top-down view while you weave through alien hordes attacking various major cities. One analog stick moves your ship, the other fires in the direction you point, and the bumpers serve as a turbo boost and emergency bomb attack, so it’s very easy to get into the game. All you have to do is make your way through the waves of enemies, take out the larger threats (many of which seem very inspired by War of the Worlds), and avoid being hit too many times. Succeed in doing this across several stages, and you eventually get to a boss fight before repeating the cycle. Simple as it is, the game is actually decent and enjoyable.

Since it’s a pretty simple shooter, 0 Day will have to succeed on the strength of its game play. And while it is decent, it is nothing revolutionary or truly excellent. This is partially due to the very repetitive nature of each set of levels which are only broken up by some admittedly very enjoyable boss fights, but it’s also due to the game’s multiplayer structure. If played alone, you’re joined by a few AI-controlled planes, and they are just short of useless. While they do contribute a little firepower against bigger enemies, they tend to ignore smaller (but easily more dangerous) threats, fly into storm clouds that destroy them, ram into large enemies until their plane is destroyed, and so on. Even better, some aliens can latch onto your plane and slowly drain your health, while also leaving you completely unable to fire or shake them off; you’re helpless. The AI will completely ignore this and let you die, every single time. That’s terrible AI design, and it does hurt what is otherwise a decent single player experience.

If the AI is terrible, that leaves multiplayer modes to really make this game shine. 0 Day offers three, all of which can only be played over Xbox Live. There is standard co-op, where humans will replace the near-useless AI planes. There are also versus modes consisting of capture the flag or control point play, which sound good in theory. The problem is that online play seems to be completely deserted; I tried several times over the last few days to find a game and didn’t run into a single person, not even reviewers from other publications who surely must be facing the same difficulty I was. This leaves me in the unfortunate position of being unable to try the multiplayer modes at all, and that’s a strike against this game.

Ultimately, 0 Day is decent at what it sets out to be; it’s a decent dual-stick shooter and has a real old-school feel to its play. But by pricing it at 1200 points, Square-Enix is stating this game can go toe to toe with the very best titles on the XBLA catalog and that’s simply not true; it holds its ground against various XBL Indie Games releases in the same genre. To put this in perspective: 0 Day is a decent dual-stick shooter at fifteen bucks, while "I Made a Game with Zombies" is a good dual-stick shooter for a dollar. With that in mind, while I have no problem with 0 Day as a game I can’t recommend it for purchase until its price is brought down to a more reasonable level.

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Our Rating for 0 Day Attack On Earth Review (XBLA)
4.0 Replay
The simple nature of the single-player campaign and the lack of an online community means you’ll be giving this a once-through at most.
6.0 Graphics
The main graphics look okay, and the level backgrounds are interesting if a little sterile.
7.5 Sound
The sound effects are satisfying, and the music suitably dramatic for fending off an alien invasion.
6.0 Gameplay
It has all the elements of a decent dual-stick shooter; plenty of enemies, good controls, and satisfying weapons. It is unambitious, but competent at what it sets out to do.
0.1 Multiplayer/Online Content
N/A; Unable to test online play due to apparently nobody playing this game on Xbox Live.
4.5 Overall
There is nothing wrong with 0 Day as a game, but it costs far more than comparable titles.

Rating: 0.0, votes: 0

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