Everyone was curious when Amazon decided to start their own gaming studio aptly named Amazon Game Studios. Their first title to appear on their Android based microconsole, the Amazon Fire TV is Sev Zero. Does this title make a killer debut on the new platform, or is there something left to be desired by this pack-in game offered free for anyone that purchases the Amazon Fire TV game controller?
Sev Zero puts the player into the boots of a futuristic soldier in the twenty- second century where an alien race called the Ne’ahtu are attempting to infect Earth’s defense grid with a virus. You must defend key grids throughout Earth as computer genius Dr. Amy Ramanujan takes out the virus. The story is pretty straight forward and has enough back story to keep the attentive player interested. It’s nothing revolutionary but the gameplay is where the innovation lies.
Players start Sev Zero in what is essentially a tower defense mode, a top down view of the battlefield. Each one varies as you progress the game and depending on how many credits you accumulate you can spend it on various towers to slow, rocket, shock, machine gun and outright attack the invading Ne’ahtu. The real kicker is that once you think you have enough or you have spent all you can, you are able to beam yourself down to the ground wherever your cursor is and attack the Ne’ahtu on foot. You can freely choose to fight on foot or beam yourself back to your ship to continue in tower defense mode. When you are on foot the game takes a third-person shooter approach, complete with over the shoulder camera and allows you one weapon with ever changing and upgrading chambers.
The main weapon itself becomes a character of sorts as it allows the various chambers and every player will have their favorite. Before each mission you are tasked with choosing your weapon mode, each with its advantages and disadvantages. Rifle is great for powerful attacks but takes time to reload, shotgun mode has the best of both worlds and machine gun is weak but is given rapid fire. I personally used rifle mode through most of my playthrough and found that it was quite satisfying. Then you are given the choice of three out of the five available attachments for your weapon. These are fired via the L2 button and serve as a secondary attack. You unlock more as you progress the game starting out with only one, grenades which explode on impact with the enemy and is quite useful for taking out groups of the Ne’ahtu. Next is a high caliber Railgun pierces through enemies and gives increased damage when aiming for the head. Another attachment allows for Sticky Turrets to be deployed, at a maximum of three on either walls or floors and shoot at the incoming enemies. These turrets will eventually disappear after awhile. The Airstrike attachment allows you to paint targets whom are preferably further away to allow for your ship to call in an airstrike of missiles. Finally there is the Repulsor which pushes enemies back with massive force that can kill most enemies and pushes them into each other damaging them. As you progress and use these attachments in the game killing the Ne’ahtu you gain experience which levels up the weapons and unlocks bonuses for them such as increased recharge rate, damage boosts and more.
There are also varying towers within the game to place such as the typical blaster, and mortar towers but there are unique ones that slow enemies down and even give them radiation or drain life from them as they pass by the area of effect of your tower. These are also upgradable as you progress each level killing enemies you gain cash which you can use to upgrade your towers or heal them. The planning portion of each level is very important so you strategically place towers in the most effective areas to make your time on the ground a tad bit easier. An easy way to earn money is to press the X button when the prompt appears to send the next wave of enemies. Just be sure to not get overrun. It serves as the games double-edged sword.
Graphically Sev Zero is arguably equivalent of an early Playstation 3 title which isn’t bad considering it is running on an Android console. The enemies have a great amount of variety from big hulking brutes to fast but weak spider-like creatures that come in packs. The game will always keep players on their toes attempting to balance the strength of their towers with the incoming waves. One misstep and players can lose the core, and the game. Despite the graphic infidelity compared to more recent titles, Sev Zero adds new breath to the third person shooter/alien attack genre.
Sev Zero will last players around six plus hours with each level taking around twenty to thirty minutes to complete and fifteen levels to complete which vary in size and complexity of the layout. The replay lies in the three difficulties and each level beaten unlocks a challenge for the previously defeated level. There is a great amount of replay value in the game as each difficulty limits your ability to build towers as it raises the cost of them. Sev Zero serves as an honorable freshman effort from Amazon Game Studios and hopefully will be just a fond memory when they release newer titles in the future.
- Available On: Fire TV
- Published By: Amazon Game Studios
- Developed By: Amazon Game Studios
- Genre: Shooter
- US Release Date: April 2nd, 2014
- Reviewed On: Fire TV
- Quote: "Sev Zero is a great first effort and a great melding of shooter and tower defense. If only it had more substance to back it up"