Sometimes you just have to take a moment and take stock of where you’re headed in life. Things can get pretty crazy at times, and there’s a good chance that you’ll find yourself spinning in a haze of confusion in any number of directions with little or no control. Zoon reflects this sentiment profoundly, as long as you swap out life with travel through deep space that is.
First glances would paint Zoon as a more action-oriented take on the Faster Than Light formula. Using the tools provided, you’re tasked with building your own ship and piloting it throughout deep space, shooting aliens and avoiding various instances of space debris as you go. At least, that’s what the plan is for the final version; right now the demo version only consists of ship building and space flight with not a single enemy or asteroid in sight, but that might have something to do with my complete inability to build a ship that doesn’t rotate faster than the speed of light.
I’ll confess I’m no rocket scientist, but I spent a large portion of my time in Zoon trying desperately to install various thrusters and engines throughout my strange U-shaped ship in an effort to counter balance the constant death spiral I’d somehow found myself locked into. Unfortunately my efforts were in vain, and after 20 minutes of uncontrollably rotating through the black abyss a feeling of nausea called an end to my suffering. And yet, despite now acknowledging that I’ll never be an astronaut, those frantic twenty minutes revealed a great deal about how things can go terribly wrong, and how entertaining it is to watch as everything collapses around you.
This demo build seemed to focus specifically on the ship building aspects, which allowed me to create several odd designs before finally settling on the ill fated U-boat I mentioned earlier. After the walls and floor tiles are connected up, it’s simply a matter of adorning the interior with a variety of machines and devices that allow you to control a number of functions like piloting the ship, long/short range communications, and even armour racks that let you remove your trusty space suit when you want a bit more freedom to roam around your ship.
Discovering that last item was a mistake though, as I soon learnt I had forgotten to plug a hole on one side of my ships wall. Venturing too close to the gaping hole promptly saw me sucked out into deep space, and without my spacesuit on I was quickly snuffed out of existence. After regaining my life in space and rebuilding the U-boat to its former glory I soon made the same mistake of hastily ignoring the gaps in my vessel, only this time I was still wearing my suit. As you’d expect, I was sucked out into deep space again, but it was to the sight of the U-boat casually flailing across the stars in its spiral of shame, leaving me behind to waddle around while contemplating if perhaps my ship had gotten sick of my antics and intentionally ejected me because of it.
When it comes down to it, Zoon is still very much work in progress. Some of the items available to place inside your ship provide absolutely nothing, and right now there is little to do other than rotate furiously through space. With that said, there are some interesting plans listed for the game’s direction. Player-made missions will provide the bread and butter of objectives for would-be space dwellers, mods will be fully supported for extra customisation, and there’s also a multiplayer mode for those who want to sail across the stars with their friends. For now, though, the game does an excellent job of creating an existential crisis amongst those willing to ponder the aimless journey across the stars, if you’re into that sort of thing that is.
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