As much as it does right, Strike Suit Zero isn't without its blemishes. The biggest issue I had with the game was when it combined its rather long missions with a surprising lack of checkpoints while tasking me with the defense of a bomber squadron. For example, the game's fifth chapter culminated with a multi-stage battle in which I first had to blast heavy guns on a huge capital ship, then flak cannons, completing my objectives in time to save a friendly cruiser under fire. Once I'd blasted enough hardpoints on the capital ship and nearby enemy base, a bomber squadron would warp in to finish off the behemoth, all within a swarm of enemy fighters. I struggled for a couple of hours on this final section of the mission, having to restart the entire process when either my bomber squad or I met an untimely end. The callback to the difficulty of games like X-Wing vs. Tie Fighter was most evident here, but my frustration stemmed from not always knowing how I'd screwed up when things went sideways. I'd be tearing through enemy fighters left and right for minutes, only to receive a message that the bombers had been destroyed, and the mission had failed. The game included a handful of difficult moments like this for me, where old-school mission design intersected with objectives I wasn't clear how best to approach. This being the case, finally finishing a really tough mission was often more relieving than rewarding. I'm not really a fan of feeling that my progress has anything to do with blind luck. Overall, Strike Suit Zero is a very competent space-combat game that I feel occasionally undermines itself with a few sections of gameplay that has a tendency to punish players without nudging them in the right direction for the next go-around. I'm not a player that likes his hand held--a disturbing, ongoing trend in mainstream releases--but Strike Suit Zero swings the needle a bit too far back in the other direction. If I'm going to have to repeat the same 20-30 minute section of gameplay multiple times, I'd prefer to be given at least some clue as to how I might improve. It's hard not to recommend Strike Suit Zero to fans who have been dying for a good space combat game. It does a number of things incredibly well, and when it's all clicking--like in one of the ridiculously-huge dogfights--it's a very challenging and rewarding experience. Just be aware that the game will occasionally test your patience, and it won't always feel fair.
Strike Suit Zero's space battles are enormous.
This Strike Suit Zero review is based on a digital PC version of the game provided by the developer.