Ziggurat Fills The Much Missed Old School FPS Void
If you're sick of the military FPS tsunami that is flooding todays gaming market, then you should definitely check out Ziggurat by Milkstone Studios. Ziggurat is a FPS dungeon crawler with rogue-like elements. procedural generated levels, tons of enemies, and of course that infamous old school FPS difficulty.
The combat in Ziggurat is fast and relies heavily on your FPS skills. I guess I am awful at FPS games because I can barely make it past level one. Avoiding enemies and their projectiles is your number one priority, that means moving out-of-the-way or jumping over their attacks. I did not think about jumping over the enemy projectiles until I watched the gameplay trailer for Ziggurat. It was then that I realized vertical movement is just as important to your survival as horizontal movement.
There is also a levelling system in Ziggurat, every enemy you kill drops a knowledge crystal that increases your knowledge (aka your experience). Just make sure you pick them up quickly, they disappear after a while. Which is frustrating at some times, especially when you're constantly running away from your enemies. At each level up you can choose between one of two perks, three if you get the bookworm perk. The perks are random, but the library you can choose from is massive. I usually go for the perks that increase my mana pools, more mana equals more shots being fired from each weapon.
The UI in Ziggurat is clean and well done.
At the beginning of each game you start with a single weapon, a wand that uses mana. Most of the time there will be a second weapon in the starting room, which is very helpful. There are many weapons: Seven different spell books, seven staves, and six alchemic items. Each weapon has a main fire and an alternate fire. The mana pools are color-coordinated with each weapon, so if it looks orange the weapon will use your alchemical mana pool.
There are many characters as well, twelve in total. But you only start with one character, Argo the Apprentice. In order to unlock the others you must complete specific challenges, kill 200 enemies with a wand, or complete the game. Ziggurat has three difficulty levels; easy, normal, and hard. I have played on normal, but I think I will have to drop down to easy if I ever want a chance at actually completing the game.
The enemies vary from evil fungi, to undead soldiers and even psycho carrots. Yes, psycho carrots. I think the most annoying are the flying skeleton heads, mainly because I am awful at moving and shooting, and they're small and fast.
These shrines appear in random rooms that allow you to sacrifice health or mana to gain additional levels and perks.
Only two things about the gameplay really bugged me. One was the motion blur effect. This effect was on by default and I am definitely not used to it, I started feeling nauseous and was having a difficult time aiming and moving around with it on. The other was the inability to keep your perks after dying. While yes, it does make sense to lose all of your perks when you die in a game. But playing Rogue Legacy has definitely spoiled me when it comes to Rogue-like games.
For those who do not know, in Rogue Legacy you are able to build up perks and upgrades for your character by spending money you find. I would love to keep my perks after dying to make the game a bit easier, but I am not going to knock Ziggurat for being something it's not.
The graphics are very well done, and have a Darksiders / World of Warcraft style to them. The Ziggurat itself is always pretty and nice to look at. I did have to play the game on Low settings because I don't have a strong computer, so I am missing out on the full potential of its beauty.
This is the perk screen while leveling up. They're all random.
The story in Ziggurat is pretty straight forward. You are an apprentice who must complete the challenges in the Ziggurat to join the brotherhood of mage's. Most do not make it out alive or in one piece. If you are looking for an amazing story in Ziggurat then you are playing it for the wrong reasons.
Ziggurat is a gorgeous looking game, and plays just as well, if not better than it looks. If you enjoy dungeon crawlers, rogue-like games, or old school FPS then you should do yourself a favor and pick this awesome game up. I'm sure you will be spending countless hours fighting and overcoming the challenges that await you in the Ziggurat
Ziggurat was developed and published by Milkstone Studios. And was released on October 23, 2014 for PC. You can pick Ziggurat up on Steam for $14.99. A copy of Ziggurat was personally purchased via Steam.