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Dark Void Zero (iPhone)

For: iPhone   Also on: DSi

Filling the void

Product: Dark Void Zero | Developer: Other Ocean Interactive | Publisher: Capcom | Format: iPhone | Genre: Arcade, Shooter | Players: 1 | Networking: wireless (network) | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0
Dark Void Zero iPhone, thumbnail 1
The story goes that Dark Void Zero was originally developed for Nintendo’s 8-bit NES console but never completed – until now. This is baloney, of course - it was made to support the release of Dark Void on home consoles.

We’re willing to forgive Capcom’s blatant fibbing over the origin of Dark Void Zero, though, because these bare-faced lies add to the appeal of this delicious retro-themed platformer.

Vintage video game action

Ported from the Nintendo DSiWare, Dark Void Zero looks, sounds, and plays like a game from the late '80s. It's a visual step backwards, but the gameplay here is engaging, addictive, and intensely challenging.

You’re tasked with collecting various key cards dotted around each level which grant access to a cross-dimensional portal that transports you to the next stage. Along the way you encounter various alien enemies, collect more powerful weaponry, and even get the chance to strap on a jet pack  to fly around the impressively-proportioned environments.

With such unashamedly old skool gameplay, you’d expect the transition from D-pad and buttons to touchscreen to be an especially tortuous one, but the virtual controls in Dark Void Zero operate much better than expected.

Let there be light

Granted, some of the more precise movements required by the game are difficult to execute, yet on the whole it works well – certainly better than other iPhone and iPod touch titles.

The game’s real problem is that of length. With only three stages to tackle, it doesn’t take long for you to liberate mankind and exile the xenomorphic scum forever.

Developer Other Ocean has thoughtfully added iPhone-exclusive content, including an additional secret ending and the ability to compare scores and unlock achievements using the popular OpenFeint social networking system. Even with these additions, there’s little here to encourage a return.

Despite its brevity, Dark Void Zero is still worthy of praise. The intentionally old-fashioned visuals and sound will appeal to retro gamers and the demanding, though still enjoyable, gameplay is sure to suck you in - even if you're too young to remember the 8-bit glory days from which this likeable title takes so much inspiration.
Dark Void Zero (iPhone)
Reviewer photo
Damien McFerran | 15 April 2010
Although Dark Void Zero ran the risk of being a one-joke game, its faux-retro styling combines beautifully with tight gameplay to create a brilliant iPhone action platformer hampered only by its shortness
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Apr 2010
Post count:
mikepan7 | 08:18 - 19 April 2010
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Anonymous | 19:08 - 15 April 2010
- like the special ending if you complete the game without loosing a single life...

Feb 2010
Post count:
nick_gc | 09:12 - 15 April 2010
I really like this game. Sometimes the controls get annoying, but the graphics are authentically NES like and the there are some great little quirks, like part of the intro which will be familiar to people who played cartridge based games.