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iPhone  header logo

Zenforms: Protectors

For: iPhone

Pikachu, I copy you!

Product: Zenforms: Protectors | Developer: Stephen McVicker | Publisher: Calis Projects | Format: iPhone | Genre: RPG | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0.2
Zenforms: Protectors iPhone, thumbnail 1
When a company hits on a winning formula, it's only natural that others will seek to emulate it, and in the realm of video gaming they don't come much more successful than Pokémon.

Nintendo's monster-catching franchise has sold millions and spawned a whole host of sequels, as well as inspiring many other developers to create their own unique riffs on the concept.

As if you needed telling, Zenforms: Protectors is one such clone, although it feels slightly more derivative than many other titles we could mention.

Enrolled at a school for Protectors, your character picks a Zenform and then takes out into the wild, where it can do battle with other Zenforms and improve its capabilities - eventually evolving into a more powerful breed of beast.

Pocket monster

Like Pokémon, Zenforms: Protectors places a strong emphasis on RPG-style gameplay. For much of the game you'll be roaming around your hometown talking to other characters, but once a battle situation occurs the perspective switches to show the participants, which then take turns in unleashing a deadly series of attacks.

It's all very Pokémon, although Zenforms can't match Nintendo's opus when it comes to longevity, as the story mode ends rather abruptly.

By the developer's own admission, this isn't entirely unintentional - at least for the time being. Zenforms is the work of a single programmer, and during the game's introduction sequence he promises that all future updates will be made available for free, rather than via in-app purchases. He's effectively building the game as he goes along.

This is a noble gesture, and when you consider that a single person is responsible for the entire game it's hard not to be impressed by the results. Zenforms looks and sounds very appealing, and one could be forgiven for assuming it was in fact an up-scaled entry in the actual Pokémon franchise.

However, there are some annoying bugs. For example, the game froze completely when we attempted to interact with a toilet in the opening scene, forcing a complete restart.

Monster mash

Other issues include jerky scrolling, which occasionally and unexpectedly switches to Benny Hill-style fast movement for no reason that we can fathom, and many other crash bugs that occur at different points in the game.

There's clearly a lot of work to be done here, and it's arguable that the developer should have tested Zenforms more thoroughly - though he has at least been swift to issue updates.

Despite the fact that Zenforms is a commendable achievement for a one-man development team, there's no escaping the fact that it looks and feels very much like Pokémon - only without more than a decade of characterisation to fall back on. It feels like a pale imitation.

Zenforms: Protectors may be cheap, but you're really better off with the real thing.
Zenforms: Protectors
Reviewer photo
Damien McFerran | 5 October 2012
Well presented but massively derivative and riddled with bugs, Zenforms is a commendable accomplishment for just one developer, but suffers from too many issues to be a worthwhile investment
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