Zool Redimensioned (PC) Review

By Luke Hemming 09.09.2021

Review for Zool Redimensioned on PC

Even taking into account some of the most iconic mascots in gaming history, Sonic, Crash, and even the Big 'M' himself, few stars shone brighter and for such a short length of time than the Ninja from the Nth dimension. If Zool has perhaps been associated with a console rather than opting to grace the Amiga, perhaps the green gremlin may have become a household name. Thankfully with time comes hindsight, and nearly 30 years later, the good folk at Sumo Digital Academy have brought Zool Redimensioned to lucky gamers of the 21st century.

It's very difficult to look at this through subjective eyes, with merely a mention of the name bringing back fond memories of janky joysticks, long nights, and Chupa Chups (licensing has removed these, which should demand a boycott of their products if nothing else). On first impressions staff working on bringing this to fruition seem to share those same feelings, and have created a faithful remaster, staying true to the original with some very welcome tweaks.

Screenshot for Zool Redimensioned on PC

The most glaringly obvious and easily the best, is the decision to pull the camera back and give a clear view of obstacles and the level as a whole. Zool took the Hedgehog route, and ensured that every stage can be completed by taking multiple paths, which back in the beige days of gaming, were incredibly difficult to figure out with such a close-up view (not that most knew any better). Any mistake made now is purely on the player, and this goes for platforming too, with controls being far tighter and responsive than they ever were in the early '90s.

For the uninitiated, Zool has been tasked with fighting a multiversal threat after a crash landing by working his way through around eight levels that seemed to make a lot more sense for anyone playing this as a youngster. Back then it was simply accepted that a world dominated by lollies would lead to a music themed metropolis, and a banana infested jungle. These days, not so much. The levels pop with the brightness and imagery of a title born of its time, but for newcomers and gamers looking for some sense of coherency, this may be pretty jarring. Enemy types however have great variety and suit the environment (minus the bananas), with similarities to 2D platformers like the original Rayman that flourished in terms of enemy design.

Screenshot for Zool Redimensioned on PC

Standard and Ultimate Ninja Mode are available, with the latter providing the real challenge by removing the new double jump, as well as forcing players to pick up a certain number of collectables before being able to progress. For Amiga vets this shouldn't provide any real challenge, but for new players it can become difficult to distinguish between item and enemy. Its very much a trial-and-error system that can become frustrating. Thankfully, other assists have been made available if just looking to dabble, with invincibility and infinite jumping on toggle.

Screenshot for Zool Redimensioned on PC

The now standard features expected in a remaster are present in terms of sound and display, with the always welcome CRT filter option included, and also what feels like a vital addition of level select, allowing quick access to any collectable missed along the way. One bizarre addition, however, is an emulated version of the original. 'Fantastic!' Should be the cry of Zool'ers (copyright, yours truly) around the world, who get to play their beloved classic as intended. That is until they realise that the version Zool Redimensioned decided to go with is the vastly inferior Mega Drive version.

This may be due to the upcoming release of the Amiga mini, which will include the original Zool pre-loaded, but in all honesty, its better to forget that the Mega Drive version is even an option. It looks awful, and most importantly, its sound horrific. Zool had themes that no other platformer could touch in terms of greatness (all present and lovingly recreated in the remaster), and to hear them tarnished or left out completely is unforgivable. It's clear that developers Sumo Digital Academy wanted to add a bit of nostalgia in, but in truth have added something nobody asked for. It really wasn't needed when the core game that they have worked on is such a love-letter to the original.

Screenshot for Zool Redimensioned on PC

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

If there is any love for the original, pick this up immediately. A fine job has been done creating a really playable title for 2021, without losing any of the charm of the original. The camera change is a stroke of genius and makes life so much easier leading to a more enjoyable experience all round. The issue isn't with the remaster, but the source material. Zool Redimensioned is sadly a bit of a product of its time, and isn't going to draw any new fans with its difficulty and confusing design choices. Sadly, for most this Ninja isn't going to resonate with younger players looking for the next plumber killer. For the rest, though, you have a greater remaster than you could ever have hoped for, let alone what the star of the Amiga may deserve.

Developer

Sumo Digital Academy

Publisher

Secret Mode

Genre

2D Platformer

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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