Zero Zen is a 2-4 player game, most easily described as “sumo wrestling with airplanes”. Each player controls a plane with left/right rotation, a thruster to move forward, and a “shoot” button which fires a shotgun blast with tremendous kickback. The flying physics works similar to Asteroids, where your ship will continue coasting after accelerating. The bullets don’t do any damage, they just push players around. The objective is to knock all opponents into the outer walls to be the last person standing.
Zero Zen is the second game I’ve created for Ludum Dare, a 48 hour game making competition. The theme was “Minimalism”. I designed a game with a simple play style and button scheme that was easy to learn but difficult to master. The minimalism theme extends to the “zen” philosophy of the game, where the player must make very controlled decisions of when to shoot or not to shoot at their opponents, since the kickback is often more dangerous than being shot. I first showed the game at the Drupalcon 2013 afterparty, and after lots of encouraging feedback decided to demo the game at the Portland Maker Faire, and the Portland Retro Gaming Expo. The game was also featured as one of the main tournament games for Portland Design Week hosted by PIGSquad, along with Samurai Gunn and Crypt of the Necrodancer.
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