Operation Zeta is space, action, roguelite game developed by solo dev Benjamin Thurston of SFS Studios which was released onto the Xbox store on the 14th January 2022 after previously being available on Steam Early Access.
The story revolves around a great battle (codenamed Operation Zeta) which has been lost. You spaceship is damaged and you have a limited amount of time to collect parts and repair your ship to escape the warzone your stuck in before the enemy’s death laser destroys everything!
Now I must admit when I first started playing the game it didn’t click with me. I would die all to quickly and infrequently and I wasn’t 100% sure exactly what I was doing wrong or what I needed to do, but after a frustrating few attempts I was able to figure it out and progress whilst being able to enjoy and appreciate the game.
The game gives you ten minutes in order to collect all the pieces needed for your spaceship across a randomly generated solar system, these are scattered across a variety of planets and require you to jetpack around to find them. On these planets there are aliens that you will need to shoot or keep away from as well as NPC’s who provide a collection of quests you may need to complete for them to gain certain items. Once you have the parts needed you need to get them back to your ship on the starting planet and attached to your ship with repair parts (also found around the planets).
The game features some fun Gravity physics, which each planet having its own gravitational pull that will attract you in different ways, you may not be able to jump high on one planet, yet be able to bound around on another. I did find traversing between planets quite difficult to begin with, and trying to figure out exactly which direction I needed to be heading was a challenge. Luckily there are some directional hint arrows that show up to help you figure out where you need to go!
As with other games in the roguelite genre you’re able to keep the coins you earn from each run. These can then be spent on upgrades and extra characters. These upgrades include things like a better jump, more health etc but there are also things to make the overall game easier such as a radar and an extension to the time limit. The more runs you play, the more you will eventually be able to accomplish as you slowly unlock each upgrade. You start the game as a standard human but there are 13 different characters you can unlock including space monkeys to sentient slugs. Each character has their own ship and unique abilities which add variety to each replay.
Overall Operation Zeta is an enjoyable game with a lot of replayability, and with runs only lasting 10 minutes you can jump in for a quick game now and then or keep playing after each run ends. The only downside is the early accessibility as there is a lot of trial and error, I feel like if they added a more easy to follow tutorial when you first start the game, this issue could easily be fixed.
Total Score: 6.5/10
Operation Zeta is available on the Xbox Store for £8.39. You can buy it HERE
The game is playable on Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S.
A copy of the game was provided by SFS Studios for this review, so a huge thank you for that!