Zenith promises a wry, sidelong glance at the CRPG

Our pals at Funstock have a new game up for preorder on Nintendo Switch. It’s called Zenith, and if you’re a fan of computer role-playing games in the classic western tradition, you’ll get a real kick out of it, since it is both a solid example of a classic CRPG, and an amusing parody of the genre.

In Zenith, you take on the role of Argus Windell, a mage who thought he was pretty hot shit, particularly when it comes to ancient artefacts. Unfortunately, it seems he accidentally unleashed an apocalyptic event using one of these relics — and right in the middle of a war, too. With that in mind, he decided that perhaps it was time to hang up his robe and wizard hat for good and enjoy a peaceful life of retirement.

Zenith

Unfortunately, life, particularly in a fantasy realm, isn’t that simple. Over time, legendary artefacts, regardless of the danger they pose to the world at large, tend to become attractive prospects for wannabe heroes. And so it is that Argus finds himself in a situation where he’s actively trying to keep said artefact out of the hands of spiky-haired morons who think they’re saving the world, when all he wants is to enjoy a quiet life and perhaps make a potion or two to take the edge off.

Zenith unfolds as an action RPG in which you’ve got a big world to explore — including a classic-style world map. Along the way, you’ll enjoy plenty of good-natured humour as well as the ongoing story, which developer Infinigon describes as being delivered in a style where “you won’t need to piece it together by yourself as if it was a Swedish chair”.

They also note that the game features “no oneiric or do-it-yourself crap”, so you shouldn’t need three-hour YouTube videos just to decipher what’s going on in this one. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, mind, but sometimes it’s nice to just be able to sit back and have a story told to you, isn’t it?

Zenith

With Argus being a wizard, combat features a strong focus on using magic, so you’ll get the opportunity to upgrade his weapons, clothing and spells as you progress. There are plenty of special abilities to unlock along the way, including a “final blow” move for finishing a battle with style, as well as a series of elemental spells for unleashing death and destruction in a variety of creative and spectacular ways.

Zenith originally released on PC back in 2016 and was well-received by the community for its amusing, fun story full of references and Easter eggs. It’s been particularly complimented for finding a good balance between being charming, witty, serious, silly and sarcastic in roughly equal measure while still managing to tell an interesting and enjoyable tale that keeps you pushing forward. Its worldbuilding has been singled out for particular praise by several Steam reviewers, as has the fact its comfortable 15-20 hour length means that it neither outstays its welcome nor feels rushed.

Oh, also, there are giant spiders who sing opera. So that’s nice. I mean, I feel like the “opera” bit somewhat makes the “spider” bit a tad more palatable, so there’s that. And if not, I suspect you may well have the opportunity to set fire to them, anyway, so feel reassured by that.

Zenith

Funstock’s Nintendo Switch release of Zenith includes a physical version and costs £29.99. It’s set to land in August of 2022, so if you’re interested in picking up a copy of this entertaining, amusing homage to the golden age of computer RPG, head on over to Funstock and pre-order a copy for yourself right now.

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Pete Davison
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