Fool for Zool?: Zool Redimensioned Review

by: 
hello world!
| May 28, 2023

There is no Dana, only Zuul!

It’s not that one? OK.

Zool Redimensioned was released on PlayStation 4 on May 16th, 2023, coming to the platform after being released on PC in 2021. Zool Redimensioned, developed by Sumo Digital Academy and published by Secret Mode, is a remaster and extension of the Amiga classic. Zool: Ninja of the Nth Dimension (dope name for a game) was originally released in 1992, a time before the PlayStation and Xbox when the SEGA Genesis and SNES ruled the world. 

Zool is a fast-paced 2D platformer in the same style as Sonic the Hedgehog and Mario, with collectibles to pick up, themed worlds and end-of-stage boss battles. But it was on the Amiga, which was one of its downfalls. The Amiga struggled to compete with SEGA and Nintendo from the off. Although its gameplay was solid, I’d be surprised if anyone under the age of 30 had ever heard of it.

The Amiga’s attempt at branding a cutesy mascot for their platform, Zool never took the world by storm in the way they hoped. Their answer to Sonic, Mega Man and Link ended up being a bit of a bust. The concept was pretty cool. Zool is an extra-dimensional ninja who can kill enemies by jumping on their heads (classic), sliding into them (like Sonic’s roll ability) and shooting them (like Mega Man). What’s not to love?

Woo items! Wait, spikes. Crap.

As an old person, I remember playing Zool as a kid. I was lucky. My dad owned an Amiga, so I could play it when I had time and was allowed. So I can talk from experience: Zool was a frustrating mess. Its jump was one of the worst in platforming at the time. I remember getting stuck on the first few levels because I literally couldn’t work out the correct jump timings. And it was far too difficult.

Zool Redimensioned, however, gives you the option to use modern controls and, get this, added a double jump! Thank you! It’s so refreshing! I can finally say I’ve completed this game after 30 years of trying. Yes, there’s an asterisk on that, but see if I care. The controls in redimensioned mode are a major improvement on the original game. But, if you want, there is the option to revert to classic controls to give yourself a challenge.

There are also options to turn on invincibility, infinite jumps and turbo fire, although these will disable your ability to earn PlayStation trophies. *sigh*. This was my biggest disappointment. Unfortunately, Zool Redimensioned does not have a Platinum trophy. Why? Just why? The absence of the platinum will deter some trophy hunters from purchasing such a fun game. The trophy list is straightforward but challenging, and it would have been enjoyable to work towards. 

I got the crown! I got the crown!

However, a big positive is the addition of a local multiplayer mode! The new mode, not existing in the 1992 release, allows you and up to three friends to participate in three types of party games across various themed worlds. There’s a King of the Hill mode where you have to be in possession of a crown for the longest time, one where you have to collect the most items and one where you have to hit targets. There aren’t enough couch party games being released at the moment, so this mode is a welcome one, although it may not keep your attention for very long.

How about the graphics? What’s very cool is that the game defaults to a classic graphic style. It slightly curves the field of view and superimposes lines on the screen to make it seem like you’re playing on an old CRT monitor. It can be disorienting and weird initially, but I found it nostalgic. You can turn that filter off in the settings menu, giving you crystal-clear graphics. 

CRT filter (top), Normal filter (bottom)

Summary

Zool Redimensioned is a fun 2D mascot platformer reminding me of great times taking turns playing with my sister on my dad’s computer. The Chupa Chups game (Zool was sponsored by Chupa Chups in the 90s, but all references were removed in the game’s port) was not perfect then, and it’s not perfect now, but Redimensioned has made Zool more playable than ever with great quality-of-life features and an added multiplayer mode. It may not be your game of the year or even one you play for an extended period, but at $9.99, it’s definitely worth a try. 

But, please! Add platinums to your trophy lists!

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