Zeta Flow


JonahZeta FlowNow here is a game that makes you say "ZOMG LASERS!" — the mark of a great shmup. Zeta Flow, from Matthew Dirks, who has graced our previous competitions with Jelly Fusion and Colour Connect is quite a shmup indeed. In Zeta Flow, you control an innocent little turret gun ship as you fight off giant mechanical enemies.

Each level pits you against one evil ship, getting progressively bigger and badder from level to level. Moving is simple, just move the mouse. Shooting is simpler: hold down the mouse button. Aiming can be done automatically or manually (for "experts only").

Enemies are constructed of different parts (i.e., building blocks and weapons) attached to a core. In order to beat a level, you must destroy the core. You can think of it like the top bubble in Bust A Move: If you destroy the core, all of the other parts below it will fall off and you will beat the level. As in Bust A Move, you can also lop off lower parts of a chain. Likewise, you can cut off segments by destroying the part that connects to the core. While the core can shoot only a few bullets, other weapons will aim to thwart your advance, such as turret guns, homing missiles, lasers, and force fields.

Also included in the game are optional keyboard controls, which can be mapped as desired. In fact the entire game can be navigated with just a keyboard. Good news for all you guys who don't own mice. But wait, theres more...behind door number three...IT'S A NEW CAR!! (and by that I mean level editor!) The best part about the level editor is that it lets you see the way the parts of the ships are connected.

Analysis: This is a fun game. Looks great (clean, minimalistic), sounds great (the shooting noise is very satisfying), and most importantly, plays great. While the game is a bit short and a bit easy at first glance, both of these problems are addressed by the inclusion of the level editor. You can also play levels designed by other players in the level gallery, which provides a possibly infinite supply of levels as long as there remains interest in the game. Also, the two different aiming schemes provide two different difficulty levels, thus increasing the replay value of the game as well.

Also, advanced players may develop a certain strategy based on their individual playing style. For instance, if you are a good shooter, you may want to pick off all of the weapons and then have an easy battle. On the other hand, if you are good at dodging, you might try to take out the core early on while avoiding all the bullets and lasers. Better yet, you can combine both styles. A quick glance at the level editor will enable you to find out which parts of the enemy are crucial, so you can take them out first (however this will send you back to the start of the game, so on second thought, maybe don't do that).

Maybe the worst part of the game is having to sit through the advertisements after some of the levels. But that's a minor complaint considering the game is free to play. So go play it and support Matthew Dirks so that he can create even more fantastic games like this. Watch out for the lasers!

Play Zeta Flow

JayJay - As many of you have indicated in the comments, yes, this game is heavily influenced by Warning Forever, a downloadable game for Windows we reviewed here last year. Matthew is looking for some constructive criticism for his efforts here with Zeta Flow, in creating a similar game with Flash. Cheers!

34 Comments

General feedback:

- The Zwinky and CandyStand ads between rounds ruin the game for me.

- The "campaign" game is, for now, both too short and too easy. I get the feeling this is a work in progress, though.

- Once the bosses are large enough that they begin moving around, if you die while they're at the bottom of the screen, then when you respawn, you immediately die again since you're on top of the boss. This repeats until the boss moves out of the way. This is a fatal, game-killing flaw at higher difficulties. I suggest you give the player the ability to select their respawn location, or at least give them a few seconds of "shield" upon respawn to move to a safe area.

- I can't get the advanced aiming options to work. At all. If I turn on expert aim mode, none of the aiming keys have any effect.

It has a lot of potential, especially if you can upload created bosses so other people can play against them, but for now, it's no Warning Forever.

"it's no Warning Forever"

Really? Because it looks exactly like Warning Forever to me...

I lost 7 lives in 2 seconds.

Very nice game, except this part where the level started that the machine was right on you and you automatically die, (i didn't like that)

I love holding down the spacebar

It looks pretty Warning Forever -ish to me.

Nope, it's definitely no Warning Forever. Looks like it, but it's nowhere near as polished or fun. It's no Fraxy either, since the level editor doesn't really do that much.

But it is a halfway decent attempts to straddle those two games, and it does play in a browser. It has potential.

I agree with OtherBill - this game is parasiting on great game.

There are only 3 dissimilarities:
1) different controls
2) minimally dissimilar graphics
3) one has editor, one has enemies generated by algorith

Forget this game and play Warning Forever - this one you will play once only and leave - WF can catch you

Actually, yeah, I'd like to revise my opinion to agree with Psychotronic.

OtherBill:
Actually when you respawn you have a shield that persists until you fire. When you die, stop firing, respawn, move to a good position and then resume firing.

Something only one of you have mentioned; this is clearly a work in progress (as mentioned on the main page, with the big letters saying 'work in progress')

For a beta-engine, it's quite good; especially one with a programmable AI. Long way to go, but a big first step.

OtherBill; I have no idea what the advanced aiming options are, but the controls under the pause menu are actually mostly the editor controls.

@Dralid: From what I've seen, the shield begins to fade as soon as you respawn, and you move slowly enough that if the boss is very large, you may not have time to move to a safe space before your shield is gone.

---

Upon further investigation, it turns out that the advanced aiming options are very WF-ish. Your aim changes based on how you move while not firing, and your aim doesn't change if you move while firing. I was hoping the advanced aiming would involve separate move/aim controls.

The game does have a lot of potential (especially if user-created bosses can be shared), but its flaws outweigh that right now.

A great game with very stylish graphics. I got up to level 10. On Firefox this became pretty much unplayable due to slowdown. Also, Dralid's comments don't always work...even without touching the controls, I respawn on top of the enemy and lose multiple lives..

In case the author of the game happens to read this, I think some of the negative reactions are inevitable, given how similar Zeta Flow is to Warning Forever in visual style. I think a browser game that lets you fight customizable arena-style bosses is a great idea. But you might want to look for ways to individualize Zeta Flow's look a bit. It really feels like an imitation of WF right now. Look at Fraxy, for example. Same basic concept as Warning Forever, but it looks entirely like its own game.

This feels like WF, but a low-quality version of it.
I'll stick with WF.

this is lots of fun ... I actually found some of the user created levels more fun than the actual game tho :D

I would prefer Warning Forever (or rRootage, for that matter) over this pretty much any day, but the level editor and ability to play other people's levels makes this game a really worthwhile experience, for me at least.

Try out The Cronkite! Now no longer impossible!

I LOVE THIS GAME!!!

It has a lot of potential, but as everyone pointed out, Matthew certainly has a few things to fix. The slowdown is horrible after level 10, the respawn could really use some work, the targeting could also be more responsive, and I really wish the boss explosions were more rewarding. Don't even get me started on the ads. A high score table(or any score at all) would also be nice. The way I see it, if "Warning Forever" wasn't such an amazing game, some of these faults could actually be overlooked; but as it is, though, still a long way to go. Good luck.

"Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery"

My only wish is that movement was with the arrow keys and rotation/aiming was with the mouse. The auto-aim is way too slow for me.

If your having trouble with the aiming thing make sure it says rotatePartToShip,9 or whatever the part number is.

one level i did was a spinning ship with shields all around it. i like it, cause you need to avoid the lasers and rockets. hmmm... I wonder...

Sure it's fun, but it's rather clicheed. It's too simple.

I an having problems with the rotate part command, I am trying to get a part to rotate counter clockwise, then back clockwise. By fooling around I have discovered that the min angle MUST be lower in value than the max angle or the turning turns to a twitching. This poses a problem because to start the rotation counterclockwise I need to rotate it a negative value, and thus the min value must be higher to rotate it the other direction..... It's annoying and I can't seem to fix it.

Ernie, to get counter clockwise motion you need to use a negative speed.

This was a fun game and I enjoyed making my own levels. I found the simpler user created levels to be more enjoyable then the lagtastic monstrosities some people seemed fond of making. Make sure to use the ai options as playing a level without moving parts is a bit boring.

The statistics were helpful in finding some of the better ones, though I have some issues with the idea that authors can rate their own levels ..

Great game Matthew!

I've played many, many, many of the user levels too. Some of the user levels are more kinetic art, rather than a challenging game, and that's fine too.

I've read all of the comments here and want to add my perspective. The game is free, online, no download required, gives you the ability to create and save your creations for the world to see and play. What is there not to like about that! There are a ton of shmups out there but how many have all those features FOR FREE! The ads only pop up intermittently for 10 seconds. I can live with that.

I'll say it again... Great game Matthew!!

My fav thing to do is make a "survival" type ship. Shielded, with enough weapons to take on the army, navy, airforce and me. all at once, with heavy artillery, missiles and nukes. And a futuristic laser cannon that cuts through anything. And come out smiling. And see how long I can survive.

It's a bit of a shame that this game was reviewed so early in it's beta. 6 months later and the game really stands out due to the user-designed levels in the gallery. The default campaign isn't the center of the game, it's just a group of examples - the true core of the game is trying out other players' levels and then making your own even better.

the editor is cool but,the invalid icon error goes on me so my battleship doesent exist :(
but,true fun anyways

Are they down? I'm not getting through when I try to connect to the page.

Anyone have a mirror site or other address?

I find I'm unable to get past the between-level ads, the game freezes and I'm unable to proceed. I'm using Firefox. Anything I should know?

I started this up expecting to spend 5 minutes and ended up spending at least an hour on this. Level editor is wonderful. Try my level, Death Star. ;)

A real great game. A lot of progress over the past three years. Now with 10000 levels in the gallery and comment posting on individule level profiles and 5 moderators to police the site from innapropriate content. Looking realy good. Thanks MD.

Ship moves waaaaaaaay too slow for some of the user-generated bosses.

good game. Editor is fantastic. 5/5.

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