Bzzzt is a fast-paced platformer developed by Karel Matejka and published by CINEMAX, s.r.o. that claims to have a pleasant challenge, beautiful pixel art, amazing music, and 50 stages to conquer; let’s see what this unconventionally named title has to offer.
You play as ZX, a cute little AI that has been transferred into a robot body created by a kind scientist and his assistant. However, not all things are well. Former employee Badbert has convinced himself that they were creating some sort of super weapon and now plans to steal it… whatever it is. And so, ZX must stop Badbert's evil schemes before it's too late. You know, looking at this story summary, it really sounds like a Mega Man story, doesn't it? There aren't robot masters or anything, but a primarily blue robot going out on an adventure to save the world from a mad scientist isn't exactly unique. But I liked it; it really fits the overall aesthetic and style, and they do throw in some twists and turns in there to keep things exciting.
Speaking of which, let’s talk about the graphics and music, which it boasts on the Steam page. The pixel art is really beautiful. Despite how busy some levels can seem, everything is clear on where to go while also looking good. The little character sprites are especially fun to look at, and damn, the music is really catchy, with chiptunes that really make your adventure all the more exciting. I really want to listen to the soundtrack outside of the game, but unfortunately, it isn’t available at the time of writing. Still, once it is out, I thoroughly recommend buying it because it is just that great.
Pretty graphics and great music are one thing, but what about gameplay? Before you start, you’ll need to choose a difficulty: Easy, Normal, or Insane. Easy gives you three hits before you die, Normal gives you one, and on Insane, you only get seven lives for the entire game. Lose them all? Your saved file is deleted. Yeah… I played on Normal for this review. You can change it to Easy at any time, but Insane requires a fresh save.
Now, the game primarily tasks you with making your way through trap-filled levels in order to make it to the exit without exploding into pieces. The platforming feels good, with movement that feels fast and intuitive. Jumping is smooth with a natural arc, and the later abilities you unlock, like double jump and dash, are used very smartly. Levels only last a minute or two at most, so your time with the game will be short. However, there is some replayability to be found here. Every level has spare parts to collect and a “Trophy Time” to beat. I did these challenges as soon as I saw the timer on the top-right of the screen, although I do want to point out that these level times factor in collecting all the spare parts, so if you ignore them, you could probably beat these times easily. Seriously, one of the levels featured falling spare parts, but the level exit is right there. There was nothing stopping you from beating the level in six seconds when the time to beat was 25 seconds.
Now, I do want to mention that there is a shoot ‘em up section at the end of the first act. While controlling the ship feels fine, the laser gun doesn’t fire as fast as it should if you hold down the fire button. Want the maximum fire rate and ensure you collect all the spare parts? I hope you like carpal tunnel because the ship fires as fast as you can tap the button. Is it possible to complete the section without doing that? Probably, but it was certainly easier as long as my physical stamina didn’t give out.
Now, here is where I would usually talk about technical performance and my general gripes… but I already covered them earlier in this review. The game runs perfectly fine, and I didn't encounter any glitches or anything notable. I think the playtime is appropriate, only lasting two to three hours, counting all the deaths and level resets.
Bzzzt is definitely everything I want in a retro platformer. It's fun despite its difficulty, with great controls and music to make you keep going even after 100 deaths. Its pick-up-and-play style makes it easy to get into, the music is worth listening to outside of the game, and has some good replayability. I can see 100% speedruns of this game being pretty amazing. I cannot recommend this game enough.
Bzzzt is available on PC via Steam, the Epic Games Store, and GOG.
Bzzzt (Reviewed on Windows)
Excellent. Look out for this one.
Bzzzt is definitely everything I want in a retro-style platformer. It's fun with great controls and music to make you keep going even after 100 deaths. I cannot recommend this game enough.