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0 Day screen 1

0 Day Attack on Earth may be the single most unnecessary release on the Xbox Live Arcade service.  There are plenty of other twin-stick shooters that do it better and feel like actual “fun” instead of a tedious chore, which is what 0 Day devolves into after one paltry level.

Is it actually bad, or just boring?  Well, it’s a a lot of both, actually. At least it has a cool Google Earth-like map backdrop.

0 Day Attack on Earth is the latest Square Enix-published XBLA debacle. 0 Day takes a standard twin-stick shooter formula, removes the fun, gives you a very short firing range, reuses enemies like nobody’s business, and has a BGM loop of approximately forty-five seconds.  Oh, and it’s 1200 Microsoft Points, three times the price of the similar, yet far superior, Xbox Live Indie Game Beat Hazard.   Now, let’s delve into exactly what makes 0 Day so un-fun.

It doesn’t throw any surprises at you, first off.  You move with the left stick, fire with the right, the right bumper shoots a screen-clearing bomb, and the left bumper activates a speed boost.  You collect power-ups from fallen enemies to power your ship’s weapons up to two levels, and you’ll need to do this on every new level in order to beat the main targets (indicated by red dots on your mini-map) within the too-short five minute time limit.  And you only get three lives and three bombs per life before it’s game over: enjoy.

0 Day screen 2

“0 Day” is the day the aliens invaded Earth in the game’s thin B-movie sci-fi plot.  Each level is another day that you must fight off streams of similar aliens across three different cities, and each city has seven days/levels, with the last being an uninteresting boss fight.  New York, Tokyo, and Paris all have their own set of uninspired aliens, but the actual act of blowing them up is just so… tedious.  Wave after wave of aliens look and feel exactly the same, and the look isn’t even that impressive, as the baddies look like they flew straight out of a PS2 game.  Also, there are red clouds all over the map to keep you from flying around at top speed.  Touch a cloud; lose some health.

The sole cool feature is the backdrop.  They used satellite images of the three cities to make you feel like you are really defending them from attacking aliens.  But that’s as far as it goes.  They aren’t destructible, even the few towering buildings that rise far enough to get in your way.  You’ll recognize a few landmarks, and the effect is unique, but it contributes nothing of real substance to make the game less of a chore.

So, besides twenty-one levels of the same thing, does 0 Day Attack on Earth offer anything good?  There’s online multiplayer, the only way to earn the variety of new ships new ship colors.  Well, there’s the capability of online multiplayer.  After setting up numerous matches at all times over the course of a few days, I only found two people online throughout.  Then, the matches were so laggy that they were basically unplayable.  There’s also Command Point (King of the Hill) and Capture the Flag modes, but they take up to eight people and there was not a single person online in either of those, ever.  It’s going to be hard to get those achievements that way.

0 Day screen 3

Speaking of achievements, one requires you to get all the ranks.  By playing games at higher difficulties, with high scores, and a few deaths (maybe?), you can increase in rank through the various levels of the armed forces.  Unfortunately, you are also demoted for playing poorly, playing the lower levels, dying, and your teammate getting shot.  The system of leveling up doesn’t tell you what to do, or how close you are.  Aimlessness seems to be the theme of the evening, as you’ll often get demoted a rank even after beating a level.  At least you get five achievement points just for entering the main menu, a solid tie for easiest achievement of all time with The Simpsons Game.

In the end, I resorted to replaying the final boss (the only beatable level that didn’t seem keen on demoting me for no apparent reason) on hard difficulty numerous times for the 50-point “Earn all the ranks” achievement.  Luckily, I also picked up the “Die 256 times” 30-point achievement along the way.  Still, those are hours I will never get back.  Why’d I stick with it? The entire ranking system seems to be the buildup to a bad joke, so I’ll just ruin it here for you so you don’t have to waste $15 on this game: the ranks advance through airmen, sergeants, lieutenants, generals, General of the Air Force, and then President.

“Why haven’t I gotten the achievement yet?”  Keep playing, and eventually level up to First Lady.  Higher ranked and more powerful than the president.   And for a second there, I didn’t think I’d be able to find anything to make me like this game any less.  Good joke, Square Enix.

Rating Category
5.0 Presentation
The graphics look like they jumped out of a PS2 launch title over a pretty, but ultimately pointless, satellite image backdrop.
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5.0 Gameplay
0 Day Attack on Earth is standard twin-stick shooter fare. It contains tight controls, but the firing range is too short, and the repetitive enemy models drain the fun out of the title.
3.0 Sound
The score tries to be sweeping and orchestral, but the 45-second BGM loop kills any chance it had. The pew-pew and boom-boom sounds were probably also taken from the Internet Stockpile of Overused Sci-Fi Sounds.
2.5 Longevity
I couldn't imagine anyone actually finishing the game. Multiplayer might extend the replayability if there was ever a single soul online.
4.0 Overall
You can find far superior twin-stick shooters on the Xbox Live Indie Games service for a third of the price as this tedious heap of un-fun.

  1. This game looked shite from the moment it was announced on XBLA.

  2. I was wondering why you were playing this game so much, I noticed on xbox live. Just from the looks I could tell that I wasn’t spending $15 dollars on the title.

  3. Yeah…what a mistake I made. *sigh*

  4. Hahaha Chris I told you not to buy it! Let’s co-op for those 10 achievement points! Pain is more fun together.

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