Zet Zillions Review

Play your cards stylishly.
Zet Zillions header

Zet Zillions is here, and it’s loud, quirky, and just full to the brim of cannons firing people at planets. It takes a lot to stand out amongst the crowd of roguelike deckbuilders nowadays. Not only do you have Slay the Spire 2 on its way at some point, which is a sequel to the game that helped launch this genre as a staple, but you’ve also got excellent options that iterate on the formula like Monster Train, Dicefolk, Across the Obelisk, and plenty more.

As something of a connoisseur of the genre, I think that there are two main ways to really make your mark. One is by subverting expectations and adding in new gameplay and strategy options, a la Monster Train with its tower defence stylings, Dicefolk with its creature-catching, and Across the Obelisk with its impressively well-designed co-op. The other is by simply having a lot of style. I’d argue that Zet Zillions falls into the latter category.

Zet Zillions feels like what would happen if you smashed Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann and a roguelike deckbuilder together, blended the chaotic goop that resulted from it, and then added a protein powder for a little extra nutrition. If you don’t know what Gurren Lagann is, it’s an anime that you should go and watch, but ideally only after you’ve finished reading this review.

Zet Zillions combat

Aside from the usual roguelike deckbuilder bits like choosing a path through each map and playing cards, Zet Zillions allows you to attack in different ways, fuse cards, and build up armour that actually sticks around. The use of armour is interesting, because you could theoretically create a deck that’s all about just hunkering down and dealing chip damage, but it’s not easy to do.

Fusing cards is also a fun way to keep you thinking on your feet. A fused card might do something one of the cards was going to do but better, or it might do something completely different. Learning what’s going to do what is a big part of the learning curve here. Finally, you can attack an enemy by hurting them, but also by launching population to stun them. All three of these ideas are fun little tweaks to the established genre, but they don’t really do enough to make it feel truly fresh, unlike the visual style.

Zet Zillions card fusion

Zet Zillions, while enjoyable, feels more like it’s trying to show you something than have you get really stuck into the mechanical side of the gameplay. It’s about visual flair and a slightly gross-out feel to the universe in which it takes place. That same vibe is true of OTA IMON Studios’ first game, Wolfstride – that game felt a lot more interesting to me, though.

I don’t think that Zet Zillions is bad by any margin. Zet Zillions has got a great gameplay loop, characters you’ll love to hate, or love, or be annoyed by, and plenty of tactical flair too, but it’s just not quite doing enough to be worthy of the same high praise as some others in the genre.

Summary
If you like the visual style and haven't played a roguelike deckbuilder in a while then you'll likely adore Zet Zillions, but for those who live and breathe the genre, it might feel a bit uninspired at times.
Good
  • Great visual style
  • Fun fusion system
Bad
  • Feels overly familiar in terms of gameplay
  • Takes a while for builds to get going
7
Written by
Jason can often be found writing guides or reviewing games that are meant to be hard. Other than that he occasionally roams around a gym and also spends a lot of time squidging his daughter's face.