ziggys cosmic adventure logo

Ziggy’s Cosmic Adventure – Review

Hurtling through space, you’re on the run from the Empire. You’ve stolen a unique fuel source and they are in hot pursuit. You’re trying to stabilise your systems whilst getting shot up, powers running dry and things are looking dire. Welcome to Ziggy’s Cosmic Adventure.

Played exclusively in VR you are plonked into the cockpit of a spacefighter and a rather in-depth tutorial takes you through the systems you’ll need to manage to survive the cold of space. Aside from making sure sliders and switches stay in the correct positions, you also have power management to deal with. Each console is powered by a battery but the ship doesn’t have enough to run every console so you’ll be juggling what is important to run in moment-to-moment gameplay and also recharging the batteries when they run down.

You see the power source you’ve stolen is a strange alien dubbed “Ziggy”, place it in the correct place and it’ll recharge batteries but do it too much and you’ll drain the little dude completely. Luckily the ship is built with a 3D printer that can either print out food for Ziggy (or if you need to, Ziggy themselves).

That was just maintaining the ship systems, flying is a very different beast. It is quite simple with a flight stick and throttle right in front of you, the flight stick, in particular, was well implemented with it semi-floating in place and once you grabbed it flight became second nature with the cardinal directions operating as expected and the twist of the wrist to spin the ship. Holding down the trigger shot the guns and the throttle stayed where it was positioned unless you wanted to hold it for either a boost in speed or a reverse function.

Once you’re in the vacuum of space your goal is straightforward, just make it to the jump relay to escape to the next system. It won’t be an easy ride though as you’ll be dodging through asteroids, avoiding gunfire from stationary turrets and being pursued by a reoccurring rogues gallery of Imperial fighters, all while of course trying to keep your ship running. I would often have to judge optimal times to repair or recharge systems in between attack volleys and it was these tense situations that gave me flashbacks of “Five Nights at Freddy’s” and its time management gameplay. I’ll be honest I think I died more to systems failing than to actual combat.

The levels/systems themselves take around 15 minutes to complete and, although give the impression of an open space, they are actually giant “funnels” always leading you to your goals. This does prevent you from getting lost but it also did lead to situations where I thought I could just zip around an obstacle only to be hit by the level wall and crash into it. Thankfully this isn’t a death, but more an embarrassment as you’ll then have to hold yourself in reverse to get unstuck as there is no turning around. I believe this was a system in place so the player is always facing toward the goal which I felt was a double-edged sword in these situations.

Hidden in each level you may find supplies which can be scooped up by your ship, these can range from extra food for Ziggy to additional weapon systems or even extra batteries. 

At the end of each level, you are presented with a “Starfox” style map where you can choose your next destination (certain paths will be dependent on optional objectives during the level) and as you make your way further through the game, levels will present more challenges like extreme temperatures or navigating mines.

All this is presented in a very colourful world. Your consoles and switches are brightly lit, space isn’t a dull black but a lovely mix of colour, sounds are accompanied by visual effects, and even firing your guns produces an onomatopoeia to appear on-screen adding to the comic book/cartoon feel. The Music is nice and jaunty, adding to lighthearted and comic adventures. The sounds are crisp and clear but the voice acting is where this game stands out. The villains are nice and campy giving me the impression the actors had fun with this giving it their all. Your AI buddy reminded me of a less excitable Kryten from “Red Dwarf” who is calmly announcing your imminent death, but also not wanting their own.

Being a VR title, I was impressed with the options for comfort here. You have options for sitting or standing (I preferred sitting as I bust through the roof standing), and options to turn off effects for performance or visual comfort. They even had options for hand tracking if you fancied going controllerless, I did try this and it was very responsive and I believe that, with practice, it could be a great alternative, however, I preferred the tactile feedback controllers give.

Through my playtime, I did discover a few bugs and niggles. Checkpoints, while being quite forgiving, didn’t keep your upgrades. So those extra batteries and bombs? Gone. As well as the ship status would also get reset so having to power everything back up every time got a bit annoying.

During one mission I had to escape the explosion of a planet and kept being stopped suddenly, I finally worked out I was hitting something which appeared to be a door whose collision hadn’t turned off and a bit of jiggling was required. Resetting this particular checkpoint got repetitive very quickly.

Although you couldn’t get lost, the limited view from the front of the ship also made me miss callouts and attacking ships, creating situations where I couldn’t find objects of interest the AI kept telling me about.

Lastly, due to the nature of the narrative, cutscenes are unskippable and while they are brilliantly acted, having to repeat boss introductions lasting a couple of minutes got old quickly too.

I did have fun though. The game is a great time with bite-sized missions ideal for pick up and play with enough variations in level pathing for multiple playthroughs. Aside from the main campaign, there is also an arcade mode where you can play levels you’ve unlocked in the main game for a quick space flight. As well as achievements to unlock there is quite a lot included in this package and if you’ve been wanting a space flight experience in VR I would highly recommend it!

8/10 star rating

Developer: Stardust Collective
Publisher: Stardust Collective
Platforms: Windows, Meta





Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *