Tag Zen Studios

Circus Electrique

Circus Electrique

They say the show must go on and at the Circus Electrique that is just as true, whether it is battling robotic police or fighting to recruit a new circus member.

The folks at Zen Studios are mostly known for their Pinball centered game but sometimes branch out and do something new. Circus Electrique is one of those attempts by venturing into the turn based JRPG genre. Players take control of managing the circus and part of that is protecting the Ringmaster’s niece. Starting with only a clown and a strongman you must beat back the two police officers that wish to take her and her lion away.

Visually the game looks great with the old time vibes of the circus mixed with a steampunk aesthetic. Controls are extremely simple to learn and the story is a bit slow, requiring lots of reading. I don’t mind reading a subtitle here and there but the amount of dialogue there is would have been much improved by including some audio to either narrate or voice the characters. The turn based mechanics work well and the give a ton of options for each character. Overall I enjoyed the game but would have enjoyed the story much more had the characters been voiced for their conversations.

Dread Nautical a voyage in Eldritch Horror

Dread Nautical

Dread Nautical is a tactics based horror game with an Eldritch twist.

In Dread Nautical you are on a cruise ship sailing through the Bermuda Triangle. What could possibly go wrong? This title from Zen Studios attempts to answer just that by putting players on a luxury cruise and everything goes to hell rather quickly.

You might as well be Bill Murray because you get thrown into a Groundhog Day situation where each day you wake up and the day starts over. Playing as Fargo Drexler you must solve the mystery of what is going on and why you wake up back where you started each time you sound the ship’s horn.

Conceptually a cruise ship in the middle of the Bermuda Triangle makes for an interesting locale and the introduction of Eldritch creatures make for a story that leaves you wondering what is behind your new world of horrors. Controls are quite easy to master as you maneuver the ship but where this game really lacks is the visuals. The visuals look very similar to the original Virtua Fighter game and feels out of place among the many other titles in their library– namely Pinball Fx. I was expecting something a bit flashier but it is not enough to take away from the experience. The gameplay is enjoyable enough but the game just comes off feeling tedious.