Why Am I Killing All These Turtles? – Relic Hunters Zero Review

Developer: Rogue Snail
Publisher: Zueira Digital 
Review Platform: PC (Steam)
Release Date: August 18, 2015

What is Relic Hunters Zero? It’s a free to play, side-scrolling shooter with a penchant for turtle and parrot murder. The gameplay is very simple, yet somewhat challenging as difficulty ramps up very quickly throughout the game. The replay value came from its unlockable content, which opens up new gameplay options, new characters, and the ability to skip to the later stages. For background, I sunk about 3 hours into Relic Hunters Zero on PC, using a mouse and keyboard setup.

Maybe if he opened his eyes my accuracy would be better.

Relic Hunters Zero lets you play as one of 2 characters to start (more become available later). The basic goal is to fight your way through levels of enemies using a variety of weapons, collecting stars, spending them on upgrades, and finding pieces of relics, allwhile fighting homicidal turtles, parrots, and what appear to be blue meatballs with teeth and wings. Currently there are a total of 4 stages, with around 4-5 levels per stage. Each stage ramps up the difficulty, changes the scenery slightly, and introduces more difficult enemies.

Just what?

Unfortunately, it’s this repetition that bogs Relic Hunters Zero down. I never felt like any of the stages were that different from each other. They all had the same basic obstacles, and the new enemies introduced later on were only slight variations on old enemies, but with more health. The scenery doesn’t really change much either, aside from the color palette of the level. I did enjoy the overall art style of the game, but I wish that it would have varied more between enemies, stages, and levels.

Those green lines are snipers…

In general, the gameplay is very fun. It reminds me of a way toned down Hotline Miami. It’s fast-paced, but not too brutal, and feels casual. There’s nothing incredibly challenging about it, but it is fun to drop in for a few rounds.  The weapon variation was probably one of the game’s best features, as there was an expansive arsenal to play around with. However, when using any of the automatic weapons, I found myself constantly running out of ammo, having to resort to punching my way through levels (not an effective strategy).

I did find myself coming back to earlier stages to find relics and unlock more weapons to start with, but the game grew stale quick. It is important to keep in mind that this is a free-to-play title, and as such, some limitations are to be expected. To the game’s credit, I never felt like I was in a pay-to-win situation, and none of the game’s content is hidden behind any pay walls. In the current gaming climate, that’s a refreshing sight.

Overall, Relic Hunters Zero is fun, but repetitive. Shooting turtles with a variety of weapons can only be entertaining for so long, and the unlockables just weren’t enticing enough to make me want to find them all. However, this title is a good time waster, and the free price tag certainly makes it worth picking up. It is possible that further content releases could improve the game overall, but as it stands, I probably will not be going back.

Review Overview



Relic Hunters Zero is a fun free-to-play shooter, and is an excellent time waster. The art style is interesting, but the enemies and level designs don't differ that much throughout the game. There is a possibility for more content later on, and this could greatly add to replayability. Most importantly, this is one of the few free titles without a pay wall, or freemium model, and that alone makes it worth the download!

Ashton Macaulay

Ashton lives in the fairy tale village of Redmond Washington, has written a novel about a drunken monster hunter, and takes no responsibility for the sense of awe his articles might inspire.

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