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Game Info:

SEGA AGES Fantasy Zone
Developed By: M2
Published By: Sega
Released: January 23, 2020
Available On: Switch
Genre: Action, Arcade
ESRB Rating: Everyone
Number of Players: Single-player
Price: $7.99

I would first like to thank Sega for the review key.

It's said that the classics never die, and arcade games from the early days of gaming tend to have more staying power than most. Fantasy Zone is an arcade shoot-em-up title that has been re-released for a ton of platforms, and it hopes to entertain once more with a Switch port.

Fantasy Zone is a game where you control a cute little spaceship called "Opa-Opa" and shoot all sorts of things on a free-scrolling screen until a boss shows up. The screen then enters a fixed-scroll mode as you trade fire with the boss until you take it down and can head to the next level. The game ends after the final level, which has a boss rush from all the previous levels and a final boss.

SEGA AGES Fantasy Zone
Highlights:

Strong Points: Cutesy and easy to get into arcade shooter
Weak Points: Short, not much reason to replay
Moral Warnings: Cartoony violence of the non-lethal variety

It's a shooting arcade game with a mild role-playing element. You can collect money from defeated enemies and enter a shop by touching a shop balloon that floats by in levels on occasion. You can buy firing arc powerups (which are temporary) and ship powerups (permanent until you lose all your lives). You can also husband the money for later and harder levels, should you get that far.

Being based on most of the features of the Nintendo 3DS port minus the 3DS specific features like stereoscopic view, this game has some extra modes you can unlock as well as the ability to play using the original Japanese or US version difficulty.

Graphically, this game is quite adorable, being one of the earliest "cute-em-ups" or shoot-em-ups where everything onscreen is bright, colorful, and kid-friendly looking. This port looks crystal clear on the Switch screen, true to the original Arcade version with some mild aspect tweaks for the Switch screen resolution.

SEGA AGES Fantasy Zone
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 84%
Gameplay - 17/20
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 7/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 96%
Violence - 8/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

Sounds are nothing special but fit the cutesy mood, complete with the all the blips and bloops that are standard to the cutesy shooter genre. Controls are quite simple; one button shoots, one lets you drop bombs, and you otherwise move Opa-Opa around with the directional buttons. Stability is excellent, load times are very fast, and the frame rate is perfect.

Morally, there isn't much to complain about. There is the shooting of living beings, but being a cutesy shooter, it's very sterile in depiction. Violence is cartoon level and while some enemies don't disappear after death, they visibly appear unconscious as opposed to dead. Aside from that, this is free of bad language, sexual content, or anything else that would be inappropriate.

Overall, if you want a simple, no questions asked cutesy arcade shooter game for the Switch, this port is worth the asking price.

About the Author

Daniel Cullen

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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