Zeus Quest: Anagenissis of Gaia was originally a Windows Mobile and PalmOS game back in 2008 which was later remastered for Steam, Android and iOS in 2016. And now, the developer (which is a single person development team), Crazysoft, has brought their hilarious point and click game to the PS4 so that we can all enjoy the crazy antics of Zeus. Don’t be put off by the aesthetic or the semi-dated graphics of this title, if you decide to skip this one then you are missing out on a rather big adventure which will have you questioning life and literally laughing out loud at how strange things get.
Zeus Quest begins with a simple cutscene which is fully narrated – a metal sphere is falling to Earth from outer space. It’s headed straight towards an island called Santorini, yet it begins to slow down as it approaches the beach of Vlychada. The object makes a quick turn and lands directly in the ocean near to the beach and lands upon the ocean floor. The unusual thing abut this is that as the ship spirals to the bottom of the ocean, the water doesn’t cave in behind it, leaving a ‘passageway’ of sorts in the ocean. Suddenly, a ‘very masculine figure’ appears from the object who quickly makes his way to the surface via the newly created pathway and proceeds to face-plant into a sunbathing woman on the beach.
After a few introduction videos on how to play the game (it’s very simple), you begin your adventure! At first, you don’t know who you are or why you were sent to this strange place, all you know is that you must recover your memories and talk to the locals in order to learn about your identity and goals. I won’t give away too much, but you are Zeus and you do have a reason for being here – upon initially setting up three items and recovering an item on the first island (which took me a few hours), you are then whisked off to another set of multiple islands and the game truly opens up. Personally, I thought the initial island was the whole game – so seeing that that was purely the beginning area really impressed me!
Throughout your adventure you will stuff goats into your pocket, strand little kids in places they can’t return from, destroy masterpieces, and even poke people with a stone pyramid – and that’s all within the first hour or so! The game really does get quite wacky at points and it does have some difficult puzzles, but there is a handy ‘help’ button which you can use as much as you need too. The question is, does the game work well on PS4 seeing as it was originally a mobile game? Let’s find out…
In terms of controls, the developer has kept things simple, which in turn also makes things a little complicated. You have a default cursor, which is used to interact with things, Square lets you move to a destination, and Circle lets you examine things – but only things in the play area, not the inventory ‘orange’ area. This means that if you pick up and item but ignore what it says the item is, it’s not possible to re-look at the item to see what you are actually holding. I feel this is the biggest flaw of the game as I found myself confused a few times purely because I didn’t realise I was holding the correct item which I needed to use.
That being said, you do have access to the ‘Tips’ option on the right, upon being pressed you will be told visually either where to go or what item to use on what person/thing. This came in handy quite a few times throughout my adventure when I got a little lost. There is no limit on how many times you can use the Tips option, but there is a short period of time you have to wait between getting a hint after you just had one.
At first, having the inventory at the side seemed strange as most games would have it at the bottom, but then I realised why this is the case after seeing images of the original where it was at the bottom. As it was originally on phones and played vertically, the screen was in a square ratio but obviously today we have widescreens at 16:9 – so placing the inventory at the side allows the game to be full screen without losing any of the original artwork – clever!
The movements of the characters are humorous themselves. I’m not sure if they are meant to be funny, but the initial walk cycle of Zeus, with his puppet-like body and joints, made me laugh – quite a lot! That along with the ‘artistic choices’ for some of the characters really makes the game stand out – the lady on the beach, for example, I’m not sure what happened to her face but it looks like someone may have either sat on it or hit it with a rather large bat! Other actions are equally as quirky, such as flopping your arms and legs around as you dance on grapes to make wine, or folding up a goat like a piece of paper and placing it in your pocket after you obtain permission to take it with you. Little things like this really help to give the game character and it makes it more enjoyable to play.
The puzzles are also quite fun but also a little bit of the ‘moon-logic’ style. Some of them are easy, a goat is hungry and craving, so you give it some of your magical food which you carry around and he instantly regains all of his health and energy. Although, some are a bit harder to guess like winning a board game to get a pass to a strip club so you can steal a thong and use it on a philosopher in order to distract him from his thoughts so you can show him a pyramid and learn more about your goal! Yeah, some of the solutions are a bit random – thank god for the Tips button though!
Personally, I thought the writing was really funny, witty and quirky, but looking online it appears some other people don’t feel the same way as me. I’m not easily offended and I see games like this as a comedic piece of media with no harm intended and everything being exaggerated purely for comedic effect. That being said, some people accused the game of being sexist, sexual objectification of women, and some casual references to suicide. Whereas I agree, I noticed them as well, I never really thought twice about it – it’s a game, it’s just a bit of fun and there is no harm was done or intended. So, if you don’t like games which has a few moments of these occurring then Zeus Quest may not be for you – but seriously, don’t be put off by it, watch my video below, it’s nothing in-your-face.
Graphically the game is a tricky one to talk about. It’s a very unusual style, yet very different to its original 2008 form. The various backgrounds of each location look hand drawn with very basic graphics; however, they do have some interesting effects going on with things like the water and the sky as they appear to be a static image which warps around to give the impression of movement. Zeus stands out as a very clean looking Action Man style with visible joints and a robotic walk cycle, with other NPCs being more blended in their joints and of a lower quality.
Audio-wise, the music is very pleasant and relaxing. I’ve had the music on in the background whilst writing this review and it really is very calm. The tracks themselves aren’t very long and you can hear it looping if you sit listening to it for a few minutes, but it’s fine as it isn’t the prominent sound – that belongs to the sound effects. The sound effects are loud and decent enough – you know what each noise is and there are no obvious drops in quality. The cutscenes and various moments have full voice acting from either Zeus, the narrator or other NPCs – all of which are delivered in a decent way with the actors reading their lines in a convincing manner. The narrator sounds a bit young but other than that, I would say the voice acting (where it appears) is pretty good.
For the platinum hunters out there – there is a platinum walkthrough out there which shows you how to get it within just over 75 minutes – so it’s a nice easy platinum game for you. For the casual player though, it should take you longer than that as you try and work things out for yourself.
First 30 mins:
Zeus Quest: Anagenissis of Gaia was a nice surprise, I enjoyed the writing and the story of the game even though there were flaws in the inventory management and lack of tool-tips. Some of the puzzles had me thinking for a while and the Tips option came in handy and pointed me in the right direction when I was stuck – so the game is fully accessible by people of all ages and skill levels. In terms of the looks, you get used to them and to me, it begins to look like the images on old Greek vases (like in Disney’s Hercules). Some may say the writing is a bit juvenile and a little school-boy humour, but if you like unusual, quirky, witty, silly fun, then you will probably have as much enjoyment as I did with this title.
**A code for the game was kindly provided by the developer for review purposes**
Zeus Quest Remastered£7.39
- Decent soundtrack which fits perfectly with the on-screen action
- Interesting story and good voice acting
- Crazy movements and gameplay interactions
- You literally never know whats coming next
- Easy platinum
- Some may find the writing a little sexist or juvenile
- Can be completed in just over an hour if using a guide
- No tool-tips or 'look' option for inventory items
- Graphics may seem a little dated (I presume it's done like that intentionally though)