Zeno Clash is all about fists and fantasy. It’s characterised by the joy of discovery, those splendid moments where the game world escapes from its constrained format and spills out into glorious, open dreamscapes, filled with exotic beasts and dripping with alien culture. It’s also characterised by punching a giant bird in its beaky face.
It’s a first-person brawler, punctuated by brief sections of exploration and of shooting. Its standard FPS mechanics feel weak, its adventuring never quite substantial enough. But, my goodness, the brawling is joyous. A combination of clicks and mouse movement powers up a range of combos, each landing with a breathtaking admiration for kinetic energy. In Zeno Clash, fighting is brutal.
It’s also occasionally clumsy, thanks to a lock-on system that excels in one-on-one fights but flails when pitted against multiple opponents, as you usually are. And despite a relatively short length, it strays towards repetition in its later stages. Yet the sheer intensity of the fighting, coupled with its bizarre world and imaginative set-pieces, makes Zeno Clash an absolute delight to romp through.