Space is a vast environment with plenty of room for exploration. The developer of new PlayStation 4 release Zotrix has decided to jet off to the realm of retro arcade games, and has delivered a classic twin-stick shooter.

There are two different game modes to choose from here: Arcade and Story. The former, as you'd expect, is a score-based option where you play through levels back-to-back until you use up a limited quota of lives. The latter, meanwhile, is a story-driven experience in which humans enter into a conflict with alien space crafts. Standard stuff, y'know.

Each stage is set up in a similar system with enemies spawning at the sides of the screen and then flying across it while firing projectiles in your general direction. There are a variety of enemy types for you to defeat, and they all have slightly different attack techniques that keep things fresh. Bosses also pop up from time to time, and will take some skill to kill.

During each stage, primary weapon power-ups will spawn randomly and will give your ship additional firepower. These are key to completing the levels as without them your ship fires a single bullet at a time with little damage or accuracy, resulting in many unfair deaths and restarts. Once you've collected three of these power-ups, however, you'll reach max firepower which will aid you in your plight.

As you shoot down alien ships, you'll accrue money and resources. You'll then be able to invest this wealth into upgrading your ship with shields, drones, secondary weapons, and nukes. Moreover, you'll be able to trade your resources for different parts. Grabbing upgrades from the shop is essential as the game soon embraces its bullet hell side and the difficulty is ramped up quickly.

The controls for the title are fluid and easy to pick up making it a much more enjoyable experience, but the user interface is very fiddly making it difficult to browse through your inventory and equip items. Ultimately, the terrible UI makes the shop and item trading experience a very lengthy process in an otherwise fast-paced and exciting shooter.

Conclusion

Zotrix is a decent if unambitious twin-stick shooter with smooth, fluid controls that are well suited to pick up and play sessions. A steep difficulty curve means that you will need patience, while the awful UI makes it a challenge to navigate the title's menus. We'd recommend this if you're desperate for an arcade-inspired blaster, but otherwise leave it in a galaxy far, far away.