• Add Review
  • Subscribe
  • Nominate
  • Submit Media
  • RSS

Sacred Reviews: Zero's Impossible Fortress


"Zero's Impossible Fortress" is a brutal platformer developed by SDHawk using Sphere. A platformer so difficult that most the people that have reviewed this game haven't beaten it and I'm simply adding another name to the list. Admittedly platformers really aren't my bread and butter so the likelihood I was going to finish this game was always pretty low considering it's high difficulty, fast learning curve, and lack of infinite lives. Though before I get into why this game is the "Dark Souls" of platformers I'd should probably talk about the story.

You play as a hero whose tasked with jumping on the villains head in order to defeat him. Unfortunately this villain has been defeated one too many times so in order to make things more difficult he's removed all of the platforms from his fortress. So in order to advance we'll have to create our own. After all, a true hero always finds a way to save a damsels in distress.


The opening bit in intentional Engrish is pretty funny. Though, if you'll actually let the game play long enough on the title screen to see it is a bit of a toss up.


To be fair, I don't know if this really counts as a true weakness, but this game is pretty old school. As a result the plot is pretty paper thin. So if your looking for a game with a lot of depth when it comes to it's characters you'll need to look elsewhere. This is a game whose narrative is only slightly deeper than a gaming classic about a plumber dodging barrels being chucked at him by an ape in order to save a damsel.


You move the hero using the w, a, s, and d keys which feels pretty weird after playing so many RPG Maker games using the arrow keys. I know this was made in a different engine, but it still feels a bit strange. Though, I suppose it would be next to impossible to play this game using the arrow keys considering your other hand needs to be using the mouse in order to draw platforms which can only be drawn if you both have a type of platform as well as a bunch of chalk or ink in order to draw the line. To make things even more challenging there are different types of platforms you can draw and you gain access to new ones as you advance through the game. It starts out pretty simple with your bog standard platform that doesn't move and quickly escalates as each new world introduces a new type of platform.

To make matters worse the game has a life system as well which is really annoying considering how hard the game is. Admittedly this seems pretty generous at first with the player starting off with fifteen lives, but I managed to lose all of them by the time I reached the midway point of the second world. Admittedly the sliding nature of the platform really messed me up since it's not exactly clear when you draw a platform how much side to side motion it's going to have. And this really through me for a loop and led to a lot of avoidable deaths.

And a few of the early areas do feel a bit stingy when it comes to the ink or whatever your using to draw the platforms. So I can easily imagine some of the later stages requiring the player to draw a bunch of super small platforms in order to survive. And you don't always have to worry about just the platforms since one of the early levels will scroll you to death if your not careful.

And to further up the challenge a lot of the areas are filled with moving spiked balls of death. If the game includes anything else I can't say since I didn't get far enough into the game to see any other types of enemies, but the instant death balls are plenty to deal with on their own since you need to make a bunch of timed jumps in this game in order to avoid them which will probably make some of the later stages an absolute nightmare. Especially if your forced to make a bunch of platforms as you try to advance faster than the screen does.


The game has a few bugs to work out. For starters your character will sometimes perform a super jump, but what exactly triggers this isn't clear to me. I've had a few go off while drawing platforms while others have happened out of the blue. To make matters worse you'll sometimes super jump into new areas and find yourself instantly killed by a spiked ball you couldn't see yet.

And in one bizarre instance I managed to jump off of the top of a spiked ball. So I'm guessing the defining edges of these balls is a bit off.


Graphically the game has a rather simple look that feels like a throwback to an older era of gaming. As such the game looks pretty nice if your into retro games or even just the look of that market.


The game largely only plays a single song in the background as you advance. Normally I wouldn't gripe that much about this in a game this simple, but there's no way to turn down the volume for the background music as far as I'm aware and it's overly loud in my opinion.


"Zero's Impossible Fortress" is a highly challenging game that will appeal to those looking for a challenging platformer to conquer, but will push more casual players of this genre away in a hurry. As such I can only recommend people seek this out if your looking for a challenge or absolutely love platforming.