Zack Zero takes you on an action-packed platform adventure with incredible 3D graphics and the playability and entertainment of classic 2D games. Help Zack Zero save his beloved Marlene, kidnapped by the evil Zulrog in an effort to obtain the powerful substance that will allow him to travel back in time.
User reviews: Mixed (205 reviews)
Release Date: Apr 29, 2013
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Reviews

"Zack Zero is a game with a retroish look, bearing both the style and flavour of those lifelong horizontal scrolling arcade adventures but packed with a technology proper to our times."
80/100 – IGN Spain



"Zack Zero is a triumph, it's a game which is just tremendously fun to play. When Zack Zero looks into the miraculous abyss of its mechanics, classical games look back at it."
8/10 – GamesTM

Steam Big Picture

About This Game

Zack Zero takes you on an action-packed platform adventure with incredible 3D graphics and the playability and entertainment of classic 2D games. Help Zack Zero save his beloved Marlene, kidnapped by the evil Zulrog in an effort to obtain the powerful substance that will allow him to travel back in time.

Key Features


  • More than 30 characters, including 5 spectacular bosses!
  • Incredible and diverse scenarios.
  • Use Zack’s experimental suit to wield the powers of fire, ice and rock, with 10 unique skills that become increasingly powerful with use.
  • Develop Zack up to level 20, defeat enemies using a variety of creative attacks in order to reach Zack’s maximum power.
  • Find hidden objects in remote areas of each scenario, a true challenge for skilled treasure hunters.
  • Follow the storyline through animated comics that portray the game’s script.
  • Real-time online ranking system: find your friend’s scores and try to beat them.

System Requirements

    Minimum:
    • OS:Windows XP, Windows Vista SP1, Windows 7 or Windows 8
    • Processor:2.0Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo Processor or AMD equivalent
    • Memory:2 GB RAM
    • Graphics:Nvidia 8600 GT 512 MB Video Card or AMD equivalent
    • DirectX®:9.0c
    • Hard Drive:4 GB HD space
    Recommended:
    • OS:Windows 7 / Windows 8
    • Processor:Any Quad-core Intel or AMD Processor
    • Memory:4 GB RAM
    • Graphics:Nvidia GeForce GTX 275 512MB Video Card or AMD equivalent
    • DirectX®:9.0c
    • Hard Drive:4 GB HD space
Helpful customer reviews
26 of 32 people (81%) found this review helpful
5.5 hrs on record
Posted: July 14
I got Zack Zero in a bundle. I opened it up to idle for cards.
I did not expect to play it. I did not expect to LIKE it.

Needless to say, I was surprised.

Zack Zero is cartoony-style and reminds me of Ben 10 almost, in the "I-have-different-powers-that-do-things". This game has a retro feel to it, like this is something I would have played on a previous generation of consoles, similar to Tak. It's controller-friendly, and after looking at reviews I saw people complaining of input-delay but I did not experience any of this with my Onza or my FusionA.

Zack has the power of fire (fantastic for dealing with enemies), earth (great for breaking through ground, and good for AOE), and ice (slows down time, and freezes enemies). He also has his regular suit for when you run out of power. It regenerates pretty fast, so don't worry. So does the health. Overall, it's pretty forgiving. There's no lives, so no penalty on dying except for having to redo the jumping puzzle you JUST DID. There's also some hidden treasures to find.

I'm not saying Zack Zero is a great game. It's not. It's a good game. It's nothing original. But it's FUN to play. It's a nice break. Sometimes we need that.
Don't look too deeply. It's a 2.5D side scrolling platformer that's mostly polished and is a nice break for several hours. I absolutely recommend it.

I enjoyed my time with Zack Zero, and although I am not sure if it's worth the full ten, this week it's on sale for a buck and you'd be silly not to get it for that price. (and it has cards!) Also, if you've got kids in the house I'll bet they'd love it as well.
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13 of 16 people (81%) found this review helpful
2.0 hrs on record
Posted: July 15
Got this game during the weekly sale for $0.99 USD, and it is definitely worth paying and playing if you enjoy action platformers.

If you like platformers, chaining different combos for that wonderful score multiplier, and large areas to explore, then you will really like this game.

The aesthetics are very good with lots of detail in the environment. The music is nice and is appropriate for the action and atmosphere.

The controls are not overly complicated, however, chaining different combos can be fairly challenging. The learning curve is moderate, again with most of the difficulty due to the combos (if you care about increasing your multiplier to maximize your score). I strongly suggest using a control instead of the keyboard. You do not use the mouse when you play this game (even in the menu screen).

I think the game may not be fully optimized for Windows 8.1, as I cannot seem to be able to change the resolution to anything besides the default (1280x760 i believe). If I change it to anything else, the game appears to zoom into the top left, so it seriously obscures your field of vision (impractical to play this way). I do not believe there is a resolution fix at the moment.

The game starts off with a helpful tutorial that lets you most of the available skills - its similar to the original Assassin's Creed where your character is maxed out, then you start the real game debuffed back to level 1. You even get to see the stats screen that strips away all of your skills and levels.

You have 4 different suits: regular, fire, ice, and earth. You can switch to any at will, but the elemental ones drain energy - and you will automatically switch back to regular Zack once you deplete your bar (it refills fairly quickly). Each suit has different abilities and uses. For example, the fire suit can shoot fireballs (surprise!), glide in the air, and also moves the fastest. The ice suit can slow down time (extremely useful for navigating through numerous environmental hazards) and use ice attacks, freezing enemies. The earth suit cannot jump, however, it is essential for breaking through destructible obstacles and getting to secret areas.

During combat, if you switch suits and vary your attacks, you will boost your multiplier (resulting in boosts to your score). This can be tricky to master in the beginning, especially if you are not using a controller as the keys bindings are very close to each other. The game progresses in difficulty at a reasonable pace. The first few boss fights were pretty easy to defeat.

As you pick up the collectibles, you will gain experience for levelling up. I am pretty sure leveling up is automatic, as I have not been able to select which skills to invest in (mind you, I did not get very far into the game at the time of this review). There are secret areas with collectible trinkets for the achievement hunters. The stages are pretty big, allowing you a lot of space to explore.

Overall, I think any platformer junkie should give this a try, especially if you love chaining your combos and watching that multiplier go up. There is a scrolling bar that provides feedback on your score's global ranking, as well as its comparison against any of your friends who may have the game.

Recommend.

Cheers,
DJSF @DJSF's Rogue Reviews
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8 of 10 people (80%) found this review helpful
4.8 hrs on record
Posted: October 27
the essence of zack zero is awkwardness. completely, though with degrees, frustratingly. I do believe the entire work is misguided. somehow, I still believe it is based on a love of videogames, but its process of modernization only offered oversights and misinterpreted tropes. to point it out basically, crocodile entertainment struggled with the basics of their game. controlling zack in the air is lacking entirely in finesse. either right or left moves zack very quick and much too far through the air. to complete most jumps, you’ll need to alternate between left and right so you can stay centered. usually this occurs in platformers that retain momentum, but zack zero has no aerial momentum to speak of. this careless implementation makes platforming more busy than it actually demands and kills its organics. the core problem demonstrates a lack of awareness that, at least, is consistently inhibited in other areas as well. however, the game is not without merit. its environment design exhibits a convincing technical competence and obvious visual excellency.

the pallette, visual direction, and quality of models are rather impressive. most especially the pallette, zack zero is uniquely bright and colorful. a bright, saturated, bordering cel-shaded platformer, it certainly wins out on first impression. any given scene in the game is delightful, at least especially, when not in motion. as for the execution of the 3D in general, a trine comparison is an exact science. a trine foil can carry too, both games have a talent in visual design to make you stand up and say “wow is this really indie?” (through irony; indies containing excellent 3D have been relatively commonplace, we still enjoy the disparaging perceptions). yet, still like trine, there isn’t much of a visionary execution. their gorgeous assets are liberally applied to reproduce a world of cliche. trine is, however, more comfortable with its setting, and achieves an otherworldly effect to a much fuller degree than zack zero. that saying, trine doesn’t even strive to make its world especially otherworldly, I would use the word fantastical, so the obvious fault of zack zero is demonstrated.

zack zero’s beginning sequence of levels does have an offworld impact. it’s not truly alien or anything like that, but a normalized sci-fi influence at least shines through. the planet seems to be an arid jungle, inwhich is the nonstandard appeal. altogether, it’s expressive and effective. to a general degree, anyway. never does this game go above and beyond. the after locations are metallic bases and underground caves nigh exclusively. they are visually disappointing, not only because the ideas are plain, but because crocodile entertainment could only bring plainness to their ideas. in their enemy design this remains a symbol. the enemy race is, well, a barney-like dinosaur and through the game you encounter a generous maximum of 4 barney variations. most every encounter is a mob of these same bipedal reptiles, with little visual and no mechanical variation. the resulting plainness in visual and scenario design is not surprising given the example set after the first level sequence.

to put it simply, this game is unable to cope with the platformer genre as it has stood since 1988. zack zero’s platforming is seemingly competent, at first, yet after the first 2 or 3 hours, the player has experienced the majority of what zack zero has to offer from its platforming, and is expected to play through variations of the same method. I can’t even say that every level contributes at least a few new ideas, there are levels in the mid and endgame that are plainly a wasteland of ideas. it was determined that the baseline of jumping on platforms, vertically and horizontally, would suffice for the majority of the game. it can be supposed that the weakness and tapered off nature of the game’s enemies contributes to the inability to differentiate. I cannot determine what is not there. crocodile entertainment banked on zack zero having an adventurous feel, with long levels coming in all kinds of shapes and sizes, topped off with zelda puzzling. the puzzling is nice and has far more thought put into it than the platforming, but it is not good enough to carry the deadweight of the game’s core. never, if maybe one time, are the player’s powers expected to use in tandem in the game’s puzzles. they’re more like glorified locked doors; the player finds then performs the told and unchanging solution, with the variable being only which power is the solution.

zack zero’s implementation of fighting combat is, as very well expected, ignorant of its placed genre, and as a result nothing other than offensive. there are two identical punches, a homing disk-something shot, and a myriad of elemental powers. zack zero’s model is unemotive and his bland animations could be called serviceable. the fire and ice powers have particles that go beyond and obscure their hitboxes, blind the player, and look particularly garish, most especially the terrible bloom-or-whatever happens when you do a fire explosion. earth attacks are relatively goofy but at least look and feel the best. enemies typically have more exciting fighting animation and presence than zack does. in between boss phases are combative cutscenes - these really show how dead and uncharismatic the protagonist is during combat. zack always has super armor, his attacks are all fast and strong, there is no clear reason to use some attacks over others, the depth of strategy is close range or long range. which of course means that long-range is the best option. that besides, earth attacks do overwhelmingly more damage than other attacks with little sacrifice, when it comes to melee. bosses go down comically fast with nicely timed ground slams.

enemies do no more than approach zack and swing, or approach until contact. minibosses have attack patterns even more lame than a super mario boss, that is, they have one extremely easy to dodge attack performed over and over again. it doesn’t need to be said, though I’ll say it: the combat and enemy design all suck. in a complete move of utter unaware travesty, combat happens more than not within encounters, where every bad enemy needs to be beaten in order to progress. combat and platforming is rarely integrated and it is with flying enemies if it ever is. bosses start out as more puffed out versions of minibosses, then become the best part of the game. zack zero’s boss fights are the only aware and modernized aspect of the title and I can’t help but feel they’re not studied, just coincidental. nevertheless, the patterns become inventive, though never chaotic or dense, which is good and bad. since the game checkpoints between phases, bosses never offer a working challenge, yet it doesn’t stop the fights from being enjoyable.

sometimes the game has walkable floor that looks like it’s in the background. it’s really impossible to differentiate those sections from actual background. sometimes background looks like walkable floor, but then you find out it was the background. checkpoints are very frequent, so while I couldn’t get mad, I still found these moments so incredibly stupid. there is a leveling system, with experience points gained through collectibles, that locks out abilities. the combat sucks, so again I couldn’t get mad. either upgraded abilities deal no extra damage, or enemies level up with you, who knows, but I seemed to do the same damage throughout the whole game. the story is embarrassingly, hilariously bad, and the game would have been better off without any attempt at writing. the soundtrack is largely unfitting and I rarely if ever get that feeling about accompanied music. it’s strange how catastrophically bad elements of zack zero are and how it isn’t really felt in the game. it’s pitiable, the feeling I can’t shake, that crocodile really did try their best.
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5 of 6 people (83%) found this review helpful
0.9 hrs on record
Posted: July 17
I bought this game while it was on 90% discount sale. A really good 99 cents investment. Zack Zero is an excellent platformer with graphics color palette similar to sudeki with character movement similar to earthworm jim. The game has some decent cutscenes although the voice-over isnt as good as i would have appreciated; however not bad.

+Good Graphics for a 820MB game
+Fluid gameplay, no lag, no jitters unless youre in contact with enemies
+Earth, Fire and ice power morphs for gameplay variety
+Hidden locations with hidden items for a slight challenge giving it a slight puzzle game feeling
+Cutscenes with voice-over/narration
+Automatic checkpoint saves so no issues if your character falls off the platform/dies or you quit abruptly
+Fictional Alien planet exploration
+No game-bugs experienced in my time spent playing this game on my system which isnt really "latest"

-Voice-over sub-par
-Linear Storyline and slightly cliched
-The hidden levels and puzzle attempts are rather simple. Slightly more complicated situations would have been nice.
-Powers recharge very quickly so theres less strategizing on budgeting power usage. Its more about using variety of powers to get a better score

The cons mentioned arent really cons in my opinion. Ive just laid them out for those expecting those aspects.This review is strictly my opinion. I will definitely recommend this game especially when on sale. It has a very nostalgic feel to it and is a lot of fun.
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
0.8 hrs on record
Posted: October 31
If you're looking for a AAA storyline and impressive cinematic quality cut scenes, or even decent humor, forget about it. However, as craptacular as the narration, which comes off more like story time in the kids section of the book store, it starts to fall in to that "so bad it's good" category. The plot is flimsier than dollar store toiler paper, but that's what makes it funny. It feels like it was written by a grade schooler, and the character designs reflect a lot of those same sensibilities.

The gameplay is your typical run and gun platformer ala Megaman X8/9. I use that example specifically because the different powers enable you to reach certain areas, depending on what you're trying to achieve.

The models and environments are fairly well detailed, so I think I would've liked to have seen more in-engine cutscenes as opposed to the concept storyboards and would've liked to have had a voice attached to the comm notifications.

All that said, I paid a buck for this and got a lot more than that in value. Zack Zero shows a lot of promise, but go in it for the old school run and jump gamplay of the nintendo era, and try to not cringe too much at the storyline or the narrator's booming voice.

Other games like this would be Rochard and Shank.
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3 of 4 people (75%) found this review helpful
4.3 hrs on record
Posted: June 29
Zack Zero hearkens back to the late 80s, early 90s when Saturday morning cartoons and cheesy platforming mascots reigned supreme. The platforming is decent although doesn't provide much challenge. The graphics, music and overall production quality are very good for an indie platformer, although you will experience some bugs. The most common bug I experienced were the sound fx cutting out at some points. Lastly, the last level and ending of the game just scream that they didn't have the resources to properly finish the game. It really left me with a negative last impression of the game; but all things considered it was an enjoyable experience and worth picking up if you can get it for a buck or two.
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4 of 6 people (67%) found this review helpful
10.0 hrs on record
Posted: July 18
Love this game, Great fun :D
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
2.7 hrs on record
Posted: November 4
This game feels a bit like a puzzle-platformer because the player must choose the correct element in order to proceed past certain obstacles. The combat is pretty simple and enemies can be disposed of very easily. The learning curve is mellow and the overall difficulty seems pretty easy. I haven't played for more than a couple hours so the late game could change quite a bit. The pace of this game was just a bit too slow for my personal preference.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
27.0 hrs on record
Posted: August 16
In a nutshell: if you like the game's visuals and platformers as genre, buy it. (If you can get it from bundle or on sale, it's actually a great deal.)

Little longer: Zack Zero is a classic platformer: linear levels with secrets, enemies to defeat, and coins - in this case green disks? to collect. There is a little tweak: Zack has his human + 3 elemental-imbued form, each with different abilities (faster, can surf in air, slow but great defense) besides 2 activable abilities. In combat each of them can be useful, but managing over the map and storyline or reaching certain spots (and secrets) you need to use specific abilities. These features are good additions to the gameplay, but nothing broundbreaking or really new here.
The game is quite family friendly: there is absolutely no blood or gore in the game - robot enemies explode, others just "shatter". You can watch it in the game's trailer. It's like a saturday morning's superhero cartoon.
Positives and negatives

+ Nice graphics with beautiful elemental power effects
+ Enjoyable gameplay: platforming not too hard (experienced players will find it rather easy), and there are lots of checkpoints (not indicated ingame)
+ Cool-looking cartoon animation to the storytelling between levels
+ Easy achievements: can be done in 1 walkthough, or artifact collecting by "select level" option.

- Bugs (RARELY) : Not as bug-ridden as older reviews claim, but there are some clipping issues with animation. In my 26 hours of gameplay ( ~ 1.5 walkthrough) I found one platform I kept falling through when tried to jump from, and one wall I stuck in it. Second can be considered as game-breaking, had to exit to main menu then continue from prev checkpoint. Lost ~ 5 minutes of game, nothing serious.
-You start with your suit at level 20, then it gets downgraded to level 1. You see each abilities with power levels decrease, losing powers. Yet during the game your suit levels up, but you can't check/there is no indicators, for when will you get for example the stone spikes power.
- And sadly a real pain: at certain points denied backtracing. Platforms cease to exist backwards, you fall somewhere and can't climb back, things like this. But there is a "select level" option at main menu, so you shouldn't be troubled if you're going for maximising points or collecting artifacts.
- I don't remember which one, but one boss fight was just plain terrible: the camera focus is glitched or something, I had to fight while being outside of the screen. As there is 3 or 4 checkpoints even in bossfights, it's not that hard, just a really awkward situation.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
5.8 hrs on record
Posted: August 18
for $1 game, it's pretty good
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
4.6 hrs on record
Posted: July 14
Very good platform with variants and original ideas, plus sceret areas and easter eggs references to legendary 8bit platform games. Starts easy but gets tougher and tougher. Very nice gfx, no problems on my 7970M with latest Catalyst.
For all true platform lovers grown up with Turrican and other 16bit classics...
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
0.3 hrs on record
Posted: July 18
Bought this game for $1, and was impressed with what I got. Worth $10, that's for sure. Recommended if youre into this kind of game. 8/10.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
11.1 hrs on record
Posted: July 18
One of The most fun platformers so far. Love The game and woud honestfully recomend it to anyone weather you like platformers or not! Kinda laggy at some times doe but still great!
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
3.1 hrs on record
Posted: July 26
how should i put it? this game actually pretty solid. Feels like when you played some retro console "fun get-go not likely frustrating hard" platform game with decent puzzle, pretty challenging levels, good graphics and gameplay. Recommend using gamepad to play this game, i used keyboard my self (and often pressing wrong key).
The only no-fun factor in this game are...

BUUUUUUUUUGS!!

If only developer squashed all it's bugs. Come on guys this game should be FUN right! Oh and dont forget those steam cards and achievement.

7/10 Look forward for the sequel
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
5.7 hrs on record
Posted: July 26
This was one of the funnest games I have every played. I have always been a fan of side scrollers but this is so much more. Loved it, and I got if for a buck! Best buck I ever spent.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
7.7 hrs on record
Posted: November 14
Great platformer - the keyboard controls work well / epic music :) 10/10
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
1.3 hrs on record
Posted: November 8
Zack Zero is a game for an obvious young child target audience, although some of the content is questionable, the story is narrated and designed for children roughly under the age of 10. The visuals are quite good and the characters designs as well are something out of a saturday morning cartoon. The game's platforming isn't bad with the multiple forms you can transform into offering a variety of ways to progress (some forced), and although easy, it keeps in mind its target audience. The combat is also easy, and can be summarized by pressing attack and letting the lock on do its work, it takes essentially no skill but does allow the game to be accessible again to the very young demographic. Dying also seems to be of minimal penalty, further lending to the genre, which is made to be accessible. The drawbacks to this game are twofold, the first are that there are some technical issues and even I got frames per second drops occasionally without any apparent cause and the second is that if you are outside of this game's target demographic you likely will not enjoy the experience. That being said, if you are looking for a platformer for your child under 10, this game is a decent choice.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
0.9 hrs on record
Posted: August 5
Seems a little weird on the controls at first, you warm up to em quick though. Love the cutscenes... gameplay is fairly straightforward. Reminds me of old snes platformers. Enjoying it so far.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
6.7 hrs on record
Posted: August 16
Zack Zero is pretty terrible. I spent my entire playtime grumbling about its bad physics, confusing graphics, and groan inducing story. And yet, for some reason, I would still say that I enjoyed it overall.

You play as a superhero who can switch between four elemental forms, each with special powers for both fighting and moving around. Jump on platforms, fend off bad guys, maybe collect gems and treasures if you feel like it. Fairly standard platformer. The game is generous with checkpoints, so if you mess up it's no big deal. Perhaps the casual nature is what kept me going. When badness creates difficulty, progress ceases and I quickly stop caring. This game may have been lackluster, but at least I was moving through it at a decent rate.

The use of the 2.5-D perspective is one of Zack Zero's weakest points. The camera often zooms and rotates as you move through the level, which can be disorienting. It's also sometimes ambiguous what you can and can't stand on. The physics are also pretty bad. Jumping feels subtly awkward. I can't really explain it, it just feels somehow off. Then there's this glitch where you clip through a wall or floor. If it's the floor you just die and go back to the last checkpoint, but if it's a wall you may get stuck and have to go back the the main menu, which is annoying. In all cases it happened when I was touching stacks of crates, so I guess destroy those from a distance.

The art style seems to draw inspiration from Man of Action and Filmation fantasy. Cutscenes were fairly entertaining. The story is an F-5 cliche storm in which you rescue your girlfriend from an evil overlord. It has the good sense not to take itself seriously, but I don't think a silly tone excuses lazy writing. Good mechanics could more than compensate for it, but this game has no such luck.

One thing I'll say in the game's favor is that it has a handful of actual boss fights. Not just recycled minibosses (though it has those too), I mean unique enemies with lots of health and attack patterns and weak points and the like. That seems to be missing from a lot of modern games, so it's nice to see it happen here.

As I said, I enjoyed Zack Zero despite its problems, and to an extent because of them. If you like casual platformers, have a soft spot for cheesy adventure cartoons, and can get it cheap/bundled, this game may prove... acceptable.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
0.8 hrs on record
Posted: December 24
I won this game in the Christmas Gem-raffle, farmed the cards, sold them for profit.

10/10 would do again.
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