What would happen if the makers of Eastenders decided, at the very last minute, to direct an entire episode as an homage to Martin Scorsese?

You'd have a more interesting episode, no doubt. But you'd still be left with all the flaws of the format - the overwrought melodrama, questionable acting, and general drudgery of it all.

That's the what I thought of while I was playing Zuberion.

Taking the 'sh' out of shmup

The fact that I was thinking about Eastenders and Martin Scorsese while I was playing Zuberion should tell you that it wasn't particularly engaging.

But it also tells you something of its peculiar balance of ingredients. It's a completely generic endless flier, but with an incongruous attempt at an artistic twist.

Your sole goal is to drag a little space craft around a vertically scrolling field of play, collecting dots and avoiding obstacles.

It's like a 2D shmup without the shooting part. It's a mup.

Beige watch

I'd love to say that this is an interesting tweak to the formula, but the truth is we've seen countless examples of this before. And with tighter, more tactile controls at that.

As it is, when your floaty craft explodes having clipped a crystalline formation for the dozenth time, your mind will likely have started wondering into other things...

Where was I? Oh yes, the arty part. Zuberion makes a superficial attempt at respectability with a sparse, dare I say beige art style and an elegiac piano score.

It's pretty ill-fitting. With such a simplistic, well worn game what you want are thrills and fireworks - anything to engage you as you go through the motions.

Zuberion attempts to bring together the well travelled endless flier genre with something a little more high minded, but it ends up in a bland no-mans-land.