From Nihilistic Software comes one of the few titles that just warmed my heart when I saw it earlier at this year’s E3; Zombie Apocalypse. This downloadable title for Xbox LIVE Arcade and PSN is a top down shooter in the same vein as Geometry Wars, but with zombies… lots and lots of zombies!
How Does It Play?
Starting up Zombie Apocalypse has you choose a character and get right down to the action. Your main weapon is a chochkie little gun with unlimited ammo but as each level progresses, more powerful guns with limited ammo will drop into the levels such as shotguns, rifles and dual SMGs. You are also equipped with a chainsaw to use as your melee weapon and to perform executions. The name of the game is all about surviving and getting a high score. Killing zombies builds your score and certain actions like chainsaw executions add to your score multiplier. Saving uninfected humans awards you with Teddy Bear Bait which, when used, acts the same way as a pipe bomb does in the Left 4 Dead series by attracting zombies then exploding. The gameplay is fun and the difficulty is pretty gradual though towards the later levels you will be begging your friends to help you with this thing.
Special zombies such as Pukers, Big Boys, Grannys and many others that reveal themselves as you progress into the higher levels of the game all have special attributes and abilities which you can sometimes use to your advantage. You fight off hordes of zombies in small arena sized environments set in locales like cemeteries, junk yards and city streets all with specific traps to destroy zombies. Taking out zombies using environment traps are fun at first but in later levels you will be so overrun with zombies to even pay attention to these traps.
How Does It Look?
The characters and environments all look nice as they keep things pretty basic. The animations however are interesting to see and translate very well which is very necessary in a game like this where all the characters look small. You will really need a high definition monitor or TV to really appreciate the visuals. A small problem is that you will absolutely have to have an HD display in later levels otherwise you will be at a gameplay disadvantage. For example, on a standard definition TV it is almost impossible to see the knives that the Granny throws at you and, because these knives kill you in one hit, things will get really frustrating really fast.
The character designs of the special zombies don’t seem like they are made to be creative as much as they seem like they are made to be recognizable; same situation with the environments. This isn’t necessarily bad but it does feels like the whole game’s art style could have been pushed a little further.
How Does It Sound?
Seriously, the voice acting in this game borders between “That’s pretty funny” to “Down right annoying!” which actually seems like it might be intentional just to get a rise out of the player. Every one of the main characters belts out a goofy quip when they survive a level; the especially goofy one-liners come from the overly stereotypical comic geek. The funniest dialogue in the entire game actually comes from the Teddy Bear Bait when it is thrown. In a Snuggle Bear type of voice it will attract zombies with quotes like “I’m stuffed with love… and C4.”
The Final Verdict
Zombie Apocalypse is basically Left 4 Dead light; there’s even four different playable characters who can all play together either locally or online. Although the four Zombie Apocalypse characters are nowhere near as relatable or as interesting as the characters in Left 4 Dead 1 and 2. Then again, this game was never meant to be that deep; it’s fun to play by yourself but it’s even more fun to play with other players. Zombie Apocalypse might not excel artistically but it’s definitely worth having when you have a group of friends over.