Not to beat around the bush, but let me just start this review off by saying I love anything with zombies in it. I got addicted to Left 4 Dead, I killed way too much time in Dead Rising, and if you don’t love Shaun of the Dead, I kind of hate you. Just a little, I’ll admit; but the hate is still there.
Now along comes Zombie Apocalypse, swaying its seductive zombie hips on the podium of Xbox Live Arcade and the PSN. Read on to see if it managed to gnaw on my delicious brain juices.
The game sees you taking on the role of one of four survivors, as you fight the baying hordes of zombies with a trusty infinite ammo assault rifle or a chainsaw as standard, with extras such as the classic shotgun making an appearance. As you progress through the days, you’ll find yourself more and more outnumbered and outmatched as the game leads you towards survival or your inevitable demise. Considering the sheer number of zombies, and special zombies such as knife-throwing grannies, expect to be seeing the game over screen… a lot.
Zombie Apocalypse, unfortunately, lets itself down in several areas. Your characters are purely aesthetic choices, making no change to the gameplay regardless of who you pick. As well as that, there is no chance to upgrade your character between levels. Whilst these flaws may lead you to say “well, the same can be said about Left 4 Dead“, and you’d be right, thank you for pointing that out, you are a clever reader, have a cookie. However, Zombie Apocalypse feels more akin to one of the flash based zombie games, in which these elements are included.
Another of the game’s issues is found in repetition, as despite boasting 55 levels it repeats the same seven areas, and after half an hour you will find the monotony overwhelming. This is incredibly disappointing as the levels the game does feature are fantastic, especially due to the possibility for environmental kills such as a gravedigger or a jet engine.
The same can be said about the downright bizarre “Zombie Bait”, which is a teddy bear that draws all zombies to it, chanting high pitched child-friendly warblings. This is mildly amusing the first time you use it, but it soon gets old, to the point a zombie gnawing on your brain sounds a better option than hearing “I’m bursting with love!” for the thousandth time.
That isn’t to say the game has no redeeming elements making it worth a play. The graphics are impressive for a downloadable arcade game, with each of the seven areas seeing a wonderful amount of detail packed into them.
The game shines in multiplayer with various rankings, from most kills to most limbs severed, and the majority of the woes of gameplay will dissipate when playing with a buddy or three. It seems that was what this game was made for, and playing it single player will just leave you frustrated.
For every aspect of this game, it just feels another game is already out there that does it better. From Bizarre Creations’ Geometry Wars to the Xbox Live indie title I MAED A GAM3 W1TH ZOMBIES 1N IT!!!1 to the flash games such as The Last Stand. It pains me to say this, as I wanted to love this game. I really did. It seems that the days where you can make a repetitive game and get off the hook are at a close: at least for me.
But who knows? Maybe there are people out there who still think it’s 1986 and are happy to put up with that. If you are not one of those people, I would recommend skipping out on this game.
From the ranking in multiplayer to the environmental kills, Zombie Apocalypse is clearly presented well.
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The game misses the beat in a few areas and just ends up feeling limited.
It feels like the soundtrack fell right out of a horror movie, however, the Zombie Bait will keep you awake at night more than anything else.
Repetition will soon set in, and the idea of playing this title for a long time does not sound appealing.
Zombie Apocalypse could have been amazing, however a few too many oversights leave it flailing in tedium and monotony.