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The most successful apps on the iTunes store are the ones which revolve around simple, easy to manage mechanics without any intrusive on screen joysticks or broken tilt controls. Appy Entertainment’s Zombie Pizza doesn’t possess any of these problems, but it is let down by its lack of genuine gameplay.
In years prior, I’ve become way too familiar with the rush and stress of working in a pizza shop on a busy Friday night or first Monday of the school holidays. Zombie Pizza’s clever little back story is the world has been taken over by zombies, and it’s your job to stay alive and work at ‘Zombonies Pizza’ to feed an army of the living dead their favorite food… pizzas?
Actually making the pizzas is done in an industrialized style kitchen where the ingredients are spat out onto a conveyor belt for you to throw onto a pizza base, and then, literally throw them out the window. There are a few different recipes that must be followed in order to not fail the level and keep the zombies at bay. As each base consists of four sections, these recipes are well thought out, as they don’t require specific types of ingredients.
There must be either two pairs, four different or four of the same ingredients on each pizza. After completing a pizza, they must be thrown to the zombies by swiping up on the screen with your stylus; it’s a nice touch that is a bit more interactive then tapping a generic “done” button.
Getting the ingredients onto the pizza from the conveyor belt is done by simply dragging each item off the belt and onto a quarter of a base. A mechanic that works relatively well during the opening levels when there is room between items. It’s during the later levels (divided into four weeks) when there is no accurate way to select anything on the belts. This quickly becomes a mad storm of swiping randomly hoping for the correct ingredients to land on the pizzas.
The difficulty curve in Zombie Pizza begins slowly with gold medals (based on the amount and value of pizzas made) easily earned in the first three weeks (21 levels). It’s in the fourth week that a combination of three different bases and multiple ‘special orders’ had me failing days over and over, just after easily passing the previous level. The addition of multiple bases, new ingredients and jars (which need to be broken to reveal ingredients) are just means to artificially elongate the game without actually introducing any new content.
None of this is helped by the game’s Mario-esque Pizza shop owner “Zombini” whos-a Italian accent gets-a old really fast…a
All things aside, Zombie Pizza does a great job of creating a panicked and rushed atmosphere, a feeling I know only too well. Playing Zombie Pizza with headphones will allow players to enjoy the various moans, groans and screams of the undead, which if you’re running a little behind, will really start to get to you.
The constant beating of zombie fits on the pizza shop window also add to the tension and will actually get rowdier as you fall further and further behind in your orders. Although, this may be overlooked by most players, as a meter indicates how close you are to failing. It’s kind of disappointing to see the obvious hard work that went into the sound design is lost and then replaced by an obnoxious meter.
Zombie Pizza doesn’t necessarily do anything severely wrong. However, underneath the pretty façade is a game that just doesn’t do enough to entice the player and keep him/her engaged past the first week or two of playing.
Zombie Pizza: 4/10