Your reward for completion: trying to figure out how to work the store. Now, maybe I don’t play enough games with stores, but this one just seemed to be guns and bullets and armour and boxes and buttons and letters and gold and stuff and stuff and stuff. I felt like I was at one of those Chinese restaurants with upwards of 200 items on the menu in a big long list with no succulent descriptions. Listen, devs: if you want me to buy something in your store, you need to pitch it to me.
Should you get it? Well, if you’re looking for a right bloody down-home slash-em-up gore and gook fest, you’re really not getting that here. If, however, you were looking for something that reminds you of an 80s-style Japanese-export arcade game from back in the days of 4fps animation to compensate for limited processor power, with a wee bit of cartoon blood, give it a pop. You’re probably not, but like I said, it’s unique.
Also unique: Zoombie Digger World Tour. Zombie animals are attacking your castle, and there are three ways to eliminate them:
- Fling them back with a flick, but they keep coming.
- Shoot something at them with a slingshot by tapping them.
- The preferred method: digging holes in their path, they fall in, and then you cover them with dirt.
I’m not quite sure how this became a zombie game. I mean, the animals are kind of primitively cute, if undead, but even the brains and entrails are sort of lovable. It was like someone wanted to make a cute game (called Goombie World Tour or something), and got through 80% of making it, then the investor/boss dropped in for a vertical slice. Thirty seconds into the playthrough he pulled the cigar out of his mouth and declared, “You know what sells games these days? Zombies. Make it happen.” And then he walked out. Bish bash bosh, Zoombie World Tour .
Ah, hang on. Animals = Zoo = Zoombie. And there it is.
Admittedly, the menu design is rather nice, but as mamma always says, “Menu design’ll only git yeh so far in this world.” My advice: stay clear of this one.
Anyway, it’s Lamebo time! So, Lamebo is a sheep with a stogie and a gun and a really irritating voice, and he’s shooting zombie farmers and zombie slugs and things (there’s a very surreal, painterly, graphic-novelesque, weird-ass opening cut-scene that tells you why).
Game controls are dead simple – tap to shoot. Word of advice, though: you’ll be wanting to upgrade to an automatic ASAP to avoid bruising of the distal phalanges.
Between you and me, it’s a nice bit of irreverent, over-the-top, self-deprecating stupid fun that you should probably only play when you were alone. I suppose you could try it on the bus, but you’d always be looking over your shoulder to see if fellow passengers are judging you. And they will be, especially if you’ve left the sound on. There’s a particularly annoying singing zombie farmer that I could easily do without.
By the way, you may be thinking the name “Lambo” would have been closer to both “Rambo” and “Lamb”, but obviously the thought of a sheep with a gun was a bit “lame” so they took it one level further away and called it “Lamebo”. I appreciated the extra step.
Thorn: Zombie Dungeon Survival. Yeah, go on, might as well grab this one too if you need something to do while your wife’s watching Next Top Model. Should keep you entertained for about an hour, but probably not much more.
Talking game play alone, Thorn is kind of a poor-man’s Gauntlet or Diablo. It’s a dungeon maze with skeletons, and not much more. It took me a few levels to realise it’s not about a clean sweep, it’s about getting out before the timer runs out. Not sure if this is an enhancement or a dehancement though.
What makes this game smirk-worthy more than anything else is the fact that the zombies all have names. When you encounter a baddie, the standard energy bar pops up over his head, but instead of saying “Skeleton” or “Zombie” it says “Phil” or “Jeremy”. Don’t know why, but I loved this.
And finally, we’ll round out the gore fest with Zombie Highway. Well produced, top notch 3D animation and physics, smooth driving engine, nice sound, shiny menus, slick interface, easy to learn, easy to play, stuff to achieve, stuff to unlock. And Free. Sounds like all the hallmarks of a winner.
But did I love it? Meh. Shrug. It was fine. And I can’t even tell you what was sub-awesome about it. You know how some games grab you, and others just don’t? This one didn’t but I felt like it should have. I don’t know, maybe I just like the quirky, irreverent, tongue-in-cheek stuff. This was too clean and shiny for a zombie game, it lacked the grit and slop and grossness.
Sounds oxymoronic to say this, but it lacked soul. (At the same time, it was bloody free, so what am I really complaining about here? Grab it.)
Right, so that’s eight zombie games weighed, measured and mostly found wanting. Knowing from experience that violent video gamers have short attention spans, I thought I’d sum everything up in this handy chart:
|Game||Intro/Production Level||Gameplay||What my wife thought||Aftermath||Get?|
|Ball||Decent comic-style intro with right level of sarcasm||Absurd yet simple fun.||Stupid.||Sore neck from hunching over.||Meh.|
|Juice||Nice balance of slick and silly.||Goofy high-octane finger aerobics.||Irritating.||Slight smile of satisfaction, if only because it irritates wife.||Why not? It’s free!|
|Panic||Stylish 8-bit arcade feel with one-time intro.||Hard to grasp, but unique.||Ugh.||Confusion upon reflection of what just occurred.||Shrug?|
|Vendetta||Don’t.||Don’t.||(Rolled eyes)||Sadness at time lost to playing this.||Never. Not even as a joke.|
|Zoombie||Lovely menus!||Stodgy, random and confusing.||Weird.||Combination of all other aftermaths except sore neck.||No.|
|Lamebo||Quirky, weird, but enjoyable.||Dead easy and funnish.||Huh?||Sore index finger.||Sure.|
|Thorn||Cool in a silly way.||Dead easy, fun enough.||Rubbish.||Small smirk.||Okay.|
|Highway||High quality, professional and smooth. Too smooth, almost.||Decent, but a bit directionless.||(Scoffing noise)||Hollow emptiness.||You’ll probably like it more than I did.|
Overall, nothing out of the above had me neglecting my children so I could nip off and squeeze in a few more minutes of game time. In my opinion, that’s epic failure. But then, I never said these were the best; like I said, they were just rattling about in the bottom of the AppAddict barrel. If these were the finest zombie games the App Store had to offer, I think it would be best for all of humanity to just sever the whole genre at the neck so it stays on the pavement for good.
For the sake of all things undead, please feel compelled to drop a comment on here that’ll point me and others in the direction of some proper surefire post-apocalyptic gems. After all, zombies need love too.