“Seriously, what is cooler than parkour and zombies?” No doubt that very thought is what many who buy Zombie Parkour Runner are thinking when they download the app. Deceived as such, I too expected a game similar to the Mirror’s Edge mobile port or the spectacular Vector, with the world’s best enemies, zombies, thrown in for good measure. Long story short, I was very disappointed.
Zombie Parkour Runner is a single-player only side-scrolling platformer centered around the increasingly popular art of free-running, or “parkour” (if you are unfamiliar, look up some videos on YouTube and prepare for your jaw to drop). Your character, anime pink-haired girl (not her name, of course, but I don’t care to find it out again) will sprint through a series of stages using free-running (in theory) to dodge, beat down, and catch zombies who have…stolen her stuff. Not a great narrative, but the plot isn’t the focus here.
The game’s stages all have you using one touch controls to slide, jump, wall-run, and kill zombies, all in an effort to reach the end of the level. There are a few collectibles around; coins that can be used to buy one-use power-ups from the in-game shop (IAPs are present there too, unfortunately), and various objects and pieces of a picture that apparently are important to the lead female, although they were significantly less important to me.
Problems crop up fairly quickly, and the game’s façade of quality rapidly degenerates. For starters, literally every move is controlled by either tapping, or tapping and holding, so the first few levels are snore-inducingly boring. However, a harsh difficulty spike hits quickly, and easy levels rapidly give way to levels that will cause unnecessary frustration, and required unfairly precise timing of your taps. (Perhaps the difficulty curve is there to make you want to purchase the power-ups?)
The running animations bothered me, since they are jerky and completely inappropriate for a game based around the fluid “free-running”, although I suppose playing Vector beforehand had spoiled me.
Monotony is also a weak spot for the game. Among other things, the level design remains fairly static, the zombie killing animations are recycled over and over, and with the sound effects and music are likewise repetitive. All wear out their welcomes for that reason.
The game also lacks real replayability, mostly because the gameplay gets repetitive and bland too quickly. Some consider this a shortcoming, but I was happy for the game to end.
There’s no need to even think about downloading this unpolished, repetitive mess. Want a decent parkour game? Try Vector or Mirror’s Edge. Want a good zombie game? Try Zombie Highway or Zombie Gunship. Don’t come to this game for either.