Age of Zombies is a PSP minis shoot-em-up where you play as Barry Steakfries, a wise-cracking, time-traveling action hero who is out to rid the world of the undead. You guide him through five different eras (prehistoric times, the 1930′s, Ancient Egypt, feudal Japan, and the future) as you try to shoot down as many zombies as you can before they can maul you to death. There are fifteen levels in all, with every three levels punctuated with a boss battle against a large zombified opponent (zombie T. rex, anyone?)
The game is controlled using the PSP’s analog nub for movement, and the face buttons to shoot in the eight cardinal directions (X shoots downward, the Triangle button shoots upward, etc.), and the L button is for using explosive weapons like grenades, mines, and the bazooka. While this game can also be played on the PlayStation 3, you won’t be able to use the controller’s second analog stick to make things a bit easier, as the game was designed with the PSP’s hardware capabilities in mind. After a few tries, you’ll get used to the not-quite-dual-stick setup, and shooting zombies will come easily to you.
Scoring extra points is all a matter of shooting down as many zombies as you can with whatever optional weapons you can find in crates. Getting a lot of kills with a weapon other than your pistol increases the combo multiplier. If too many zombies get on you while you’re trying to fight them off, you’ll lose a life, and losing all of your lives obviously means game over. Luckily, the game replenishes your life supply between levels, because 1-ups are pretty hard to come by here.
The game looks and sounds great, sporting bright and colorful graphics, allowing for a bunch of zombies and pools of blood to appear on screen without slowing the game down at all. Each of the stages has music to fit the era, along with an announcer to call out the power-ups you’ve picked up in that same style (the one in the prehistoric era sounds like a caveman, the one in the ’30s sounds like a movie mobster, etc.) Those, along with the goofy one-liners used by our hero give Age of Zombies a sense of style and humor not seen in many other games of its kind.One big drawback is that the game is quite short, even for a bite-sized PSP mini. You can burn through the main game mode in less than an hour, but you do get the chance to play through the levels you’ve unlocked in Survival mode and see how long you can stand against the zombie hordes. This is a good example of what the PSP minis catalog is capable of, and for just $5 USD, you could do a whole lot worse.