mikelemmer's Containment: The Zombie Puzzler (PC) review

A Braindead Puzzler

Time Played: 2 hrs.

Time Spent Chatting on Side: 90 min.

Game Overs: 1

Manual Dexterity Required: Moderate

What I'd Pay: $2

Steam Price (3/6/12): $5

This puzzler was made for zombies: it rewards fast movement and barely acknowledges thoughtful gameplay. The end result? Something that barely registered as a distraction and left me feeling disinterested from beginning to end.

Containment follows a group of survivors as they try to flee an infested town. The survivors are conveniently color-coded into Blue Cops, Green Soldiers, Pink Medics, and Orange Punks. They also work well together; surround a group of zombies with similar-colored survivors and they all die. Depending which survivors you kill them with, you may also get an item from the slaughter you can use to kill more zombies. Once you clear the board of zombies, you move on to the next puzzle. There's some environmental effects you can activate with a click, and some special zombies that require a bit more thought to eliminate, but the game mainly sticks to "just surround and kill them."

Swap faster! Zombies a'comin'!

In fact, it sticks to it too well. Although the game acknowledges combos and chains, they are hard to set up for no apparent reward. Zombies advance and eat survivors based on real-time, not how many moves you make, so carefully setting up combos backfires more often than not. Finally, while many of the items & effects can take out survivors as well as zombies, there's usually no consequences for doing so; if you have any gaps in your mob, reinforcements usually stream in from off-screen to replace them. There's several puzzles where eliminating survivors actually makes solving them easier. The game encourages you to quickly set up basic kills, not bother with combos, and not worry if your items take out a few survivors. The end result is a clickfest that barely registers any thought besides "where can I find the other 3 green dudes to finish this loop?"

Undead sorcerers: reduced to a minor gag.

I might've gotten some enjoyment out of the story, if it was suitably campy. Unfortunately, the plot drops a few interesting tidbits and just leaves them sprawled on the floor. Two levels set up zombie wizards appearing at a Ren Faire at the local park... and then never does anything with them except use their existence as a gag. The various samples you gather for the scientists? Never mentioned again. Even the final stage hints at approaching a university science lab (and, perhaps, the source of the malady), only to meander into a climax pitting you against a mysterious T-rex skeleton in a church and just... stalling there. The ending of the game doesn't involve them cutting off the source, finding a cure, or getting the hell out of Dodge. It involves them deciding, "Well, we killed a T-rex, we'll just stay here and take whatever the zombies throw at us." That is one of the lamest, most lackluster endings I have ever seen in a game, especially when they could have made something up involving zombie wizards & undead gorilla samples. They do nothing with zombies wizards! How do you ignore that hook?!

Between the braindead gameplay, the meandering story with a stalled ending, and the generically gritty graphics, I see nothing to recommend in this game. Avoid unless desperate.

1 Comments
Posted by me3639

Just my 2 cents. I agree with a lot of your observations. I think its worth mentioning this was an iOS port and it feels that way. The other severe problem beyond creating chains, as you mentioned, is the angle of the crowd and color pallet makes it difficult sometimes to see what citizen you need to switch in order to surround a zombie. I also didnt like that there wasnt some sort of board blow up when there were no solutions available. This exclusion makes you  have to restart the level. I also encountered occasional lock ups when opening ammo boxes, and survival mode is either broken, or just crazy difficult. This is not a good finalized product, but there is a lot of potential to build on for the future. 
 
Keep up the good work Mike.

Other reviews for Containment: The Zombie Puzzler (PC)

    Ok entertainment for the price 0

    Containment: The Zombie Puzzler is a puzzle game with a zombie theme, if it wasn't already obvious.The game-play at its core is color based, you swap two survivors at a time in order to surround the zombies on the map. Once you surround a zombie, or multiple zombies, with the same color/type of survivor, you kill it. Depending on what kind of zombie it is, that might be it. Also, depending on which type of survivor you kill them with, will give you a chance at a power-up dropping. They vary in u...

    0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

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