Giant Bomb Review

37 Comments

Zombie Apocalypse Review

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Zombie Apocalypse brings dual-joystick shooting and zombies together in a really unimaginative way.


The game rolls out new enemy types as you progress. 
The rise of console-based downloadable services brought with it what now seems like about a billion different dual-joystick shooters. The success of films like 28 Days Later and the continued success of the Resident Evil series have brought zombies back to the forefront of popular culture in a way that's still managing to cause all sorts of zombie fervor across several different mediums. Both things, however, feel like they're just about past the tipping point and have become pretty overexposed. So the release of a dual-joystick shooter where you fight back hordes of zombies almost feels like some sort of cynical commentary on the state of game development, or like someone just sort of gave up and decided to develop the interactive equivalent of the lowest common denominator. Nihilistic's Zombie Apocalypse is that game. It's unimaginative across the board, offering up a boilerplate setting with sub-par gameplay mechanics.

The one thing that sets Zombie Apocalypse apart from the pack of other dual-joystick games out there is that it can be played by four players simultaneously over the Internet. You don't get that sort of multiplayer out of most downloadable games of this sort, but it only goes so far. The game itself has you pick one of four characters, and then you must survive by blasting your way through wave after wave of zombies. The first few waves only have regular zombies, which will grab you if they can, but you can usually shake them off by rattling the joysticks around a bit. Later waves introduce more dangerous opponents, including (but not limited to) big guys that fall on you immediately without giving you time to struggle, zombies armed with throwing knives, others with shotguns, and still others with explosives. The exploding zombies, which burst after one shot, are especially annoying, because the game's camera angle doesn't always make it easy to judge the distance between you and your target... leading to plenty of cases where you shoot an exploding zombie only to go down with it. Judging distance makes the projectile zombies a bit trickier than they should be, too.

By default, you're armed with a standard rifle that has a good rate of fire and does a decent amount of damage. Weapon power-ups appear with regularity, giving you access to shotguns, flamethrowers, molotov cocktails, a chaingun, a rifle that shoots through multiple targets, and so on. You'll also occasionally get the chance to rescue a survivor, which gives you a teddy bear filled with explosives that, when tossed, draws the attention of nearby zombies. You also have a chainsaw that you can use to clear things out when the horde gets too close, but you're usually fine with your projectile weapons.

 Occasionally you'll be thrown into a dark version of one of the game's seven basic stages.
While the game continues on for a lot of levels, there are only seven different areas in the game. So you rotate through these seven stages again and again as the game becomes more difficult. Getting through the game, however, isn't much of a challenge, as running out of lives merely pops up a continue screen, letting you pick up directly where you left off, mid-level. The only penalty is that the game's leaderboards only track games that start on the first level, so continuing your game won't give you a higher score.

Other than being very cookie-cutter, both in gameplay and in subject matter, the way it cycles through a handful of level designs makes the game look really repetitive, and the game never really feels like it requires much skill. Most deaths seem to come from not noticing a zombie that spawned behind you, or by misjudging the distance on an exploding zombie, but since death doesn't matter much, the game feels like a real drag. Zombies will often spawn all around you, but you have to wait for them to complete their crawling out of the ground animation before your attacks register, which is also a little annoying.

Zombie Apocalypse is a boring dual-joystick shooter that lacks the speed and intensity that the best games in the genre all share. Throw in a generic zombie theme and you're left with something that feels like it'd be a neat free Left 4 Dead mod. As a standalone commercial product, though, it's lacking at every turn. Jeff Gerstmann on Google+
37 Comments
Posted by Damien

Displeased Jeff is displeased.

Posted by Meltbrain

Yup. Exactly what I expected from what you had to say on the Bombcast. Shame, really... but even starting to make a game with that concept was an uphill battle from the get go.

Posted by eroticfishcake

Jeff is most unhappy.

Posted by AlexB

Didn't look too promising to begin with

Posted by Crono

Too bad.  The concept had a lot of room to work with and become something at least rewarding.  Oh well.

Posted by Romination

just saying, isn't bringing a dual joystick shooter AND a zombie game together completely unoriginal already?
just saying...

Posted by SJSchmidt93

Yeah, I played the demo, there's nothing fundamentally broken with the gameplay it's just boring and dull. 

Posted by ToxicFruit

I actually liked the game, but it got pretty dull the more i got into it

Posted by Kohe321

Great review :)

Posted by rufo

You guys need to talk about I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MBIES 1NIT!!!1. 
 
No, seriously, it's awesome. And it's an Indie game. And it costs a dollar. 
 
The less you know, the better.

Posted by RHCPfan24

Gah, doesn't look good.

Posted by eduardo

This game makes a good first impression but it gets really repetitive soon, I agree.

Posted by WinterSnowblind
A lot of people were really swearing by this game, but when I finally played it, yeah.. I was pretty underwhelmed.  It's not bad, just very redundant.
 
@rufo said:
" You guys need to talk about I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MBIES 1NIT!!!1.  No, seriously, it's awesome. And it's an Indie game. And it costs a dollar.  The less you know, the better. "
I'd definitely recommend this instead.  It's very similar gameplay, but much simpler and 100x more enjoyable.  Plus it's only a dollar.  
In my opinion it's the first Indie game that's really worth owning, everyone should definitely at least check out the trial.  I promise you'll laugh :)
Edited by ptc

I liked the  demo, and I still might purchase, mainly for the multiplayer.  I'm interested in the local co-op...
 
 
I already picked up I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MBIES 1NIT!!!1  Now that is some fun, goofy stuff.  Well worth the $1 asking price.

Posted by KinjiroSSD

Demo was boring so I'm not surprised. I guess I'll wait on Dead Nation.

Posted by Akeldama

bought it for trophies 

Posted by Usagi

I played the demo and based solely on that Zombie Apocalypse was very uninspired and uninteresting.

Posted by vhold

Robotron clones have jumped the shark bad.  You'd think after the success of Castle Crashers we'd be seeing more stylish beat-em-up games.

Posted by _Horde

Was pretty repetetive, but playing it with a friend was actually not half-bad. Spent a day playing it and enjoyed it a lot!

Posted by graf1k

It's certainly not an original concept but it's one of the more fun arcade games I've played recently. The 4 player co-op actually works, which is more than I can say for a lot of arcade and even retail games when they first come out. Between that and the fact that the game is exactly what Left 4 Dead would be if it played like Geometry Wars, I think it's worth $10 easily.

Posted by Caddy

I actually quite like the game, but I'm a huge sucker for dual-stick shooters.

Posted by Yummylee

Bleh, burn zombie burn is all i need for my zombie slaughterage >8) 

Posted by Dethfish

I played the demo (which isn't enough to really judge a game, I know) and it was bad. It seemed like a copy of a couple different games. The survivors are practically copies from L4D. The gameplay is basically " I Made a Game With Zombies in it" (a $1 indie game) only worse but with better graphics. The only thing I enjoyed in the demo was the zombie bait things. They made me laugh a bit.

Posted by President_Evil

skip this and download the awesome and hilarious XBLA Indie Game "I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MB1ES!!!1 :D" 
  
only 80 mspoints as well.

Posted by BRNK

 A teddy bear that attract the zombies, then explodes? REALLY? Why not just call this Cry of Responsibility, Nazi Zombie Apocalypse?

Posted by Yummylee

Wow, even lost itself another star durin its actual post on the site @.@
Posted by spilledmilkfactory

i thought the demo was pretty fun... now i'm not sure whether or not to put down the 10 bucks. i guess it depends on my friend's willingness to play through with me. btw, does anybody know if this has splitscreen multiplayer, or just online?

Posted by Warskull

I have to agree it is pretty bland.  It really feels like it was just whipped up to try and cash in on Left 4 Dead bringing back zombie games.  Play the demo and you have experienced everything you need to know about this game.

Edited by troncoparati

 

I MAED A GAM3 W1TH ZOMBIES 1N IT!!!1 This is a really fun zombie game and it's only 1 dollar.  I guess you guys missed this, in that case go check it out.

Posted by spiceninja

I assume that most people commenting on this review don't listen to the Bombcast and if you do then you don't pay attention. Jeff really doesn't like zombie games anymore and I know he'd never want to play 
I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MBIES 1NIT!!!1.

Posted by OneKillWonder_

Bullshit. This game is pretty damn fun, as long as you have friends to play with.

Posted by SubaS77

hehe good review Jeff, but i myself actually really like this game. I'm a sucker for games like robotron and zombies!
Posted by bluemantra

I'm enjoying this game a lot. I'd atleast give it a 4/5

Posted by afterburner1978

I also jumped on I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MBIES 1NIT!!!1. 
    
Totally worth more than the asking price of $1. 4 players support and music are great! I love playing it with my kids.
Posted by Lind_L_Taylor

I'd like it more if it was $5 rather than $10.

Posted by UgotPwned

I felt ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE was a pretty good game. I only found it appealing when i played with my friends and even then after a few days it just felt like it was lacking variety. The seven multi-player modes will make you feel like it wasn't a waste of money but in the end the only 2 modes you will be playing will be 7 days of hell and all weapons. In the end you are better off buying the new left 4 dead DLC . 

Posted by AndyMP

Considering getting this although this review has me wondering if it won't be one of those arcade games that I get, play once and never load up again.