Z0MB1ES (on teh ph0ne) (WP) Reviews

AuthorReview
ZX KNIGHT
132,181 (72,442)
ZX KNIGHT
TA Score for this game: 268
Posted on 05 April 12 at 15:21
This review has 9 positive votes and 3 negative votes. Please log in to vote.
Z0MB1ES (on teh ph0ne) is the exclusive Windows Phone 7 (WP7) port of the Xbox Live Arcade indie hit I MAED A GAEM W1TH Z0MB1ES 1N IT!!1. It’s by Ska Studios, who if you haven’t guess like to play on internet shorthand in their game titles.

If you haven’t heard of it then IMAGWZII, for not so short, is a twin stick shooter that became a breakout hit on Xbox LIVE Arcade, selling over 300,000 downloads and helping cement the success of the dollar game as a viable gaming product.

In IMAGWZII you basically survive for as long as possible shooting zombies until you die, armed with an array of weapons from rocket launchers to laser guns. Despite the simple premise the game garnered deserved rave reviews, primarily because the overall package, with music played and sung by the developer and colourful, changing backgrounds, represented such a unique product for just a dollar.

On Z0MB1ES (on teh ph0ne) you get three games in one, to preserve the dollar a game principle, so along with a pixel perfect port of IMAGWZII you get a brand new game called Time Viking as well as Endl3ss Z0mb1es!!1, which is a variation of IMAGWZII taking you through various infinite rooms full of zombies.

The twin stick implementation across all games is excellent. They’re very responsive while being generally unobtrusive. Even so if you don’t like the guide circles that appear on either side of the screen to show you where to place your thumbs you can switch off them off in the options menu.

Time Viking takes the same twin stick principles of IMAGWZII and changes the perspective to a 2D platform one. Robot ninjas fly overheard while you direct your ‘mind bullets’ up into the air to take them down. When the ninjas die they explode into falling rubble, which collects beneath your feet and builds a tower propelling you into the sky.

If it sounds weird it plays very logically and intuitively as you try to kill the robots in such a way that ensures your tower builds evenly, allowing you more freedom of movement to avoid the falling bombs that appear periodically.

Like IMAGWZII, Time Viking has some excellent and amusing music, though it’s a lot more heavy and in your face. Lyrically it’s just as challenging:

TIME VIKING! TIME VIKING! HE’S A VIKING AND HE TRAVELS THROUGH TIME! TIME VIKING!

(That was irony by the way. I know it’s funny.)

It’s difficult following up IMAGWZII when it had such a unique flavour but Time Viking manages the balance between being a clear sister game to IMAGWZII while playing differently enough to justify it’s presence on the Z0MB1ES (on teh ph0ne) package.

The third game, Endl3ss Z0mb1es!!1, is essentially IMAGWZII but instead of play taking place in a single ‘room’ until you die, it plays across multiple areas akin to the zombie mini-game in one of those Call of Duty games all the cool kids play, or Smash TV for the rest of us. Beyond that it’s essentially the same game, if anything it’s probably a bit easier due to the limited number of zombies in each room.

Unlike Time Viking it doesn’t really provide that much of a different experience to IMAGWZII but it does have some achievements attached to it that make it worthwhile and like IMAGWZII it is still thoroughly enjoyable. It just doesn’t feel like it’s much of an individual title rather than a slightly different game mode of IMAGWZII that doesn’t play much differently. It works within the context of the overall package but it would have been nice to see some unique features incorporated.

Finally, as an extra bonus there is Mega Games Creator 2000, which allows you to crop any photo on your phone to use as zombie images in your games. It does this simply by cropping a circle out of your photo and superimposing it over the image of the zombie.

Depending on your photos it’s a nice little feature with its tongue intentionally in its cheek, the name alone being an intentionally exaggerated description for what is a simple photo cropper. It obviously doesn’t quite work as few people have lots of photos taken from a top down perspective but nonetheless it’s a nice little feature to have a play around with. I’ve replaced my zombies with images of my cat replete with glowing eyes, thus allowing me to replay scenarios from my nightmares.

Taken together, the three games provide excellent value for money for $2.99/£2.29. While none have a defined ‘end’ as such, providing infinite replayability or a tedious lack of objectives depending on your gaming preference, achievements and online leaderboards give an added incentive to keep coming back for more. One irritating aspect, especially given the endless nature of the games, is the inability to save your progress. It is possible to resume your game via multitasking, but you can’t quit out completely and come back ages later and pick up where you left off.

Therefore achievements such as gain a million points in a game have to be done in one sitting. Speaking of which, the achievements are pretty well balanced across the three games. None of them feel completely unattainable and they’re a nice mix between skill achievements, e.g kill 20 zombies in a single laser shot, and moderate grind achievements, e.g. kill 20,000 zombies across all games. That said, I don’t think it’ll take too long to get the full 200G of achievements and it continues a trend I’ve noticed where WP7 games tend to have easier achievements than their Xbox counterparts.

Z0MB1ES (on teh ph0ne) is one of the best overall packages I’ve played on the Windows Phone so far. Every aspect of the game is finely tuned and consistent with the overall presentation, from the music and in-game backgrounds to the use of internet ‘speak’ in place of standardised spelling across all the menus. It’s hard not to appreciate the effort Ska Studios have gone to to provide value for money for the gamer.

It’s great to see games like Sonic and Plants vs. Zombies appear on the Windows Phone as it’s necessary to show the platform as a viable and popular platform for games, but it’s exclusive games like Z0MB1ES (on teh ph0ne) that really excite me when it comes to gaming on the Windows Phone.

Taken from: http://zombiesatemyxbox.com/2012/01/06/wp7-game-review-z0mb1...
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