Developed by Paw Print Games
and to be published by nDreams
, Bloody Zombies
is an action, beat 'em up set in a post-apocalyptic London where zombies are hungry for the brains of you and up to three friends. The title made its way up north last weekend and paid a visit to the Play Expo Blackpool
event put together as usual by Replay Events
. I sat down with Dan Sheridan
, communications manager at nDreams, as he guided me through the first couple of levels of the game in four player local co-op and even let me have a go in virtual reality too.
What originally looked like a two player attempt with just Dan and me turned into four players as a couple of other event attendees sat down to join in on the fun. Four characters were available to choose from: Teller, Mick ‘The Brick’, Rei, & Eddie. Besides appearance, there wasn't any noticeable difference among the four characters. It was cool to see Dan's character equip a Vr headset because he was doing the same.
We began with the first level of the story mode which presented us with very impressive hand-drawn, cartoon-style graphics. The controls of the side-scrolling brawler would likely seem familiar to anyone who's played in the beat 'em up genre. The enemies we came across were either already on screen or spawned from the ground but we handled them with ease seeing as there was four of us and normally not more than four enemies at the same time on the screen. We took out the first set of enemies with a barrage of punches and Dan was even pulling off some fancy combos and seeming to juggle his enemies in the air.
As we moved on, billboards and signs in the background would make us aware of different moves we could use such as a special uppercut attack that dealt more damage and had the chance to propel the enemy into the air. There was also the ability to sprint as well by double-tapping the directional pad. The signs were great for learning on the go; it only took a minute or so to get used to gameplay as the game was true to its pick up and play style.
Enemies came with different weapons and abilities and could use basic melee attacks, medium-range melee attacks, and some of the zombies would have spikes on their back to defend themselves from aerial maneuvers. Zombies could even carry knives that allowed more range on their melee and also the opportunity to deal more damage per blow. The basic and weaponless zombies were very easy to take on but the weapon-toting undead or those with abilities presented more of a challenge forcing us to keep a sharper eye out for these special types of enemies. Each player needed to keep an eye on their health bars located at the top of the screen and even though special attacks made fighting easier, they could only be used a few times before the respective meter needed to slowly refill.
With Dan donning the VR headset, he had an advantage: he was able to see further around him. The game is a side-scrolling brawler, similar to the likes of Streets of Rage
with its pace and fighting style, but when using VR, you can look to the right to see what's ahead. You can even discover secrets in a level by looking up, where there may be a secret room you can access. In a particular section in the first level, Dan used the VR to locate a secret area, climb up to it, and find some goodies like health and a weapon. For us non-VR players, we couldn't see exactly where he had gone but if we wanted to, we could still access the same area if we followed behind him. The addition of VR was initially confusing but when I saw it in use it became an impressive asset to the game.
The squad came across a crate that revealed four weapons for us to use once we opened it. As expected, we were able to deal more damage and had slightly better range with the use of the lead pipes. We still could drop the weapons upon being hit so we had to remember to actually pick them up before moving on otherwise they would be gone forever. The weapons felt satisfying and the urgency was there to pick them back up whenever they were dropped.
Our first boss fight was against a bigger and badder skeleton-looking zombie packed with more health and heavier attacks. The boss mainly attacked us with heavy melee swings that packed much longer range than standard enemies. Careful timing was necessary to attack it without being damaged but as it was the first attempt for three out of the four players at the time, we took a lot of damage among the group though we managed to win the battle without losing any team members.
I took a shot in the second stage with the VR headset equipped. Everything was the same within the game as I still used the controller to move and fight with my character except now I had an extended field of view. I was able to take advantage of this and give the rest of the squad a heads up on a spike-filled rolling obstacle we needed to try and run from near the end of the level. We still would've seen it anyway and it wouldn't have dropped down earlier but it was still nice to give the squad a heads up. I was also able to pick up a weapon from a secret area on the way too. As cool as this was, the VR isn't necessary to discover the secrets in the game as there will be clues and even arrows to point you in the right direction towards hidden areas and rooms.
The characters will all fight with the same style but each offers unique special moves that are unlocked through level progression and killing enemies. These different options will allow for players to build around their style of fighting. As you make your way through the game, you will have three lives but when playing co-op locally or online, players will be able to revive their team mates who are down. If you're playing solo or with just one or two other players, the difficulty level will scale accordingly. Progress will be saved automatically and there will be the option to select completed levels again.Bloody Zombies
will be released on Xbox One and a specific release date is yet to be announced.