When a game is exciting and new, it's easy to write an intro that hooks a reader in and makes them want to read more about it. Whether it's a short tease of what makes it unique, or maybe a brief story about my experience with the game, an intro can often be the easiest part of a glowing review. On the other hand, there are some games where there's just nothing to say. Take Yet Another Zombie Defense HD
, a game so unabashedly dull that its name isn't even a name, but rather a pointed statement letting you know there's nothing interesting going on here. If only I had listened.
The game has three game modes, but the core of the game is clearly defense mode. You'll fight waves and waves of zombies in this horde-style twin-stick shooter. The zombies drop power-ups, ammo and money that you'll use during intermissions to build up a "base" made entirely out of barricades and turrets, equip new weapons, and buy even more ammo. Your goal is to survive as many waves as possible and to earn points. When you die, you start over and no progress of any kind is saved. There aren't multiple levels, and the sole level you do have features literally nothing but a lamp post in it. The game is online enabled and there's even a barely-there active community for the game a few weeks after release.
What I've just described sounds more fun than it actually is, and to be clear I don't think I've just described anything that sounds remotely fun. Let's break it down. The zombies drop all kinds of goodies, but you can't pick them up in later levels because you need to be holed up behind your barricades to survive. Building itself is not remotely challenging or fun — you simply put down barricades and turrets until you run out of money and then hope that's enough. You can buy multiple weapons, but you'll quickly realize most of them are completely useless and will stick with the Shotgun and Sniper. You earn points as you survive, but the point system is never explained so it's really hard to care.
It's pretty clear I didn't find much to love about this game, but what made me actively dislike it was the complete lack of strategy. There are tons of weapons and many different kinds of enemies. This would have been a great opportunity to allow experimentation and variety to the gameplay. Instead, all the enemies may look different, but a zombie and a demon dog are functionally identical. They hit things until they die and they have a metric ton of health on higher difficulties. It's a disappointing missed opportunity that could have allowed this game to do something
worthwhile to engage the people suffering through it for 1,000 Gamerscore. Instead, you'll eventually figure out the single winning strategy and it will work flawlessly every time, making every attempt exactly the same from then on.
Survival is the other standard mode in the game. It features you running from zombies as the timer slowly increases. There's no building, so instead you'll have to resort to weapon pickups from defeated zombies. It works alright in co-op where everyone can keep killing, but my attempts to play solo were spoiled when I ran out of power-ups and my pistol simply couldn't keep up with the high HP enemies. This meant I couldn't kill them to earn more power-ups and defeat was inevitable. I did later join a game in progress where the group had survived for 68 minutes. I died a lot and resurrected for no apparent reason and all the enemies were invisible. I believe this was a game-ruining bug, but if it wasn't then it was a game ruining design decision because it certainly wasn't fun but it was really confusing.
The last mode is deathmatch. This is where you get to kill your friends or maybe you compete for zombie kills, I’m still not sure. Sadly, none of my friends play this game and no random players thought to join me over about 20 minutes of waiting during primetime on multiple nights. It seems like a mode that might be fun with a friend for about five minutes but definitely wouldn't be fun with anonymous players on the internet, which explains why no one wanted to join me for a bout of boredom.
The game's saving grace is its achievement list. It's really quite easy and could certainly be completed in less than two hours if you were dedicated. Less than one even if you knew what you were doing. You need to kill enemies with certain weapons, survive in survival for five minutes, which isn't incredibly easy, and play a round of deathmatch. You'll also need to score a million points in defense mode and kill a Reaper. Neither of these are a challenge if you use a proper strategy and ultimately the completion should be very easy.Check out our The Best Xbox Shoot 'em Up Games Available in 2018 article for a compilation of other great games in this genre.
SummaryYet Another Zombie Defense HD
is courteously to the point with its title. There's no sarcasm in its description. The game is literally yet another zombie defense game. You'd think that being so self-aware would mean that surely the game has done something unique and awesome to really set it apart from other zombie defense games. It hasn't. You might think maybe it's something altogether different. It isn't, unless being more basic than most anything else counts. It's possible to have fun playing this game, but only for one short burst during your very first game. After that, you'll be questioning why you ever spent your time with this one in the first place.
- The first time you play it you don't realize how boring it is
- You'll realize how boring it is the second time you play it
- Two of the game modes are very poorly designed
- Enemies all act exactly the same
- Only one way to play if you want to succeed
The reviewer spent one hour questioning whether reviewing games is actually worth it when you have to play games like this. He earned 14 of 27 achievements for 590 Gamerscore and couldn't be compelled to suffer through more for the completion. An Xbox One copy of the game was provided by the ID@Xbox team for the purpose of this review.