Imagine being a zombie for a moment. Imagine walking around in circles, with half your stomach hanging out, looking for human brains. Imagine having a scant memory of your little life before this, so now you end up lurching around a shopping mall or a playground, groaning and bored. Now imagine being a zombie but also controlling your own zombie army to do your every whim, sound good? Well in I, Zombie that’s exactly what you get to do.
The walking dead are back and they’ve got some tactics. That tactic is you.
I, Zombie is a true original in its concept. I’ve been racking my brains and I don’t remember another game that makes the hero a zombie. That notion on its own makes the game great fun, right from the start, and that concept doesn’t get boring. The game is a tabletop, strategic, action skill based game. Think Command and Conquer meets Angry Birds meets The Walking Dead and you might get an idea of what’s in store for you. In reality it’s a perfect mobile game where you can do a level in a couple of minutes, if you’re good enough, and still get off at the next stop on the commute. How does this work on the console? Well it’s pretty good up to a certain point, but then fatigue can set in on those tricky levels.
The gameplay puts you in charge of your zombie friend and the point of the game is to bite all the inhabitants of the level, so they turn into zombies and you can control them to bite more innocents until everyone is undead, thus ending the level. The people you are biting are a mixture of the general public, some scientists and then there are the soldiers. This is when the tricky bit of the game comes along, because the soldiers have guns and these guns kill you in a flash. What you have to do is rush the soldier in numbers, so if there are two solders’, three or more zombies should do the job in turning them to your side.
You have to work out carefully how to manage your zombie hoard, when to strike and when to hide. You control them with three simple commands; you can get them to attack, follow you, or stop. In certain tricky levels your zombie cannot move so you have to control another using those commands to come and release you. There are also super soldiers with more powerful guns that you just have to avoid and machine gun turrets that you have just run past.
Each level gets harder and trickier to get around and you really have to work out your route a few times through trial and death, before getting it right. When you complete a level, the time taken is saved and placed onto the world leaderboard. You also get a star upon completion of a level, with three stars meaning you did all the tasks, quickest time, saved all zombies etc…one star meaning you did the bare minimum. It’s the same as the mobile game progress in Angry Birds or Cut the Rope, but with one significant difference.
In those games you use the stars to unlock new levels or worlds as you progress through the game. Sometimes you have to re-run a level to get the perfect three stars in order to progress. In I, Zombie there is no need for this as the next level opens up as soon as you complete one, making the star system a bit redundant. Also there are only thirty levels to complete, which sounds like a lot if you’re comparing it to any other game, but these levels can be done very quickly. You find yourself finished with the zombie masses in quite a short time, without many other options to explore, except the chance to replay the levels for higher star ratings.
It would be nice to see some DLC coming along in the future to boost this very short experience, but as I am now on a moan, another thing that infuriated me while playing through certain levels was the difficulty. Now I’m not saying it shouldn’t be difficult, but there were rare times when my progress seemed by random chance, rather than simply skill based.
In the looks department the game is what you would expect from such a low-level budget game as this. Its cartoon styles and bold colourful characters are basic but a lot of fun. I really like the zombies look and the level design is simple but effective. With the sound you have some nice background tracks that don’t get annoying over the million times you replay the level. I especially liked a kind of jazzy piano track that had me dancing around the room. Effects are simple again, but work well within the context of the game and surroundings.
So to conclude, should you embrace the zombie life and see what it’s like on the other side? Well it’s a great concept and the game is fun in short bursts, but it is very short coming in around 90 min straight through and very little reason to play again once you completed it all. BUT it is £3.20, which is great value to take a punt on. I can’t get a coffee for less then £3.50 where I live and even if I could, that would be gone in ten minutes. Here you get over an hours worth of fun and no chance of spilling it down your top.
Be a zombie, you might never turn back.