The undead are multiplying in numbers daily, swarming all forms of media and ensuring they’re the most popular monsters on the metaphorical block. I’m not the biggest zombie fan, but I’ll never pass up the chance to kill off a few of them. So, when a game releases with a name like #KILLALLZOMBIES, I was intrigued as to whether I could indeed kill them all and if I could, how would I go about it?
#KILLALLZOMBIES (#KAZ) throws the player into the distant future, where it’s considered a sport to thrust a civilian into an arena and see how long they survive against the hordes. Survival is the aim of the game in this top-down, twin-stick shooter confined to an isometric arena. But unlike most within the survival genre, #KAZ has a potential ace up its sleeve in the form of social interaction. We’ll come back to that though.
Survival mode puts you in the middle of an arena with a minimal choice of weapons at the beginning. Once a pistol or revolver has been picked up, the waves of zombies start to encroach upon your position in vast numbers. The controls are very simple; the left stick moves the character, the right stick aims and shoots, the A button is melee and RB is a manual reload. I never went near a manual reload; instead it was best to let the game auto-reload as I had enough to worry about, you know, being surrounded by biters.
Lasting for longer than a minute is pretty tough with just the starter weapons at your disposal, however, that’s where the level-up upgrades come into play nicely. For everyone zombie killed, experience is earned and once you’ve got enough to reach the next character level you can choose one of four upgrades. What’s great is the fact that they don’t have to be used there and then; you can decide when you’d like the choices to appear. This means that you don’t have to waste an upgrade or perk on the early stages of play, thus saving the stackable level-ups for the truly hectic moments.
I still succumbed to death pretty swiftly, but I went down in a blaze of glory like any good zombie slayer should.
These upgrades/perks though… the developers Beatshapers deserve huge credit for the sheer amount of variety and ingenuity of them. Some extremely powerful weapons can come into play for a short period like a Volcano machine gun and a flare gun, which literally fires flares at zombies. Not all the level-up perks are weapon based; they can visually distort the play area, turn you into a beast with a deadly touch or offer a boost in experience points… with a twist in that it may give you the XP or it might just end your life instantly.
From time to time, powerups will appear to provide health or speed boosts and random obstacles can drop in at any point too, such as camper vans that can be exploded to take out nearby walkers – and usually myself too. It seems like the whole game is geared up to help you survive. Actually, it’s incredibly tough to last more than a few minutes, mainly due to the massive hordes chasing after you. Maybe this is where the USP of social interaction can be the saviour?
The idea is that if you Twitch stream it to the masses, people can help, or indeed hinder, your progression using chat commands. These can be as simple as ‘calldoc’ for a health kick or ‘deathfromabove’ for a handy airstrike. The rather odd term of ‘raise your dongers’ calls in a boss, something which no one wants if they want to stay alive. Sadly, not once did any of these have an effect on play throughout my many Twitch broadcasts, despite following all instructions rigorously. I was on my own in this world of zombies, I felt helpless at the thought of the impending demise and that’s a real shame because that feature may have added longevity. Let’s be honest though, even if it did work, the average Joe might struggle to get viewers organically to actually participate.
Survival isn’t the only mode though as it does offer a local coop option in the form of Cooperative mode. It basically follows the same idea just with an extra person to do the killing alongside you, which really is a case of being side-by-side due to the screen stopping players from getting too far apart. Each player has what seems half the health that is normally given and there’s no long-lasting success from what I experienced – it’s tougher trying to help your partner, as it often leaves you vulnerable to attacks.
The final mode in #KAZ is Vault Defence. Again, not much is different, the arenas are still bland and samey whilst the hordes become overwhelming in no time at all. Obviously it’s not only about your survival but also protecting the ‘Vault’ in the middle of the map. There is the inclusion of turrets, bought with cash earned by killing zombies, and these are useful if you get lucky with level-up perks to upgrade them. If not, you’ll be running in circles when the standard turrets don’t keep the enemies at bay.
#KILLALLZOMBIES offers frantic, care-free killing sprees that are enjoyable in short sessions. Eventually, after dying within three minutes and re-enacting almost the same performance – apart from the random perks – it becomes monotonous and a little pointless. The biggest mistake is in the difficulty though because without any outside interference it’s impossible to last once it throws a couple more herds of zombies in. Considering the social side wouldn’t work, it all ends up being pretty average.
I’d love to #KILLALLZOMBIES, alas I never will and my comrades cannot help me. I am alone.