Whilst many believe that zombies have had their time, being way too overused in games, there are still some experiences out there that pit zombies as our main enemy threat, yet still they find a way to bring an incredible experience.
Even some of the recent remastered zombie adventures have proven fruitful with the multiple Resident Evil remakes shining once more. If you were to ask me which zombie adventure I thought could do with an HD upgrade next on Xbox One though, my first answer would not have been the Xbox 360 Indie title, Yet Another Zombie Defense. Nevertheless, that’s exactly what we’ve got, so with my love for zombie killing, I jumped in to see if Yet Another Zombie Defense HD was a worthy zombie shooter for Xbox One.
From the off there are three different game modes to get stuck in to – Defense, Endless and Deathmatch. Defense mode pits you and up to three others in either an online or local capacity against wave after wave of zombies and demons, requiring you to do your utmost to stop them by building defences in the form of barriers and weapons. This is most definitely the mode where the majority of players will want to play. Deathmatch on the other hand is your typical shooter mode that has players battling it out to kill one another, all whilst avoiding the encroaching zombies that roam the area. Endless is, well, endless, with enemies coming in bulk and not stopping until a wave finally breaks through the defences and kills the player/s.
Unfortunately, if you’re looking for any type of story to sink your teeth into, Yet Another Zombie Defense HD certainly isn’t the game for you as there is no tale to be found. Instead the focus here is on team play, which is much better when your team are actually committed to defending rather than wasting money. But hey, I’ll get onto that later.
There are four characters available for you to enjoy these mode types with – The Guy, The Girl, The Swat and The Doc. Each of the characters come with a rather stereotypical appearance, but there’s no difference between them besides that, so it doesn’t really make any difference which one you choose to play as. This is a shame as having different stats and abilities would have made for some great tactical play rather than simply shooting everything in sight. That feels like a missed opportunity on the part of the developers.
Once into the game mode of choice, players spawn by the side of a lone lamppost and this is where you’ll make your base. To help you out you have a pistol complete with unlimited ammo, however it’s not the greatest pistol in the world. But it’ll do the job… at least for the first few waves.
The gameplay takes the form of a twin-stick shooter with the camera angled above the characters. The controls, for anyone who enjoys a good twin-stick shooter, prove comfortable and easy to pick up with the right stick controlling the direction you’re aiming your flashlight and your gun, the left stick controlling movement, RT tied to firing your weapon, and the Left and Right Bumpers allowing you to switch weapons once you’ve saved enough cash to buy something a little more suitable.
As you progress through the waves – all of which take place at night, whilst defence building takes place during the day – you’ll earn money, which is collected from the zombies you’ve killed. Not every zombie comes with cash in their back pocket, but it doesn’t take too long to gain a reasonable amount and it’s this money that is used to buy new weapons, the ammo for those weapons, and the vital defences you’ll rely on to survive.
Unfortunately, the items you can buy often see drastic price increases between each upgrade you buy. For example, an Auto Turret can be purchased for $6000 whilst the Advanced Auto Turret comes with a much heftier price tag of $12000. This is the same for all of the different defences that can be bought, but you also need to consider that each turret also needs a weapon for it, and you’ll also have to stock that weapon with ammo. One thing that quickly becomes apparent however is that you also need to watch how you plan your turrets in particular, as should you be using the same weapon you’ve placed on the turret, it will immediately start consuming your equipped ammo, leaving you defenceless in the depth of the night. That is a sure-fire way of meeting death quickly.
Buying items isn’t the only way to acquire new things however as on occasion you will find enemies also drop ammo, mines and even the odd power-up such as invincibility and health. Ideally, if you want to ensure you get the items you want, it’ll mean saving up.
If you’re playing online with random players though, then be warned now – you will need to ensure you make the most of the money management options on offer as otherwise you’ll find other players keen to spend your cash on the most useless things for your current situation. See, there are three options for your cash; you can either allow everyone to spend the money and use it as a shared resource, you can limit the amount others can spend and force them to get your permission to buy other items, or you can set yourself to be the only one who can buy things. This is an exceptionally weird mechanic given that the only real objective is to build a base on whatever you can afford and shoot every zombie and demon that comes your way, and it would have made much more sense for everyone to have their own unique money to spend. But alas, this odd choice means it’s easy to see your accrued money drained if you’re not playing with friends.
Besides money, players also gain points to level up their character in each match. With things such as health and movement speed able to be upgraded, and with enemies becoming harder and more plentiful in each wave, this is something you’ll certainly need should you wish to survive for any decent period of time.
Unfortunately, that’s all there is to Yet Another Zombie Defense HD. Despite coming with apparent upgraded visuals the game still looks exceptionally dated, the gameplay is lacking any really hearty modes and with basic characters that only differ in appearance, nothing to keep you playing and a rather dull gameplay experience on offer that quickly becomes repetitive, I have to say this is really one HD remaster we could have done without.
It may come in on the cheap side which is always a positive, but if you’re after a meaningful zombie experience, this is definitely one you can afford to leave behind.