Despite the name making my inner grammar nerd twitch, what we have here in Yet Another Zombie Survivors is the latest from Awesome Games Studio; a name that has a ring of self assurance about it, no?
As a title though, Yet Another Zombie Survivors, makes no sense, but I’m guessing they wanted to work the word “Survivors” in there somewhere, perhaps to give a nod to the daddy of this particular genre, Vampire Survivors. In fact, imagine Vampire Survivors with a top three quarters isometric camera, 3D sprites and a more realistic look, and you’ve pretty much just imagined Yet Another Zombie Survivors. What’s not to like, right?
I’ve been hands-on with this one on PC, but bearing in mind this is currently an Early Access preview build, it looks impressively finished to my admittedly untrained eye. You see, I have only a weedy laptop that I tap these reviews out on, and so the fact that Yet Another Zombie Survivors will run on it means it may well run on pretty much anything.
But it’s all about the blasting and the undead that we should be worrying about. The zombies we have to fight are a varied bunch too, from shambling regular zombies, through the traditional “fat ones that explode when shot”, onto running zombies that are a complete pain in the proverbial. There are also massive boss type zombies that either try to hit you with axes or trample you into the ground.
The characters we play as are also a varied bunch, with three available to choose from at the start. All have a distinct look and style that will enable you to tell them apart easily. And the sound is also exactly as you would expect – various squishy noises as zombies are killed, whilst the gunfire and minimalistic music suits the whole “end of the world” vibe. All in all, even running through Early Access, Yet Another Zombie Survivors looks very good.
As you might expect for a game of this type, the story isn’t important. But what is important is that we have a load of zombies that we would rather were laying down instead of running around. This is where we come in. Simples!
Now, because this is a preview piece, I’m not going to rattle on about the game too much, I will save that for the full review, hoping that Yet Another Zombie Survivors comes to Xbox once the initial Steam Early Access period is up. What I will do though is give you a kind of bare bones overview of what the game is, and my thoughts about it.
Starting with the gameplay and this is very much in the Vampire Survivors mould, in that we don’t have to do anything except move around. The actual fighting is taken care of by our character, who will attack the nearest zombie to him or her at that particular time. Of course, steering a path through the eleventy million zombies that seem to be swarming you is always easier said than done!
When we begin a run, we have to choose which character we are going to play as. There is a choice of three to begin with – SWAT, who has a pistol; Tank, who comes with a shotgun; and Engineer, who is armed by default with a Taser.
As we kill zombies, they drop gold coins, and these coins give us experience that can be used to give our characters new abilities, or upgrade existing ones. As an example, the Engineer (my fave class) can upgrade his Taser into a Tesla Gun, and then upgrade it again as he goes up the ranks. He can also have an Electrocute ability that zaps zombies in a circle around him, making the most of an Electric Turret that deals damage in a circle around its position. Each character has three abilities to utilise and power up, and the choice of which one to upgrade can be a tricky one at times.
Best of all, as you explore the map of Yet Another Zombie Survivors, you will find survivors huddled on the floor; standing near them for a couple of seconds will free them. At this point, they can be sent home, immediately giving you a level up, or they can be recruited to your side. To start with, only the three starting classes can be chosen, and you can’t have more than one of each class, but having three survivors, all blasting away and running around together, makes the game a lot more fun.
And once you have a squad, the power-ups you gain are random, rerolling the choices if you don’t like them, but only a couple of times. There are also golden chests that give a passive ability, such as increased health or higher DPS. These can come in very handy, believe me!
As things stand in this early build, Yet Another Zombie Survivors is all a bit grindy, to be honest. To level up a starting character to level 2, they have to kill 5000 zombies as a squad leader, and this takes a while, especially for Tank. The extra characters all have an unlock condition too, and these are also set a bit high, I feel. However, the game is pretty good fun and not too taxing on the old brain, so for a bit of mindless blasting…
With more content promised, multiple levels (there is only one playable at the moment, the rest say “Coming soon”) and different modes to try out, it’s certainly a promising start for Yet Another Zombie Survivors.
Now if you’ll excuse me, Tank needs to kill a few more zombies!
Huge thanks go out to Awesome Games Studios for providing us with the opportunity to take a look at Yet Another Zombie Survivors on Steam. It’s currently in Early Access. We just hope it comes to Xbox in the future.