Zombie Apocalypse

Zombie Game Design

Zombie Apocalypse. More fun than a barrel of zombie monkeys. Maybe.
Author: Aram Lecis
Published: October 27, 2009
If the last twin-stick shooter you played was Robotron 2084 (a damn fine game), then you might find Zombie Apocalypse to be a fun little game. If you played any twin stick shooter since Smash TV (also a damn fine game), then you might feel a lot more "meh" towards Zombie Apocalypse. It's not so much that ZA is a bad game, it's not. It's just more of a boring game. At no time when you are playing it will you say "Wow! I haven't seen THAT before!". More likely you will say "Man, I wish I was playing Super Stardust HD, Geometry Wars 2, or the extremely similar but in most ways better Burn, Zombie, Burn"

The premise behind ZA is that zombies have taken over. See, this game oozes originality! At the start you choose one of four survivors (who ought to get their asses sued by the survivors from Left 4 Dead, since they are basically clones of them) You go through 55 waves (or "days" as they call them) that feature more and more and badder and badder zombies rising up from their graves to mindlessly lumber toward you bent on eating your brains or balancing your checkbook or whatever it is that zombies get off on. Occasionally power-ups will spawn in the form of weapons and buffs for you and your intrepid friends (the game is at least 4.2% better with each friend you add on, up to 3! That's 12.6% better if you can get into a 4 player game! Add 12.6% to my review score at the end if you like!). Eventually you kill them all and another day begins with fresh zombies. (Editor's Note: Fresh zombies? I dare you to think about that)

I'd love to expound on other gameplay elements, but that is pretty much where they end. Oh wait! There are survivors who appear occasionally, and if you protect them long enough they get whisked away by a helicopter and leave behind explosive teddy bears for you. I guess that qualifies as slightly original. To make matters worse, while the game offers 55 levels, there really are only 7 levels which recycle 8 times with a few new baddies for variation. Also adding to the frustration is the fact that you can't shoot zombies until they are fully arisen form the grave, which is annoying since the grave-rising animation is terribly slow. So you may well be firing into a pile of zombies, only to realize that they've only emerged about 90% out of the ground and thus somehow are entirely immune to all your bullets.

My time with Zombie Apocalypse left me wanting that time back. It's not that the game is awful, it's just flat out boring. The fact that 3 buddies can play with you over the internet is the only thing that makes it tolerable, mainly so you can create your own Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode by making comments on how uninspiring the gameplay is. My final verdict? Let the zombies win this time!
The Verdict

Unless you have never played a twin stick shooter before, or never played a zombie game, I can't imagine you would have any reason to play through Zombie Apocalypse, unless you have 3 friends online and you are really, really bored.


The maps are kinda pretty. The sprites for your characters are kinda generic. Explosions do look decent...


Well nothing stands out about the sound, but at least it wasn't horrible!


Twin Stick Shooter. There really is no way to mess that up, is there?


Flat out boring and derivative. Repeating levels, limited enemies and weapons. Once you play the first seven days, the rest of the game has nothing to offer.