There are so many zombie games now that we start to lose count and only focus on the truly great titles. Unfortunately for Zombie Apocalypse, I don’t see it qualifying as ‘great’ any time soon.
That’s not to say that the game is abysmal, it just doesn’t have any outstanding qualities which make it memorable in my books.
Basically, Zombie Apocalypse focuses on mindless zombie killing to achieve overwhelmingly high scores. There’s no plot or story to the game, so I never felt as though I had anything to achieve from massacring countless zombies. A pretty typical arcade-style shooter with a point system that is solely based on wiping out enemies, rewarding you with multipliers, new weapons and most bonuses that you would expect from an arcade game of its nature.
You select one of four characters (resembles Left4Dead a little from this perspective) to fight with an arsenal of up to eleven weapons, against the masses of zombie life (maybe not ‘life’ as such) throughout a total of seven recycled environments. I say recycled, as you will find yourself replaying the same settings fairly often as you survive the 55 days of zombie infection.
The only thing that I found keeping Zombie Apocalypse enjoyable was the pretty eye-candy, and the will to beat my previous high score.
Variety comes into play here, or shall I say the lack of. A few different zombie types are present ranging from the simple undead to knife-throwing grannies and overweight construction workers (humorously named ’Big Boys’), and the difference between the seven different environments is actually very noticeable. You also have an array of different weapons that you can temporarily wield (excluding your permanently held chainsaw and assault rifle) which include shotguns, rifles, Molotov cocktails, and even C4-stuffed tickle-me-elmo sounding teddy bears.
I know what you may be thinking. ‘That sounds like a good amount of variety to me!’ - true. But this extra content does very little to alter the game play whatsoever, making the variety of the actual game feel slim to none. This lack of variety is what the game falls victim to the most.
Multiplayer is included giving you up to four-player co-op play and a typical Xbox Live Arcade online leader board is also in the mix. A number of unlockable game modes (which unfortunately fail to make the game any more interesting) are there to achieve as well, but they aren’t particularly difficult to unlock. I guess the only real outstanding part of Zombie Apocalypse is the fortunately well-developed visual design - a lot of minor details were added to compliment the atmosphere of the game and it surprisingly does feel like an apocalypse.
You play the game from a top-down view so you get a strong perspective of the maps at any given time, and the detail is very impressive, whether it be the smashed up cars scattered around or the active construction vehicles amazingly still in full motion (despite not having a driver, unless zombies know how to navigate construction equipment), the ambient visuals are superb.
The environment is not just fancy visuals either, as much of it can be used to assist in slaughtering the hordes of zombies on each map giving you boosts to your score for doing so.
Zombie Apocalypse has its strong points trying to shine through, but is unfortunately hindered by the other negative factors of the game. Relatively easy controls also help increase the entertainment value of the game a little, because you shouldn’t ever find yourself struggling to stay alive throughout most of the 55 levels that you play through. The game just isn’t too appealing unless your obsession with zombie themed games is causing you to suffer withdrawals. The development feels rushed, as if the designers focused a lot of time into making it visually stunning but didn’t really have the energy to work on the gameplay itself.
Zombie Apocalypse is definitely not terrible, however the fun just doesn’t last long enough to make the game worth recommending.