Case in point: there are probably more zombie games on the indie games section of the Xbox 360 Live Arcade than ever before.
You can say thank you to “The Walking Dead” for that.
While many of these games try to make a quick buck off a cool concept, many of them are just that- wastes of money. Mancebo Games’ “Zombies Ruined My Day” is different though. Incorporating gameplay elements from classic titles such as “Elevator Action” and “Smash TV” and a sweet look from games the likes of “Plants vs. Zombies” and “Castle Crashers,” killing zombies is both strategic and bloody fun.
The two analog stick control scheme works well for most shooters and it serves this game well. It’s easy to pick zombies off from the other side of the screen and even though it takes skill [These zombies don’t go down easy.], the game, in spite of its sometimes-cruel difficulty, is never impossible. Using your ammo wisely for strong weapons is essentially the name of the game. That level of strategy is the last thing you’d expect to see in a shoot-em-up, but it’s the thing that makes “Zombies Ruined My Day” so enjoyable. A jump button allows for some added strategy; maneuvering in between zombies is usually the difference between life and death. The amount of weapons to choose from also spices up the gameplay and makes you think more than you think you would.
With no health bar and death coming to your character from a mere touch of a zombie, you have to be perfect. Every move you make counts. While it’s possible to play the game recklessly and have some level of success, those who go for a run and gun style won’t be able to get past the first few stages.
It would have been easy to make this a game that relies solely on quick hands and button-mashing. Action-packed shooters are always a blast, but there’s little that separates them from one another. The inclusion of projectile weapons and barricades to block zombies effectively takes this title from a cute 2D shooter to one that you’ll remember.
The visuals too, while being nothing to bark at when compared to full games on the 360, are something special as far as the indie games on the console go. Colorful and sporting solid animations, you’d be hard pressed to find a game as polished on the indie game channel.
The best selling point for the title however is the price. For 80 Microsoft points, you get a few hours of gameplay with no hiccups. The story is no-frills, but the presentation is solid and sets up the killer gameplay without a hitch. Indie designers who want to take a note on how to make a decent game would be best served by checking this one out.
Challenging and a polished arcade experience, there aren’t much better ways to spend a buck on Xbox Live.
Patrick Hickey Jr.
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