While there are about a zillion games on the App store featuring zombies, and the idea of playing another one may sound about as much fun as pulling teeth, sometimes a gem will come along that makes us take notice. ‘Apocalypse Max: Better Dead Than Undead’ by Wandake games is one such game. While it’s a pretty simplistic idea, this is one game that may make you overlook your zombie ennui.
The first thing you’re going to notice when you first start Max is that the game has some of the slickest graphics you’ve ever seen. Featuring 20 terrifying and huge levels for Max to plow through, you’ll swear you’re playing an Xbox Live game. You fight through lush, gaseous swamps, creepy and terrifying cemeteries and sterile-looking research facilities. The levels are all amazing looking. Detailed and multilayered, every grimy, dirty and nasty nook and cranny of this game has been lovingly hand-crafted and sometimes the backgrounds look like they were ripped straight from an old-school horror movie from the ’80s and ’90s. Production designers from Army of Darkness would be proud.
“Zombie just want hug!”
Just as much care has been given to your shambling enemy’s look as well. While there aren’t that many different looking zombies, the ones that are there all have a unique look to them. There are fat shambling butchers, giant undead cops with their guts hanging out, and knife throwing freaks with uncanny accuracy. You also fight against creepy looking pulsating vultures that drop exploding eggs and strange creepy, crawly spider things. Killing these guys is some of the most fun you’ll ever have, and the death animations, by the way, are some of the sickest and disturbingly enjoyable you’ll see. A jumping knife attack splits them vertically, and they spurt gallons of blood when you pelt them with bullets.
As good as the games looks, it plays even better. The controls just might be the best we’ve ever used for an iOS platformer. You have buttons for moving, jumping, firing your guns and changing weapons. For close combat you swipe your fingers left and right to use your knife to cut a swath through your brain eating-foes. The game uses an auto-aim function which really helps when things get too hectic, although it goes a little haywire when you’ve got enemies above and below you and it’s not sure where to aim. It also takes some practice getting used to the jumping and swiping combinations if you want to get really good with the knife. But once you do get used to it, it’s like second nature and you find yourself pureeing zombies with glee.
If you don’t pay your parking tickets, even death won’t stop the cops from coming after you.
As you play through the game you find gold in boxes, coffins, lockers, and enemies drop it too. You can use this cash in-between levels to buy better weapons, ammo, grenades and health. You can also spend real-world money to get more gold, but we never felt like we needed to do this. We made it through the game just fine while using gold we found while playing.
Apocalypse Max is right up there with games like League of Evil 2. It is one of the very best platformers out there, if not the best. The graphics are fantastic, the controls are a dream and the action is sharp and fun. Our only real problem with the game is that it’s somewhat short, and there’s not a whole lot of replay value. That being said, if you want to play one of the very best games for the platform (or any platform for that matter) than you can’t do much better than this one.