You can’t swing a spiked baseball bat without hitting a zombie game in the App Store, which means that zombie games have to be special to stand out. Unfortunately, ‘Zombie Terminator’ is a slow shambler among the undead horde.
There’s no plot or story, just a hero and a gun. Even the mission map is decorative, since all it does is serve as a backdrop with three missions randomly located upon it. All you need to do is load up on ammo, pick a mission, then move right and left on the screen killing zombies.
“Hey dudes, let’s go for a burger! Ha ha ha!”
So far, so good. Killing the undead is always an entertaining diversion, and the first few levels go by quickly as you meet the different varieties of zombies and missions. There’s not much variation — cops are tougher, dogs are faster, some missions are time-based, others count your kills or ask you to travel a certain distance — but there’s enough to keep you going.
The game also lets you try out the high-level weapons early on, which is a smart bit of design. Mowing down the bad guys with a laser or ice gun is an effective tease that motivates you to keep playing and level up.
Unfortunately, the game turns into a grind between levels five and ten. By that point, you’ve seen everything it has to offer. The missions don’t change; they just require more time, more zombies, or more distance. A few optional boss missions pop up, but they’re uninspiring. The mission distribution system is also sloppy, often giving you two or three ‘choices’ of the same random mission. The zombies get more numerous and harder to kill, but they don’t give you enough experience points to keep you leveling up at a satisfying pace.
Looking for one Sarah Connor.
It seems likely that this stretch of the game was intended to frustrate players and trigger in-app purchases of the better weapons teased earlier. The new weapons are expensive, though, and most players will prefer to grind through the levels in the hope that their experience will improve when they have new gear. That hope makes the game all the more disappointing when you finally reach level 10, unlock the next weapon, and it is now dramatically underpowered compared to your enemies.
There are details that show some care and attention to the game’s design, from health packs and a ‘roll past the zombies’ button to a variant heroine with a different set of guns. If the experience point curve and the pace of levelling up worked, then Zombie Terminator would be an average game that was at least fun to play.
As it stands, though, Zombie Terminator is a waste of time. There are many better zombie games out there, including the recent Walking Dead: Assault. Go battle those hordes instead!