When Barry Steakfries is sent back in time to battle zombies, he encounters a zombie Tyrannosaurus Rex in prehistoric times. As impressive as this boss encounter could be, it ends up feeling small and predictable, and when the T-Rex is dead, Barry quips that he’s better off having known him. Ok, but what about us?
Age of Zombies is the latest game from Halfbrick, the studio behind the best-selling Fruit Ninja games and Canabalt-style high score runner Monster Dash. Barry Steakfries hardly says a word in Monster Dash, but in Age of Zombies he won’t shut up. He’s surprisingly foul-mouthed, too, which may upset parents who assume that Halfbrick’s games are all as family-friendly as Fruit Ninja.
Barry travels to five different time periods (prehistoric times, a 1930s gangland, ancient Egypt, feudal Japan, and the future) to blast away the zombie menace using twin-stick controls. In each stage, a few new zombies are introduced, along with appropriate background music and sound effects.
Taking the “zombie animal” concept to a new level.
For example, Barry grunts in a caveman voice when he picks up a power-up in prehistoric times, and he uses a wiseguy accent in the 1930s gangster level. It’s a fun detail, and it complements Barry’s amusing dialogue. Barry’s banter is pretty funny, and he’ll fire snappy one-liners at a machine gun-rate.
Another thing we liked about Age of Zombies is the sheer number of onscreen enemies you’ll have to mow down. Instead of dying with one touch like in many shooters, Barry can withstand a few seconds of zombie clawing before he dies. It’s frightening to see a horde of zombies hone in on you, but the campaign mode can be pretty easy if you keep your distance and head straight for the game’s multiple power-ups.
These power-ups are not nearly as clever as the ones Barry used in Monster Dash. There’s no machine gun jetpack, for example, and instead you’ll have to make do with the same old machine guns, shotguns, and grenades we’re used to from countless other games.
Land of the rising dead.
Except for the boss fights, we found Age of Zombies’ campaign mode to be fairly dull. The clever settings, dialogue, and sound effects don’t really make up for the fact that you’ll continually run and gun in small, enclosed environments without much gameplay variation. Age of Zombies is purely an action game, but we wish it didn’t have to feel so mindless.
Age of Zombies also lets you replay any level in survival mode and post your high scores on OpenFeint and Game Center. As a simple high-score shooter, Age of Zombies is worth a purchase, but we did find the campaign mode to be a bit lacking. Halfbrick is also promising more updates for Age of Zombies, and they’ve impressed us in the past with their continued support of both Fruit Ninja and Monster Dash. For now, Age of Zombies is just a simple shooter, but we do have to admire its style.