Killing zombies: If you’re a gamer, you’ve probably honed this skill all your life. Feel free to consider yourself an expert on the subject. Alive4ever Mini is the latest attempt at making that oft-cheapening experience feel brand new again. And while it doesn’t exactly succeed, it does serve up some serviceable dual-stick shooter fun. Meridian Digital’s third entry into the series doesn’t innovate, but it stays solid.
Vets from Alive 4-Everand Alive 4-Ever Returns will find themselves hurled into a decidedly cuter endeavor– some of the most adorable monsters this side of super-deformed chibis. Gone are the darker horror visuals from prior entries into the series, and in their place are color palettes that pop and adorable abominations. Lavender blobs, candy colored clowns, and grinning ghouls await your fire– just ready to be annihilated at your call.
And you’ll be doing quite a lot of that. Mini is at its heart a very typical twin stick shooter. Throughout each level you’re tasked with completing challenges, objectives, and– yes– killing zombies. Sometimes you’ll escort civvies to safety, and sometimes you’ll pick up numerous vaccines meant for curing those unfortunate enough to have been infected. At the conclusion of each mission your success is measured on several metrics: how many zombies did you slay? How many zombie souls (dropped upon the death of each zombie) did you collect? All standard fare, comfortable additions, and enhancements.
As far as the zombie carnage goes, there’s never a shortage of enemies on-screen or baddies to kill. Missions are quick and bite-sized with a decadent selection of both standard and superpowered armaments for maximum carnage. A leveling system allows dedicated players to access upgrades and stat boosts for significant improvements in zombie-slaughtering fun.
Come get some.
In-game currency is available for purchase with real-world cash, but can be earned by simply playing the game just as easily, though “real” purchases an’t exactly priced at ridiculous increments. The hangup here is you probably will never even want to spend the money– beyond upgrades and easy-to-obtain perks, Alive4ever Mini is still very much a stagnant, run-of-the-mill twin stick shooter that doesn’t offer much more than solid shooter mechanics. All the pieces fall into place the way they should, and there’s plenty to do, but one just can’t avoid the permeating feeling of “I’ve done this too many times before.” For a franchise that made its debut as an engaging shooter, that’s more than a little disappointing.
That’s not to say that Alive4ever Mini is a bad game, though. It’s fun in quick bursts, and the sticky sweet chibi monster visuals are interesting as well as the background music. It just feels more than a little like another cash-in. If you’re looking for another dual-stick shootout, Mini isn’t a terrible choice, but you might be better served investing in a series that innovates. On the other hand, there are adorable exploding zombies– and they’ve gotta count for something.