We learned something new from playing iZombieland, and that is that banjos can be a weapon of mass destruction. One of the special moves for your bluegrass-pickin’ zombie killer Tallahassee is to pluck out a short tune, which makes all nearby zombies’ heads explode. They must have been rock-and-roll fans before they became zombies.
The banjo is just one of the unique weapons you’ll use to bust some heads in iZombieland, which is based on the new movie. In this side-scroller, you’ll wield more conventional weapons like pistols, shotguns, and an assault rifle, in addition to clever extras like golf clubs, chainsaws, and a pickaxe. One downside to the melee weapons is that they break quickly, but you’ll often be able to find a replacement in a nearby crate or barrel.
Rule number 1: Cardio.
To inflict one-hit kills, you have to perfectly time your shots and swings for the moment when the zombie is barely in range, but not right in your face. A reticule will glow green on the zombie’s head at the right moment to press the fire button. You can also kick a zombie to get them in position, and follow up with a lethal attack. When you’re mobbed by zombies, this turns iZombieland from a button-masher into a deliberate timing-based action game, which can be a lot of fun.
The action in iZombieland doesn’t really let up throughout the amusing story mode, but with only a handful of levels it’s possible to blast through the game in an hour or so. Fortunately, there are several unlockable survival levels, including one absolutely grueling challenge to kill 800 zombies in a multi-leveled warehouse. Extra difficulty modes can be unlocked as well, which are worth exploring if you enjoy the basic gameplay mechanics, but you’re still fighting through the same few environments.
As far as zombie-killing games on the iPhone go, iZombieland is a strong pick, but not necessarily the best of the bunch. We were excited to see the movie after playing the game, though, and that makes this a successful app on multiple levels. It’s not essential to play, but a biting sense of humor and interesting gameplay make this bloody action game well worth your time.