What’s a Zombie Wonderland? Well, it’s like a winter wonderland, except instead of crunching over freshly-fallen snow, you wade through buckets of guts and goo. You can personally experience the grime and glory of a Zombie Wonderland with Zombie Wonderland 2: Outta Time, a tower defense/shooting game for the iPhone.
Zombie Wonderland 2 offers up a typical tale of the undead, but with one difference: This particular telling of the old story is squeaky-clean. The game stars Chuck, a janitor who slings a shotgun with one hand and a broom with his other. He’s called on to guard sacred objects across time from zombie attacks, and unlike other zombie hunters, Chuck is very conscious about cleanliness. After each zombie wave, he takes a moment to scrub buckshot-studded goop from the floor. Chuck’s furious scrubbing adds an original twist to what’s otherwise a pretty standard (and admittedly solid) tower defense/zombie-smashing game.
The mummy returns.
Zombie Wonderland 2’s bizarre story takes Chuck across different time periods, but his general task remains the same: Hole up in a room and don’t let the zombies trash the property.
Chuck’s basic defense is a shotgun, which can be upgraded. He can also barricade windows by standing next to them and tapping the “Hammer” icon several times, but it’s preferable to buy window-traps like turrets that will slug the zombies before they can even think of getting too close. Like the gun, turrets are upgradable, and they have to be fixed if they break down.
If you’d prefer something that will put the hurt on a particularly stubborn knot of zombies, you can buy an assortment of limited-use bullets and traps that boast different effects. These include a zombie-eating plant, baby death worms, and a nasty remote-controlled bear trap that will slice the crusty invaders into gooey ribbons.
Would you like a side of brains with that?
You’ll want to invest in as much zombie-slaying tech as possible, because Zombie Wonderland 2 is pretty relentless. Chuck only has to hold his ground until time counts down, but that’s easier said than done. Not only do the game’s generic zombies attack from all sides without rest, but each level offers specialized zombies according to the time period and setting, including zombie bulls and armored zombie knights.
Zombie Wonderland 2 is challenging and relatively fun, but it does have a few sticky spots. Namely, Chuck sometimes doesn’t respond when you tap on a window in hopes of fortifying it, and precious seconds lost means you’re that much closer to joining the zombie party. Moreover, the multitude of menu icons makes for a crowded screen, which in turn means occasionally tapping your precious limited-use traps instead of the zombie you were meaning to shoot with plain old buckshot.
The game’s dialogue could also stand a once-over. The grammar’s a bit off, which makes for a choppy, awkward read. Poor dialogue typically isn’t a huge deal in iPhone games, but Zombie Wonderland 2 clearly wants us to get into its story and sense of humor.
Despite its attempts to add in the end-of-level cleaning element and a story about time travel, Zombie Wonderland 2 is still a basic tower defense/shooter mash-up. It won’t blow your mind, but if you just want to grind up some zombies for a few hours while fighting off a slowly-growing fear of being overwhelmed by the enemy, it’s a decent night out.