We initially reviewed Zombieville USA on the iPhone over a year ago. At the time, it stayed at the top of the charts, becoming one of the first instantly recognizable games on the platform. However, we found it lacked the depth to maintain our interest. With the iPad version, this is no longer the case: Blowing away the brains of your undead unfriends is now a lot more fun.
The first thing you’ll notice when you start up a new game is the new control scheme for weapons. Instead of tapping on the weapon icon along the top, there is now a button conveniently placed above the trigger to switch to the next ammo guzzler in your lineup. Also, your melee weapon is assigned to a third button. All of the controls are well-placed, so your thumb naturally hovers right over them when holding the iPad in a comfortable position.
Zombie killing is much more fun with a friend.
There is also a character select screen when you start the game, something that was added to the iPhone version in an update a few months back. Each character has special abilities, such as the OMG Pirates! ninja who moves super fast and has deadly melee attacks but doesn’t earn as much money, and the crossover king John Gore who dies quickly but finds more ammo than the usual survivor.
Zombieville USA HD has two new features in particular that make it worth purchasing, even for returning fans. The first is help from survivors. When you enter a house, there is a chance that one of the other characters will come out and aid you through the rest of the level. They end up dying quick if you don’t keep the zombies away from them, so there is certainly a strategy required if you plan on keeping these helpers alive. It also shows how awesome co-op multiplayer would work for this game, and we hope Mika Mobile takes the opportunity to add it in a future update.
Lead, follow, or get squashed by a bulldozer.
Our favorite new addition, however, are the bulldozers. When starting a new round, there is a chance you might find a demolition big-rig waiting for you at the starting line. If you decide to jump in, you’ll ram through the level, killing every zombie in your way. The downside is that you don’t get any of the bonuses inside houses, but we didn’t care once we saw how badass rolling over zombie innards was.
One feature still missing in this high-res trip to Zombieville are the online leaderboards. If they were added for each character, it would add a lot of value to the game. With free networks such as OpenFeint accessible to all developers, there is no reason to not include this feature in any game these days.
There are a lot of great things to be found in this jazzed-up version of Zombieville USA, but best of all, it only costs $1.99, the same price as the less-exciting iPhone original. This game earns our highest recommendation, and holds down the fort as the best zombie action game on the iPad.