Gunner Z is one of the most micro transaction-obsessed games we’ve ever seen. Where Plants vs. Zombie 2 proved that developers could release a free game with an amazingly non-intrusive transaction system, this game goes in the exact opposite direction and essentially demands money to keep up with the game’s action. That’s a real shame, because while the core gameplay isn’t especially creative or diverse, this isn’t a bad shooter otherwise.
Similarly to a lot of the town building games we’ve seen, Gunner Z uses two forms of currency— one earned in the game through killing stuff and one primarily bought outright. Worse, pretty much anything worth buying is, of course, bought with the second currency. Finish the tutorial mission and the game thrusts a maze of in-game store characters at you, mostly for upgrading the game’s gun truck. One of the first things you learn is that to stop in-game ads, just buy something with real money. Anything at all!
It just gets worse from there. So, there’s this obsession with shoving micro transactions at the player. Everything on the gun truck can be upgraded, and new vehicles can be purchased as well. Doing so with currency earned in the game will take hours of repetitive zombie shooting. It can be done, but the shooting action really isn’t solid enough to warrant playing long enough to really power up your rig. Worse, dying results in either a delay to restart or the impatient purchase of more instant gratification.
Money grabbing aside, Gunner Z is a pretty basic on-rails first person shooter. As the gunner of this zombie slaughtering vehicle, it’s up to you to mow down both the undead and weird zombie sympathizers through urban locations. The visuals are distinctive though. The game is sharp and realistic looking, but in a night vision goggles sort of way. It’s an interesting look and certainly visually appealing, but the game play and visuals quickly feel repetitive after a few rounds.
Occasionally, the game lets you choose the path, which is a nice touch, but generally the vehicle follows a set path. As the gunner, you’ll slide your finger around to aim and tap a virtual button to shoot. There’s both recoil and overheating to deal with, so quick well-aimed bursts are the best way to take down the hordes of the undead.
Another interesting element is the 360-degree aiming nature of the game. You’ll have to keep an eye out in all directions to see which street the undead will come from next. We liked how there are always zombies just milling around in the background. You can shoot them if you like, but they aren’t directly advancing on you.
So, Gunner Z isn’t a complete wash. It looks sharp and the general shooting action is decent, if not overly inspired. Yet, we can’t get over the incredibly obnoxious way the game almost constantly tries to get players to spend real money. It just tends to suck the fun out of blowing away the undead.