We know what you’re thinking.
Yet another zombie game? Enough is enough!
It seems like every week, there’s another undead shooter rising from the grave demanding your time and money. Zombies are the new ninjas. The hipster’s vampire. Brains!
Enter iZombie Death March, a top-down shooter that features some relatively interesting level design and excellent implementation of iPhone technology. But despite the strength of its presentation, it ultimately falls short due to a serious lack of content.
Let the bodies hit the floor!
The set up is familiar. Fend off the undead horde until help arrives or you find a way to escape. Presented from the top-down, there’s no movement involved. Just tap to aim and shoot. The survivor remains static, just firing at the oncoming horde. The gameplay may a bit simplistic for veterans of the genre, but developer sonicBOOM manages to dress it up through the level design.
Each of the six levels offers something different. In order: Defend yourself, defend someone else, defend yourself in the dark, defend yourself in a moving vehicle and a crazy four-way shootout.
While the first two levels and the vehicular episode are relatively mundane, the two in the dark are where things start to get interesting. By utilizing the iPhone’s tilt feature, iZombie uses a flashlight to light up a darkened scene. Tilt to aim the flashlight and illuminate the oncoming horde. It helps to raise the tension, as you’ll likely get caught by surprise by something in the dark if you’re not vigilant.
The four-way shootout is an exciting finale as well, utilizing the iPhone’s multitouch capability to control four gunners simultaneously. It can get pretty hairy trying to fire at the horde coming from all directions.
But level design aside, this game is really short. Playing on the hardest difficulty level of Nightmare–which needs to be unlocked by playing the second-hardest difficulty–we breezed through the entire game in about 25 minutes. The zombies just aren’t that hard to take down and really feel like more of a nuisance than a true challenge. Although, it is nice to finally have a zombie game where the zombies actually say, “Braaaaains!”
It’s a shame, because many of the levels–namely in the dark and the four-way–show true promise if sonicBOOM would take the time to flesh them out. Whether it’s adding more levels, harder zombies–really anything at all–there has to be more. While there are unlockable cheats, like bonus weapons and never-ending horde mode, for completing levels on Nightmare, there really isn’t much incentive to keep playing, certainly not without some type of global scoring system.
While iZombie does a great job showcasing the capabilities of the iPhone like the accelerometer and multitouch, it seems more like a demo than a complete game.