When thinking up the concept for their forthcoming game, the folks at H.grenade followed the lead of the creators of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and mashed together four unrelated words. The result is the game’s title: Zombie Superheroes from Outer Space! (exclamation point theirs). If that name just blew your mind, stuff it back into your head before the zombies devour it, and let’s dissect what this game is about.
We recently had a chance to chat via e-mail with Shay Casey, the creative director and game designer at H.grenade. In his words, Zombie Superheroes from Outer Space! is “a casual game that requires no dexterity to enjoy… it’s built from the ground up to be quick, easy, violent, and funny.”
If the title isn’t self explanatory, the game tells the tale of three zombie superheroes who’ve crash landed on our planet and want very much to go home. Since zombies prefer eating brains to using them, the best idea they can come up with is to construct a cannon to shoot themselves out of our atmosphere.
As the game begins, our undead heroes are ready to blast off. You’ll choose to play as one of three zombies, but the only one whose name the developers could divulge was Pee-Pee Boy. There are three basic components to the gameplay, says Casey, but they merge seamlessly with one another. First, you fire your zombie from the cannon, then you use a grappling hook to swing through the city, and finally you crash as spectacularly as possible.
A touch and drag slingshot-like motion lets you determine the cannon shot’s trajectory and power. Let go, and you’re launched into the air. Because of the zombies’ poor engineering skills, the shot doesn’t have a hope of blasting them home, so you end up in the city.
Luckily, the zombies are equipped with grappling hooks, and you can swing from building to building like a decaying Spider-Man. Tap to hook a building and tap again to release. Along the way, you’ll want to grab power-ups and avoid obstacles like air conditioners, balconies, police officers, and the occasional military F15 Strike Eagle missile. The city is never-ending, so you can keep grappling as long as your skills allow. Then you’ll want to find something expensive to crash into, and hurl yourself toward it.
After crashing, your zombie goes ragdoll-limp but keeps soaring through the air. You can then use accelerometer controls to add Burnout 3-like “aftertouch” physics, which guide what’s left of your lifeless corpse into whatever looks fun to destroy.
The game tracks your distance and the amount of damage you’ve caused in separate point tallies. Since you’re a zombie, you can lose the occasional limb and keep going, although nicking an obstacle will slow your progress. Your head is the tracking point, so wherever it ends up is where your distance is graded. The more destruction you or your limbs cause, the higher your damage score. These totals can be posted to online leaderboards.
It’s possible, Casey says, that a Lite version will be released before the full game, so you’ll be able to get a taste of what’s to come before you plunk down your hard-earned cash. Look for Zombie Superheroes from Outer Space! on the App Store soon.