Pro Zombie Soccer


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Pro Zombie Soccer Hands-On Preview

It’s always interesting to see how iPhone developers figure out ways to differentiate their games from the rest of the pack. Some developers rely on crazy names, others bet on gimmicky mechanics, while everyone is trying to hit a homer with slick presentation values. Sometimes, a marriage of two completely different subjects makes for a surprisingly good game. In this case, soccer and swarms of zombies combine to create Pro Zombie Soccer.

Before you dismiss the idea of a zombie soccer game, let us clear up some first blush assumptions you might have. This isn’t a soccer game starring teams of zombie players. No need to understand yellow cards, red cards, or bicycle kicks. Not to say that wouldn’t be a good game, but it’s not this one.

Pro Zombie Soccer is a story-driven shooting game starring Jax, a washed up soccer player who can’t catch a break. One night while rummaging for food in the streets, Jax gets bitten by a zombie. Fearing the prospect of becoming a zombie himself, he decides to go down kicking, using his trusty soccer ball to take zombies with him.

We mentioned that this was a shooter, except that a soccer ball replaces your typical weapon. Zombies of all shapes, sizes, and abilities pour in from the right side of the screen, and you get to mow them down, one kick at a time. Holding an on-screen button prepares a kick, and moving your thumb adjusts the aim and trajectory of your kicks. Smacking a zombie with a soccer ball in the head earns bonus points, and chaining them together triggers multiplier opportunities. The mechanics felt good in the preview build, but the jury is out on how it’ll hold up over extended play.

One cool surprise we discovered were the super moves triggered by racking up kills. When the super meter fills up, you can pick from a few options to clear the screen. We especially dug the satellite kick, which uses the accelerometer to perfectly place destruction from above.

Even with much work to be done to polish the game and fix typos, the presentation is on point already. In our short time, we noticed a surprising amount of variety of zombies. All of them animate convincingly, and you’ll smile from watching limbs and heads fly off so comically. Ambient music sets the mood, and keeps your energy level high.

Stay tuned for the full review of Pro Zombie Soccer coming soon. There’s a lot of potential here, and with OpenFeint slated to bring in the online connectivity, this may be a sleeper hit that will generate some well-deserved buzz.

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Pro Zombie Soccer Review

If you read our hands-on preview of Pro Zombie Soccer back in January, you might have thought that it was a fairly straightforward, simple action game where you held off waves of zombies using a soccer ball. That holds true for the first few levels, but it doesn’t take long for this great game to reveal some fantastic surprises.

Pro Zombie Soccer, in a departure from many other games on the App Store, contains an actual story. Told through comic-book cutscenes, you’ll meet soccer star reject Jax as he’s digging through the garbage on the eve of the zombie apocalypse. After he’s bit by a zombified soccer player, Jax decides to go down kicking. These cutscenes not only look incredible, but the story they tell will surprise you with humor and a few plot twists.

I call the big one Bitey.

You control Jax’s soccer shots with a slider on the left side of the screen. You can aim just about anywhere on the screen by moving the slider up and down, and sometimes you’ll be required to bounce shots off walls to get around zombies with heavy shields. After a certain number of kills, you can activate special moves that will slow down time, let your ball pass through multiple zombies, or even trigger a giant space satellite to target zombies with a huge laser beam.

We didn’t expect Pro Zombie Soccer to make many departures from this formula, though. To our surprise, we encountered levels set in the dark where you have to control a flashlight with your finger, and levels where Jax is running and doesn’t have time to charge up his stronger kick attack. There are even levels that pay homage to Street Fighter 2 and Space Invaders.

Time for a congressional hearing on steroid abuse in zombie soccer.

Once you’ve beaten the game, which can take about an hour or so, you can replay the game on a harder difficulty or master the two-minute survival mode. We’re disappointed there’s not an endless survival mode, because we think that would be a better use for the included Crystal leaderboards. More updates are promised in the game’s end credits.

Pro Zombie Soccer is a strong debut from Super Awesome Hyper Dimensional Mega Team, and this new developer lives up to their super awesome name. Even if you’re sick of zombies or soccer games on the App Store, Pro Zombie Soccer will continually surprise you with its exceptional style and creativity.

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