Shoot the Zombirds is a game about history’s most popular motivator: revenge. Pumpkin Boy shot down reams of crows, chickens, and starlings in 2011’s Shoot the Birds for iOS, but it turns out our feathered friends won’t let something as insignificant as the grave keep them from the sky. The birds are back, and their unholy hunger can only be sated with the pulp of Pumpkin Boy’s children. You’ve done this all before, but that’s not such a bad thing.
The premise for Shoot the Zombirds is kind of grim, and the game’s graphics are a little darker than its predecessor’s visuals thanks to its gloomy graveyard setting. At its core, though, Shoot the Zombirds is the same goofy fun that kept you coming back for more chicken shish-kebab in the original Shoot the Birds.
In fact, Shoot the Zombirds plays quite similarly to shoot the birds. Pumpkin Boy shoots arrows as the fiends wing their way across the sky, and his goal is to ultimately hit as many as possible. If he can take down two (or more) birds with one arrow, he gets a score multiplier.
Shoot the Zombirds feels familiar, but there are some marked changes that make the experience feel fresh. The day-to-day gameplay has been done away with: now the arrive in waves at different points through the eternal night (‘Let us have your eyes. You won’t need them!’). Pumpkin Boy has a limited number of arrows, too. He gains an arrow for every bird he shoots down, so nabbing two birds with one ‘stone’ is especially beneficial.
Most importantly, Pumpkin Boy needs to keep an eye out for kidnapped pumpkin-kids. They wail and cry as they’re carried across the screen by their bird captors, so they’re easy to spot, but rescuing them is another matter. It’s simple enough to shoot down a fat zombie chicken that’s ambling across the screen with a pumpkin-kid in its talons. It’s a bit harder to shoot down a starling that’s darting across the top of the screen with its quarry, especially since you’ll say, ‘Hey, I hit that damn bird!’ more than once as it flees. If all the pumpkin-kids are carried away, or if Pumpkin Head runs out of arrows, the game is over.
“Can we interest you in a Nuke McMissle?”
Luckily, Pumpkin Head can earn coins and buy upgrades by shooting down Money Skulls. Upgrades let you start off with more arrows, more pumpkin-kids (thus allowing one or two to slip by. What’s the harm?), and Better Luck, which allows for Money Skulls to fly across the screen more frequently. Pumpkin Head can also buy single-use items that speed up time, slow it down, or just let you annihilate everything using a hail of fiery arrows.
Shoot the Zombirds is uncomplicated and fun and easy to play, despite some small problems with hit detection. It won’t keep you occupied for long, but it still feels good to meet objectives and increase your score multiplier. And we won’t even describe the thrill of taking down four fat birds with one arrow. You can try that for yourself.