Platformer combat is tough to do right. Undead Island is an example of a game that doesn’t find a proportionate mix of style and depth for it to work right. What we’re left with is a short and repetitive 16 level romp across an island sprawling with alien-like zombies.
Undead Island’s level design is your usual platformer fare, with gaps to jump over and a couple of hidden coins to find. The environment is super easy to navigate for the most part, leaving the focus on fighting off zombies.
Attacking comes down to mashing the attack button. This automatically switches between throwing stars or sword swings depending on your proximity to zombies. Holding down the attack button charges up a shockwave-producing sword swing that rips the limbs off of any zombies in its path.
HADOUKEN!… oh wait, wrong game.
In order to beat the game on any of the three difficulty levels, you merely need to spam the attack button whenever a zombie is on the screen. If you take any damage, just wait a few seconds for your health to regenerate, rinse and repeat. Unless you like repeatedly tapping what amounts to a ‘win’ button, this gets old before you reach the second stage. After all, ninjas are supposed to be masters of swordsmanship.
Besides the button-mashy combat, the lack of content is Undead Island’s undoing. After beating 15 levels and the final boss in about an hour, we were greeted with an unwelcoming ‘game over’ screen. With little except Game Center high-scores and top times to compete for, we felt little reason to keep playing.
On the plus side, Undead Island’s game world is imaginative and colorful. Each setting has plenty of unique flora, scenery, and other set pieces that come together to make an interesting world. We only wish that Team Phobic spent more effort making the gameplay equally vibrant.
Undead Island isn’t necessarily a bad game. It’s just a boring and short one that doesn’t hold its own against other platformers.