World War Z Hands-On Preview

World War Z is a first-person shooter coming next week from Phosphor Games, the makers of Horn. It’s based on an upcoming movie that’s loosely based on a novel with the same title. I’ve read the book, I’m looking forward to the movie, and so far I’m enjoying the game.

As the game opens, the zombie apocalypse is just beginning. You’re in a bar talking on a cell phone when people start killing each other. The infection spreads fast, and soon everyone’s trying to kill you. You quickly exit the bar and try to escape the escalating madness. Before you know it, you pick up a pistol and a crowbar and start slaughtering hundreds of crazed zombies in self defense.


By default the game controls much like Horn, with a tap-where-you-want-to-go control mechanism. There’s no shoot button, either–shooting happens automatically when you aim at an enemy. In fact, during the shooting segments, you’re rooted to the ground, much like in an on-rails shooter. But for most of the game you can move around as much as you want, exploring the environments and figuring out where to go next.

There’s also a dual-joystick control method that’s more like what you’d find in games like the N.O.V.A. and Modern Combat series. Personally, I preferred the default “casual” control method, but either one works. Watch the video below for more information about the controls.


As you make your way through alleyways and abandoned buildings, you’ll find all kinds of collectibles scattered around, from books and papers that give you in-game currency, to med-packs and bullets for the array of guns you buy and pick up as you play.

The game is heavily scripted, so you’ll make your way from area to area, solving puzzles to open doors and playing through set-pieces. There’s also a challenge mode, where you’re dropped in a location and given several goals like “stay alive for 60 seconds,” “get a melee kill,” etc.

I’m certainly enjoying the game, but the build I’m playing isn’t as polished as a game like Horn. The graphics are somewhat lacking, and the crowbar combat is tough to get the hang of. But this isn’t the final build, so I hope they have time to make some last-minute tweaks. Despite a few complaints, I’m interested to see how the story progresses. Look for World War Z to hit the App Store on Thursday, May 30.

Related Stories