Oh, those zombies. Even when they mean well, their best-laid plans default to moaning, shuffling, and brain-eating. Similarly, even when game developers mean well, their zombie games default to big guns, big guts, and big buckets of blood spilling to the floor. Zombie Neighborhood by MoStar is fun for about half an hour, and then it feels as empty as the head of a zombie’s kill.
Credit does go to MoStar for a funny twist on an old tale. An astronaut named James visits an alien planet and suffers a bite from a strange creature. He returns home a changed man in every way possible. See, James’ home planet is Zombie Planet, and he has been afflicted with a virus that has turned him into a human being.
Like so much strawberry jam.
James likes having a brain and being alive. His undead neighbors believe he’s just fooling himself, and they aim to dog-pile him and bring him around by gnawing on his head a little. The object of Zombie Neighborhood is to decline the advances of James’ neighbors as politely as possible, with an assortment of guns and other weapons.
This translates into shooting, shooting, shooting on a two-dimensional playing field. As every “day” passes, James’ living room is invaded by his neighbors. Over time, their ranks thicken, get faster, and armor themselves more thoroughly. James’ arsenal is familiar: A handgun, a machine gun, a sniper rifle, grenades, a chainsaw (natch), and more. As James mows down his neighbors, he earns cash, which he can use to buy weapon and ammo upgrades on ZombieBay (get it?). As the game progresses, switching weapons becomes necessary for victory, as some zombies have a significantly higher tolerance to lead than others.
Chainsaws are so much more personal.
This is ultimately where Zombie Neighborhood falls apart into a putrid green mess. As it is, the gameplay doesn’t stay fresh for long; all you’re really doing is moving James back and forth and shooting with the touch screen as his neighbors bash their way in and say howdy. But it’s fun enough until the crowds really push in and you literally have no idea what’s going on. Some zombie breeds are very tough to take down without a gun that packs a punch, but pausing even for a second to switch weapons will ultimately end James’ short life. His neighbors rush him and feast before you can get your bearings again.
Moreover, powerful guns have limited ammo. You don’t want to waste your best stuff on the bats and dogs that occasionally chew on James’ legs, but again, switching between weapons can prove fatal.
Zombie Neighborhood is a decent purchase if you’re completely in love with zombie culture and desire a 2D shooter with a challenge level bordering on masochistic. Otherwise, it’s best to leave James in the tender care of his green-skinned neighbors.