Because Studio Radiolares, the guys behind the Rez-like shooter Radio Flare, have actually found a way to put a unique spin on a majorly cliched game type. How’d they do it? Well… have you ever heard of El Dia de los Muertos?
Not a dyed-in-the-wool shooter.
That’s the “Day of the Dead” in English; it’s a Mexican holiday where the living celebrate the memory of the dead by leaving offerings, lighting candles, and fashioning distinctive-looking skull masks and skeleton puppets. These grinning, emaciated death’s-heads sometimes appear in candy form, too. It’s awesomely creepy–and creepily awesome.
Zombies vs. Sheep borrows that Latin American craftwork motif for its skeletal zombies, which look like they’re cut out of construction paper. They drop out of the sky on ropes. The idea is to shoot these guys by tapping on them. This releases coins for your sheep to scoop up along the ground via tilt controls. Pausing the game takes you to the store, where you can jack up your sheep by spending cash on speed upgrades, additional ammo, and so on.
If you wait too long, the zombies fall to pieces, eventually dropping a flaming skull that strikes your sheep dead. Luckily, headshots instantly nip a threatening zombie in the bud. There are other types of baddies to deal with, too, like bats and nasty spider bosses, and other guns to shoot as well. After going as far as you can, OpenFeint makes a note of your score and tells you which achievements you’ve earned.
All of this is accompanied by the sweet strains of mariachi guitars, over gentle Latin rhythms. The overall impression is one of playing some weird, archaic penny arcade machine in an abandoned Oaxacan carnival.
Zombies vs. Sheep is bizarre, all right, but it’s a good kind of weird. We were playing a final build, so the game should be hitting the App Store soon.