Zombies vs. Sheep

Zombies vs. Sheep is a game from , originally released 31st December, 1969

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Zombies vs. Sheep Hands-On

Shooting gallery games, zombie games, and zombie shooting gallery games are all App Store staples. So why the heck should yet another zombie blaster attract our attention?

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.

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Cheap Shot: Zombies vs. Sheep

What could hordes of puppet zombies have against sheep, anyway? Everyone knows zombies hunger for human flesh only, not mutton. Even though the concept seems designed solely to appeal to that elusive zombie/sheep-loving target demographic, this arcade-like shooting gallery is a lot of fun for just a buck.

Over the course of several waves, you’ll tap to blast away at puppet zombies, bats, fire-dropping phoenixes, and at least one seriously pissed-off sun. By tilting the device, you move a sheep at the bottom of the screen (who is not the one shooting, sadly) to avoid flaming debris and collect coins. These coins can then be cashed in for upgrades to your health, ammo, and movement speed.

Ay yi yi!

With OpenFeint, you can upload your high scores to a global leaderboard, but what this game really needs is a level select option. Playing the same few levels at the start becomes predictable, and we would have liked the chance to skip ahead and see more of the game’s later variety.

Zombies vs. Sheep has an unsettling aesthetic, which Steve described in his preview as an “archaic penny arcade machine in an abandoned Oaxacan carnival.” Even without a level select menu, this strange and addictive shooter is well worth 99 pennies.

Editor’s Note: Cheap Shot is a new review feature where we pick a game that costs $.99 or $1.99 and give it the quick review treatment. While you won’t find a 1-4 score or our usual pros and cons, you will get a direct assessment of the game based on a one-hour playthrough. You’ll still find our full-length, regular reviews for other games.