All Zombies Must Die! Review
Another year, another game that gives you the opportunity to kill the undead. Many publishers have tried their hand at a twin stick shooter that lets you take on zombie hordes, including Sony (Dead Nation), Konami (Zombie Apocalypse) and, of course, Valve (Left 4 Dead). Now entering the fray is Square Enix, whose All Zombies Must Die!, developed by Doublesix, takes a more comical approach. It features four vitally unique characters that must stand together to take on the sudden zombie apocalypse. It’s fun, but there are some shortcomings you must expect.
Throughout each stage of AZMD, you’ll find yourself given the opportunity to pick up ammunition for your weapon of choice, though you can also fend off zombies using your bare fists or a secondary attack, such as a cattle prod or a torch. Each weapon is different for each of the game's characters, and you can power them up accordingly using a level-up system, making your unlikely warrior stronger with each passing wave.
There is some cool stuff to consider with AZMD, mainly being able to use environmental effects and weapons to a better advantage than you could’ve expected. Doublesix has ingeniously included the ability to spread an element’s effect on other enemies. For instance, if a zombie catches fire and touches his fellow undead ilk, he’ll set them aflame as well, increasing your odds of surviving that incoming wave. We also like how effective some of the weapons are, namely the chainsaw. Nothing beats spreading around a little carnage.
That isn’t to say the gameplay holds up in the long run. The game grows repetitive rather quickly, with only so many challenges arising to keep your twin stick shooting skills fresh. What’s more, AZMD also has way too many fetch quests for its own good. For instance, let’s say you’re trying to get through a secure area, but you can’t because some stupid computer system is requiring you to – get this – obtain food from a zombie. Number one, we can’t recall the last time a computer was hungry for food. And number two, how the hell is a zombie carrying around food and yet chasing me down?
AZMD also has a big problem with overpowering single players. More often than not, we found ourselves overcome by huge groups of enemies, with very little means to repel them and scamper to survive the level. It isn’t impossible, by any means, but too often we found ourselves succumbing to the odds and losing some precious life in the process. You can team up with friends – up to four, actually – which helps even the odds, but sadly, it’s local only. This would’ve been a game that would’ve scored higher with the addition of online play. Without it, you’re left searching for a zombie killing party in your neighborhood.
Doublesix did a pretty good job with the game’s presentation. While it doesn’t deter too often from the previously released Monster Madness in terms of design (let’s fight in a mall, then let’s fight in a plaza!), it does look pretty good for a downloadable game. Also, a HUD system gives you a clear idea where your goals are, and where you can locate fresh ammunition should you be running low. The characters look pretty good, though a little more originality would’ve been welcome. After all, why couldn’t they all be aliens with rasta hats?
The sound is okay, but nothing spectacular. The music has a Halloween-like vibe to it (a little weird considering the game was a post-Christmas release) and the sound effects deliver for the most part, with enough groaning zombies and weapon noises to remind you that, hey, it’s the end of the world.
All Zombies Must Die has its moments, particularly with weapon power-ups and combinations, and taking on hordes with the help of your friends. But it doesn’t do nearly enough to push ahead of the pack, nor define itself as this generation’s Zombies Ate My Neighbors. Still, it does beat Monster Madness pretty good, and for a fraction of the price. Check out the trial version and see if you’re up to the task.
[Reviewed on PlayStation 3]