reviews\ Sep 12, 2010 at 8:00 pm

Burn Zombie Burn! review


Given the rampant success of games like Dead Rising, Plants vs. Zombies, and the Left 4 Dead franchise, it’s evident that zombies are definitely in when it comes to gaming. The undead are the perfect enemy for many looking to blow off a few virtual rounds; they’re slow, lumbering, and plentiful. Last year saw the release of an entertaining PS3 downloadable game from doublesix, titled Burn Zombie Burn, that offered up plenty of zombies to take out and over-the-top action packed gameplay.

A year later, doublesix have finally brought the experience to PC gamers via Steam. Burn Zombie Burn offers up the same basic gameplay elements of the original game, including the hordes of roaming zombies and plenty of fun weaponry with which to dispatch them. However, it does cut a few corners, lacking some key features that would make this experience easy to recommend.

If you didn’t play the game when it launched on the PS3, Burn Zombie Burn is a top-down action shooter in the vein of games like Robotron 2084. You play as Bruce, a cocky and macho protagonist who is forced to destroy hordes of zombies with all manner of weaponry, including (but not limited to) baseball bats, guns, chainsaws, and other zombie-dispatching weaponry (as well as some goofy weapons like a dance gun).

However, the key isn’t just to kill them one at a time; you’ll get more points and build higher weapon combos by taking several out at once. You’ll meet flaming zombies with the purpose of exploding in effort to inflict damage, but the trick is to manage them for your own gain and to build up your multiplier. The touted “risk/reward” system from the original PS3 game is very much intact, as the only way to rack up a lot of points and better combos is by setting enemies on fire, but doing so severely limits your own mobility, since if you come in contact with a flaming zombie, you’ll get burned yourself. The game presents a serious challenge in this regard, and becomes more difficult as the title advances.

Get a high enough combo for killing zombies and you’ll activate a Big Red Button, which enables you to create a huge area damage attack that will knock out a bunch of zombies for an even bigger combo. The game has a few distinct modes, including a Free Play mode where you eliminate zombies in order to receive a high score for leaderboard purposes, a timed mode (the zombies will drop power-ups that will add to your timer), and Defend Daisy, a mode where you have to protect your girlfriend, Daisy, from the zombie onslaught. Additionally, there is a mission-specific Challenge mode that has you satisfying certain goals or giving you a certain weapon use in an allotted amount of time.

While the game definitely owes some of its design to Robotron 2084, the one thing it didn’t seem to inherit was a pretty big one, its control scheme. The game doesn’t support a dual-stick option if you’re using a gamepad (or any keyboard/mouse facsimile), and the targeting is hit-and-miss (no pun intended), making the game feel unintuitive and clumsy when compared to its genre counterparts.

One of the biggest issues that players had with Burn Zombie Burn in the PS3 version was the lack of online multiplayer. Unfortunately, not only does the PC version not rectify this issue, but it takes a step back, as there is absolutely no multiplayer whatsoever. The short and action packed battles in Burn Zombie Burn almost seem to scream out for some co-op action, but these screams go unanswered.

Graphically, Burn Zombie Burn isn’t poised to win any awards, but looks good for a budget title. The character models sport a cartoony look common to indie titles with a low hard-drive footprint, but the mayhem is plentiful and stays at a solid framerate.

Burn Zombie Burn is a fun little zombie-shooter with appealing game modes and plenty of action. Unfortunately, the complete lack of multiplayer is a missed opportunity indeed. The game features six maps and three gameplay modes that would feel right at home with a friend shooting it up with you, but sadly that experience is not to be found. Additionally, the spotty control scheme leaves much to be desired, making for an overall lonely experience that doesn’t feel like it should.


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