OMG HD Zombies! is an updated version of PSP title OMG-Z by Laughing Jackal, featuring additional zombie classes, new levels, upgraded old levels, and the introduction of touch controls. The game reintroduces us to the city of Redfield and a horde of zombies that have a habit of exploding should they enter the path of a stray bullet. Unlike most zombie themed games, OMG HD Zombies! approaches the genre differently by adding a large puzzle element.
The Vita exclusive OMG HD Zombies! follows the same formula as the original, centring around creating chains of exploding zombies to clear levels. The puzzle element comes from working out which zombie to shoot first to create the longest possible chain, with location, class and enemy density all being factors to consider.
The different classes include civilian, bloated, cop, soldier, bilious, mortar, runner and zapper, with each one featuring its own technique. While the civilian zombies are standard exploders that can do some damage to other classes and create decent chains, it’s the other types that hold the true power. I found the cop and soldier classes offered the best chains due to their ability to fire bullets as well, leading to levels filled with bullets and exploding zombies.
This variety, as well as the quantities of zombies and their location on each level, mean this isn’t an easy game to blast through. Instead you’ll need to think before making your move; just randomly tapping a zombie won’t work out most of the time. Do you aim for the bloated zombie in the middle of the crowd or the soldier who could set off a reaction with his bullets? There will be times when you will wait for the perfect opportunity to fire due to being so limited with your bullets.[drop]As you complete each level you are awarded in game money to upgrade your rifle, the explosive barrels which are present in some levels, and the zombies themselves. You’ll need to work your way through the upgrade paths, with some levels being almost impossible to complete without upgrades. There were times when I had to replay earlier levels and get better scores for bigger rewards so I could get an upgrade to continue.
The levels themselves have enough variance that no single tactic will be effective for all. By far the hardest levels are the ones with less zombies and large open spaces. Here timing is key and a wrong shot could see you fail to get even the bare minimum to move onto the next level.
Graphically, the game features a colour scheme focused on blacks, whites and greys, punctuated by red explosions when zombies expire. Holding down the R button colour codes the different classes, which helps when you’re planning your moves.
As previously mentioned, there are touch controls available in OMG HD Zombies!, although I preferred the more traditional set up. The touch controls are incredibly easy to pick up though; just touch the zombie you want to kill and watch the chaos ensue.
It’s a great design idea in theory but sometimes in practice it doesn’t pay off, especially in the crowded levels. On some occasions I would tap the screen to kill one zombie, only to have another zombie become the unintended target.
Generally, the standard controls are much easier to use. The left analog lets you move the cursor while X will allow you to fire once the cursor turns red on a target.
- An interesting approach to the zombie genre.
- The puzzle and tactical elements are fun to figure out.
- Very well designed.
- Setting off a huge chain is very satisfying.
- The touch controls can be frustrating on densely packed levels.
- Some levels will need to be replayed over and over to advance.
Overall OMG HD Zombies! is a great title by Laughing Jackal. The simple aesthetic hides a game that requires you to think before you act, and to conserve your supplies. When a chain is successful it feels great, and those rare occasions where you get 100% clearance are very satisfying.
Although the touch controls need a tiny bit of tightening up to allow better targeting, and the difficulty curve can be a bit steep at times, it’s still certainly worth a play.