Let’s be honest, we are hardly bereft of zombie games. In fact, the whole genre is dangerously close to becoming rather stale, with new games struggling to be heard above the din. Step forward Doublesix, who believe they have cracked the problem with their game, All Zombies Must Die!
Releasing as a downloadable title on Xbox 360, PS3 and PC, the game takes place in the aptly named town of ‘Deadhill’ which, as you have no doubt guessed, is under siege from brain-munching zombies. It’s down to you to take them all out whilst trying to find out just what is going on.
All Zombies Must Die! is a top-down, arena based shooter with four main characters that can be controlled: Jack (the gamer), Rachel, scientist Bryan and an alien called Luxo.
The left thumb-stick is used to control your character, whilst the right is used to aim the equipped weapon. As ammo is limited, the player manually fires any weapon using the controller triggers, rather than the more commonly used automatic fire found in other titles.[drop2]So far so familiar, but the game does have a number of interesting options. Instead of just mindlessly ploughing through zombies, you are set a quest to complete in each area. This can range from collecting a specific item, to killing a set amount of a certain type of zombie. Upon completion you are awarded experience points which you can then use to level up your character in key areas.
Continuing with this ‘RPG-Lite’ theme is the option to craft certain weapons. Occasionally you will come across a book which will contain a guide on how to build a weapon. If this takes your fancy you can then head out to try and salvage the relevant materials, before heading back to the lab and creating said weapon.
Of course, you aren’t restricted to only creating weapons that are found in books, and experimentation is positively encouraged, although it won’t always bear fruit. Still, the chance to build an electricity-based cricket bat is a welcome one. This leads us nicely to status conditions.
To complete some quests, you will need to inflict certain status conditions on the zombies. These conditions have both positive and negative connotations, which you will need to watch out for. For example, setting a zombie on fire will cause it damage, as well as a high probability of the fire spreading to other zombies. Unfortunately the fire makes the zombies come after you much faster, giving you less chance to aim accurately.
As enjoyable as this all sounds there are a number of issues with All Zombies Must Die! For starters, playing alone is not very enjoyable at all. There doesn’t seem to be any scaling to match how many people are playing, so one person will be quickly overcome by zombies. Your character also can’t push their way through a pack of zombies, meaning if you get surrounding you pretty much have to sit back and take the ass-kicking, unless you’re lucky enough to have a bomb which wipes out multiple zombies at once.
Scattered across every level are drawers/bins/cars that can be opened, with valuable loot inside. Unfortunately they take an absolute age to open, meaning the only way to do it is to turn your back on the approaching zombies, soak up the hits and hope there is a health pick-up nearby.
Co-op play is much better, tipping the scales in your favour somewhat with up to three additional players. Whilst the focus is on helping each other out, there is the opportunity to turn friendly fire on so you can grief anyone who you think might be taking more than their fair share of the loot. If you’re like me, however, you might just take pleasure in shooting your co-op partner anyway, for the laughs. This is why nobody plays games with me.
Unfortunately Doublesix really miss a trick by making the co-op play offline only. This really is a major issue in my opinion, relying on the fact that the player has enough people close by to get a decent game going.
Another negative is that the quests, which start off well enough, soon start to become very similar, requiring a fair amount of backtracking through familiar territory.
- Co-op is enjoyable.
- Crafting is a nice touch.
- Some great weapons.
- Humorous dialogue.
- The lack of online co-op.
- Not great in single player.
- Quests become repetitive.
There’s no denying that All Zombies Must Die! has potential. The crafting idea is a good one, and with a few people round the gameplay is certainly enjoyable. However, the repetitive nature of the quests, frustrating single player experience and lack of online co-op really does drag the game down.