All Zombies Must Die! is developed by Doublesix and Published by Square Enix. It is an arcade style RPG shooter with a self-consciously thin plot and a light hearted take on the zombie apocalypse scenario, this is a game focused on fun rather than story telling. Released this coming week the PC version is downloadable through Steam and comes with numerous fixes and improvements based on feedback from the console version. The most prominent of these are the new ‘treacle’ mode which makes it possible to wade through groups of zombies; this fixes the issue of ‘zombie swarming’, allowing us to get through a wall of zombies and the quest structure of the game has also been improved, making the gaming less repetitive.
The game is set in the small town of Deadhill which had been overrun by zombies and initially we play as Jack (The Gamer) who has awoken to a dream he has wished for as long as he can remember… a Zombie Apocalypse. Other than being attacked by zombies, he is being hassled by his ex-girlfriend and he suspects he may be a character in a video game!
To get through the day and reach sanctuary we have to make amends with Rachel, the ex-girlfriend, join forces with a mad scientist as well as an alien and of course kill a lot of zombies!
As we progress through the tongue-in-cheek story we get introduced to more characters. Rachel (The Girl) is Jack’s ex-girlfriend and she despises him with a passion fuelled by years spent as Jack’s second favourite pastime. She HATES games almost as much as she despises Jack and just wants this whole thing to end.
Our penultimate character encounter is Brian, "The Geek". Brian is an average mummy’s boy turned social-outcast genius. This zombie apocalypse is the most interesting research project he’s found yet since the trying to make a girlfriend project didn’t work out. Unlike the others, he has a vested interest in what’s going on, but it’s not initially clear why.
Finally we meet Luxo, "The Alien". Luxo has spent the last few years living under the radar on earth, getting by with minor parts in B-movies.
The fate of humanity or what is left of it rests in the hands of these four unlikely heroes. We can play as a solo games, switching between character or we can play four player co-op.Despite the simple game premise, All Zombies Must Die! is not an easy game to pick up due to the unusual controls. While movement and attack use the familiar W-A-S-D, R to reload, and LMB for the primary weapon, the other controls are less familiar and less intuitive. As an example we frequently found ourselves accidentally activating the compass when we felt the need to run or fumbling with changing weapons. This minor issue is quickly adapted to and key binding can be changed in the game options. We are also able to using a dual analogue stick control system, one stick is used to move the player’s character and the other is used to aim the character’s weapon.
The overarching impression of All Zombies Must Die! is a fun, frenetic shooter set in a tongue-in-cheek world filled with a variety of undead foes. It is full of playful humour and references to the cult genre (don’t go to the mall!). Game locations include the suburbs, the aforementioned mall and the town centre.
Along the way powerups are available while blasting non-stop waves of zombies and the RPG elements allow us to level up the characters, complete comical side quests and collect items to craft new weapons.
Each of the characters has a different secondary attack in addition to their equipped weapon. We are able to switch between characters in the base when we play in single player mode. Items are located in containers such as bins, car boots, chests and cupboards with the chosen character levelled-up at bases, which also serve as hubs for weapon modifications giving us a huge number of options in how we choose to dispose of the Zombies.
Our foes, which come in varying shapes and sizes, are affected by four environmental modifiers; fire, radiation, sonic and shock. Each of the environmental modifiers can only be used by one character, for example Jack brandished a fiery torch and Rachel wields a modified mobile phone which emits a sonic pulse.
Graphics and Audio
The graphic style of All Zombies Must Die! is one of bobble headed cartoon humour. The environments are carbonised top down maps which our character, zombies, interactive objects and collectable items stand out in 3D.
The graphics compliment the tongue-in-cheek comedy styling of the gameplay; this is not the case with the audio. The game has two tunes, one slightly creepy music track plays when zombies are present and one chirpy ditty plays when no zombies are around. The music adds nothing to the game other than filling in what would be silence punctuated by the sounds of gun fire and zombie moans. After extended play, these basic and repetitive tunes can becomes annoying.
Other than the limited musical offerings, All Zombies Must Die! has a fairly wide variety of sound effects, all weapons have a unique sounds as do the interactive items on the environment and of course the different types of zombies have different moans.
All Zombies Must Die! Is an enjoyable take on the well-worn genera of zombie related apocalypse. The game doesn’t take itself too seriously, this coupled with the wide variety of collectables and in game item modding extends the gameplay which would otherwise become repetitive.
An ideal game to pass some time with friends in the multi-player mode.