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With the increasing influx of iPhone and iPod Touch apps to hit the app store, it goes without saying that the designers of these apps are having to come up with increasingly nonsensical plots, in order to whet the appetites of different gamers around the globe. From Angry Birds to Doodle Jump and everything in between there really is an app to suit everyone and Zombie Smash is the latest app on the market to reach out to the horror fans among us.
Horror movies and games have been popular for decades, with the release of Resident Evil and other such franchises that have not only taken over cinema, but also your game consoles, it would appear that the zombie genre shows to signs of slowing. The makers of Zombie Smash have capitalised on this popularity and created a clean, crisp game in which to ease your cravings for blood and guts.
Zombie Smash is available from the app store for 59p and has recently soared to reach number 2 in the ípaid app chartsí, almost, yet not quite knocking Angry Birds off their perch. Their reign at number 2 was short lived though and theyíve quickly fallen back down to number 15 within a matter of weeks. The app requires a tiny 24.7MB of your memory and is available for your iPhone, iTouch and iPad with an age rating of 9+ due to cartoon violence.
So what is it that made Zombie Smash soar in popularity over recent weeks?
As with a lot of popular apps, the simplistic value plays a big part in their popularity and thatís no different here. Zombie Smash takes place in one, well presented location, utilising a simple premise and an undemanding control system. Meaning that anyone from the age of 9 can easily get the hang of Zombie Smash and hopefully reek the rewards in terms of enjoyment.
Iíve aforementioned the simple premise, but I havenít actually mentioned what it is. Interested? Well have you ever seen the remake of Dawn Of The Dead? In one scene, the zombies have completely surrounded all the buildings in which the survivors have retreated. One by one, they are trying to eliminate the zombies, namely by use of a shotgun. But what if you could pick them up and throw them in the air until they came crashing back down to Earth only to deposit a star for you to collect to gain rewards?
Well, thatís the premise of Zombie Smash in a nutshell. Still interested? Good.
Zombie Smash utilises a dark and dreary background, which, to my surprise works fantastically and makes Zombie Smash a very aesthetically pleasing game. Graphics are all well developed, with blood and bones flying over the screen on a regular basis. However, given the 9+ age rating itís nothing for parents to get nervous about as the game really is very tame compared with console zombie games available. Through the course of the game youíll encounter several different zombies. The zombies are all created well, using the iPhoneís crisp, clear screen to its advantage and everything comes off very well in the presentation department. Sound wise itís all very predictable, the smaller zombies donít tend to make a lot of noise, however, when the larger zombies appear later on in the game there are moans and groans in abundance, accompanied by a sleep-walk style march that brings a bit of a stereotypical comedy element into proceedings, which is very welcome, as if the game took on a 100% serious tone, it would become laughable and the entertainment value would quickly be zapped from the app. Thereís a fitting soundtrack to accompany the game, which, due to the nature of the game, itís not an upbeat track that is likely to get on your nerves within seconds. Infact, I actually quite like the Zombie Smash soundtrack.
The backdrop of the lone house that your character is in as the sole survivor (you never appear on screen) bodes well for the game as it gives space for zombies to come at you from all angles, well, left and right anyway, the games not in 3D, after all. Different zombies are introduced to you as you progress through the game, each with different attributes - some with guns, bombs, whereas some have serious attitude problems and will come at you fast and furiously, without remorse. The different zombies give the game some longevity as there are introduced gradually over the course of the game, giving you something to work towards and maintaining the freshness of the game.
The variation of the game doesnít stop there, this game actually has some sense behind it. The health bar at the top of the screen, indicates how close the zombies are from smashing into your house and turning you into one, in the most brutal of fashions, of course. It would seem that each zombie has his/her own strength, from the no frills zombies to the big ones that arenít able to be picked up. Each one does their own amount of damage. However, when your health bar does run out, there is no scene to show what would subsequently happen, only a flash to say you lost. As the zombies try to bite, punch, shoot and headbut their way into your house, the state your house is in never changes, unfortunately, which gives the game a somewhat amateur feel to it.
Control wise the game comes up trumps. You have the option to either flick your finger up the screen to throw a zombie in the air (which does more damage), or you can simply touch the screen, making the zombies fall over. The touch screen is well utilised throughout the game and things can become very difficult when you have numerous zombies on screen at once, coming from both ways. Things can get very frantic to say the least. Infact, in terms of difficulty the game is very much a challenge all the way through. There is an easy, normal and hard difficultly selection - hard being locked until you have completed a certain number of levels. Youíre recommended to choose the normal level, as it gains you more points and more items to unlock. Occasionally though, you may have to select the easy option and this is indicated on screen by a babies dummy, which can appear a little patronising, but it goes towards giving this game a personality.
Along the way youíll be given certain objects to aid in your eliminating of the zombies. These range from rocks, guns, bombs and even nitrous oxide. They appear out of nowhere on the screen and you must tap them to enable you to use them. This brings a strategic aspect to the game and makes things a little more interesting. Problem being, you can only store two items at a time so you have to be very careful when you use them, especially if youíre facing the bigger zombies as youíre unable to lift or push them.
If I had to use one word to describe Zombie Smash, Iíd say, repetitive. Itís the repetitiveness of the game which really takes the enjoyment out of this game relatively quickly. There is only one location and despite the variation in aids and zombies youíre still doing the exact same thing over and over again. For 10 minutes of entertainment this game is great, however, itís not something that I find myself playing for long periods of time. Nevertheless, the game is very entertaining in short bursts and one that I find myself playing regularly as levels are short and donít require you to dedicate a lot of your time.
For 59p this game is a real bargain.
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Zombie Smash (iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad)
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