For some reason everybody in the world (or at least in your city) is some sort of undead freak except for you and (hopefully) three of your friends plus some mindless hostages. How? Who cares? Bring on the hordes! Zombie Apocalypse is a top-down zombie shoot‘em up highly reminiscent of Left 4 Dead. The action is loud and intense and immensely brutal with wave after wave of relentless zombies clamouring at you.
Starting off in Zombie Apocalypse you have the choice of four attribute comparable characters to play as. No matter whom you choose to play as, all the characters will start with a basic assault rifle and a spiffy chainsaw. These weapons will help you plough through the game’s interesting albeit funny collection of zombie types, such as the knife-throwing Granny or the birth-giving Queen, that can fill your screen with her deadly unshakable love spawn.
The controls are simple and easy, just how a top-down shooter should really be. As you play you’ll find the undead latching onto you and when they do you can shake them off by flinging around the left stick (also shaking the Sixaxis controller on the PS3). You’ll be using the left stick to move and the right stick to shoot by moving it the direction you want to shoot at.
Although the assault rifle is your first weapon, there are other types of weapons that drop from the sky to help you out from to time like Molotov cocktails, shotguns, and grenade launchers as well as a few others all with limited ammunition. There’s also a deadly pink teddy bear that’s stuffed with C4 that the zombies crowd around when it’s thrown. The teddy yells out silly comments and jokes before blowing up in the faces of its zombie onlookers. Only one is provided for you but if you want one to fall from the gods, you have to save a hostage that pops up at random places within the stage by staying with them long enough for a helicopter to lift them away and prevent their infection. The hostages are surprisingly brutal if infected.
One can indeed grind one’s way through each of the game’s 55 levels solo, but a lot of the fun can be found in its local and online multiplayer modes. You’ve got unlimited continues so there’s not really much of a challenge, just a drudgingly long gore fest. Playing through the levels, there will be points where you’ll play different game modes (that you can unlock and have the option to play later in your own matches) such as a black out mode that will have you only being to able to see the immediate area of your characters. There’s a chainsaw mode where of course you’ve only got the one weapon to defend yourself with. Also, there’s a type of zombie-bloodbath mode where hundreds of zombies come at you called "7 Days of Hell" and it’s only unlocked if you pass every one of the game’s 55 levels (it’ll be easy with your unlimited continues). One day in the "7 Days of Hell" game mode should last you about a half hour each and has a pretty cool dark colour filter giving the game a more raw and gritty feel. This is the only reason I can find that would make someone want to play through all 55 levels.
There is a boss in the game, kind of. It’s a repeat boss creature flesh thing that comes back a few times after passing a number of days. It’s actually quite surprising seeing the creature evolve after every meeting. More tentacles, more traps, more zombie helpers, and more lasers (yeah). Aside from a boss fight here and there, you will find that the zombies will have evolved into a green radioactive state about half way through the game making the gameplay a little harder and the game levels a little longer lasting.
The graphics are good with dozens of limbs scattered and spattered blood all over the place. Although not visually ground breaking, the game shines with the ability to stuff so much zombies on the screen at one time. The music is creepy and indeed has a very horror-survival theme to it comparable to 28 Days Later. Unsurprising but not exactly disappointing, the game’s sound effects are what you would expect as blood splashes, zombies groan, chainsaws sound rusty, and explosions go boom.
Zombie Apocalypse is a decent buy on the PlayStation Network/Xbox Live Arcade with a number of cost justifying moments. Playing with your friends will promise a lot of laughter and clamouring especially if you mix up your game modes in your matches. The game has comedic and silly touches for an otherwise serious and gritty tone. Although repetitive, the game will last you if you want to get through all of its 55 levels. Either alone or within a team of four, brain-eating fun will sure be found.
Final Score: 6.5