Reviewed: September 8, 2010
Released: August 29, 2010
App Store Price: $.99
Zombie Escape is a game that has followed all the proper protocol of making it into the App Store. Developer Viqua gGames created their game, made sure to kill all the bugs they could before putting it through the Apple approval system, and or course, as all games require these days, they made sure there were plenty of Zombies.|
Zombie Escape has a story -- sort of. There are zombies, and you need to get away from them. Or rather, more specifically, you need to get the regular people away from them. You view the zombie versus human playing field from above. Humans are running around aimlessly, doing a terrible job avoiding the numerous zombies, and ignoring the life saving helicopters that periodically land to fly them off to an area with presumably far fewer zombies. Your job is, as the player, is to tell these aimless humans where to go.
As the humans run around, getting themselves caught in increasingly precarious situations, you must bring your godlike finger down into the playing field and tell them where to go by simply drawing a path for them. This isnít a suggested path, this is a hard and rigid path that their feet must follow. The ultimate goal is to direct the humans to the helicopters that are landing, so that they can get out of their. This might involve zig zagging the humans around the zombies, or making them take the long way, to avoid the large mass of zombies currently aggregating on the starboard side of the helicopters.
As you direct the humans to their helicopter safety, you will come across assorted weapens that randomly litter the playing field. You can find things like sleeping gas, that causes the zombies to stop moving, or raw meat to direct the zombies away from the precious survivors. There is also an arsenal of standard wepons strewn about like bombs, and sniper rifle ammo. As long as you have these items in your inventory, they can be used at any time against the zombies.
Depending on the number of zombies killed, and survivors saved, you earn money that can be used to upgrade these items and weapons. Bombs can have a wider blast radius, or meat can have a wider range of attraction. This element of the game proves to be itís strongest. Deciding what to upgrade, and using the weapons between levels requires a small amount of strategy, and it encourages you to keep playing each progressing level.
Every few levels, the ability of you items will become limited, forcing you to rethink your strategies. You may have been relying heavily on your bombs, but then you will get thrown into a level that only allows you to use raw meat, or place-able safe zones. Itís a bit of a frustration to have your items taken away from you, especially when the main reward of completing each level is the ability to upgrade your equipment. Scenarios will pop up occasionally when you have been saving money to advance your sniper rifle, only to discover that your first chance to use it wonít occur until the following level. Itís like saving up for a DS Lite, only to read Nintendoís email blast about the DSi right as your popping in Mario Kart.
Dividing the game into short levels was a smart choice. Most of these path tracing games restrict the player to one location, and force you to stay in that one area and fight for a high score. Zombie Escape has a few different types of levels, so there always exists the incentive to see whats coming up next. Your not stuck in one area.
This game, and the similar iPhone games of this genre, feel like fast paced RTS games only after a few moments of play. They force you to manage the paths of many different objects that are constantly in motion, and Zombie Escape is no different. Splitting up the game into levels gives a you a reason to continuously play, and you feel like you are progressing, but the game is still very difficult. Managing multiple moving objects around immobile objects is difficult enough, but here you are also having to contend with zombies, who despite their historic slothiness, generally have no problem keeping up with the humans. Itís a lot for your eyes to take in, even on the small iPhone screen.
Zombie Escape is better than most trace the path sort of games. There is far more incentive than just the high score battle that exists in similar titles, but it does not change the fact that is a path tracer, a genre term I have officially just coined. If titles like Flight Control bored you, then this is a iTunes dollar, you can probably save. If you liked Flight Control though, and just thought it didnít have enough zombies, well then my friend -- you are in luck.