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Zombies!!! - Review

Zombies seem to be invading our Windows Phones these days. At last count, there were about fifteen zombie themed games at the Marketplace.  One of the more anticipated zombie themed games for Windows Phone 7 has to be Zombies!!!.

A collaborative effort between Microsoft Game Studios, Babaroga, and Twilight Creations, Zombies!!! brings the popular board game to the small screen of your Windows Phone.  Graphically well presented, Zombies!!! represents the original board game extremely well.

The game premise is simple. Wipe out 25 zombies or make it to the helipad to escape the City. Along the way you compete with other players who'll do what they can to slow you down by playing action cards or positioning zombies in your way.

Dealing with the Living Dead

Here's how the game plays out. You and up to four other zombie hunters are dropped into a city that is infested with the living dead. You have to work your way to a helipad to escape or wipe out twenty-five zombies to win.  You have four game set-ups or rule sets.

  • Standard:  Game play is based on the official "Zombies!!!" rules.
  • Quick Play: Follows the official rules but has the Helipad map piece in the bottom half of the deck.
  • Generated Town: The game starts with the city map already generated.
  • Survival Horror: You vs. a town full of zombies.  No opponents and instead of 25 kills to win, it'll take 105.

Zombies!!! is a multi-player game that you can pit yourself against computer controlled players or let your friends take a turn at wiping out the zombies.  To modify the type of player, the color, or remove a player just tap the gear symbol besides each player game piece.  The default has you playing against two CPU controlled opponents.

At the beginning of the game, each player has three hearts and two bullets (you can earn more as the game progresses). Hearts represent your life and bullets can be used to help defeat a zombie (more on this in a bit). You also recieve three action cards that can give you bonuses or be used against other players to slow them down.

Player moves or turns break down into several steps.

You begin play with only the City center showing up on the map. At the beginning of each turn you get to add a piece to the map. Once in place, you add the zombies and in some situations, you get to add bonus items (hearts and bullets).

Once you get the map situation, it's time to roll the dice to see how far you can move. You can move freely down the roadway or venture into buildings to find bonus items. Land on a square with a zombie and you'll have to battle them.

To battle a zombie you will see a split screen with your player facing the zombie. Combat is done by a roll of the dice. Roll a four or greater and you win. Roll less than a four and you either have to use bullets to increase your roll above four (e.g. roll a 3 plus one bullet equals four) or spend a heart to roll again.

Once you complete your movements and battles, you get to roll another dice to see how many zombies you can re-position. You can use this to move zombies out of your way or move them to hinder your opponents progress.

At various points during your turn, you can use action cards. Some action cards will give you bonuses (e.g. add one point to every roll of the dice during combat) or penalize your opponent (e.g. no movement during one turn).

 

Once you're done with your turn, the other players get a turn. For now, your opponents are controlled by your phone's CPU. Babaroga has done a really good job of programming the computerized players to be competitive. They are borderline ruthless not only against you but also one another. It helps keep the game interesting and winning is by no means a cake walk.

Eventually, the helipad piece of the map will drop and it becomes a foot race to reach 25 kills or make it to the helipad and escape.

Game Play Experience

Zombies!!! is graphically well done and competitive enough to keep things from going stale. If you're a fan of the box game, the Windows Phone 7 game is a must have.

From having the player pieces hopping from square to square to the animation of the combat scenes, Zombies!!! was as fun to watch as it was to play.

At first, the length of each turn took some getting used to but you develop a flow to make game play smoother. There are automated options for some aspects (e.g. re-positioning of zombies) to help speed things up a little but in doing so, you lose some of the strategery the game offers.

There were no glitches, bugs, or crashes experienced while playing Zombies and load times were fast and smooth. As mentioned, the graphics are well done and the sound effects equally as nice.  Another nice feature is the ability to save games in progress.

Zombies!!! isn't an action game but rather a board game and it takes a while to play out. Being able to save a game in progress allows you to play a few turns at a time. However, don't be surprised if you look up and realize you've been playing Zombies!!! for an hour. The game has a sneaky, addictive quality to it.

Xbox Live

Zombies!!! is an Xbox Live game that has various achievements that can be earned and reflected on your Xbox Live account. At present, there is not a co-op feature to allow you to have Xbox Live friends join in the game. 

You can have others play the game from your Windows Phone (you just pass your phone around with each turn) and hopefully future development of Zombies!!! will allow multiple players play from their own Windows Phone.  It's our understanding that a XBox Live Arcade version of Zombies!!! is in the works and we should see more Xbox Live interaction between Zombies!!! on the Windows Phone and Zombies!!! on the Xbox console.

Overall Impression

Briefly put, Zombies!!! is a fantastic game. It ran smoothly, looked good, and game play wasn't boring. The computer competes in an aggressive manner to prevent the game from getting too easy.  If you're looking for a serious challenge, the Survival Horror throws everything but the kitchen sink at you.

The game pace can be a little slow at first.  However, once you get used to the game, it picks up speed.  There's a lot involved with each move from building the city map to battling zombies.  It has a chess like atmosphere at times with using the action cards and re-positioning zombies during your turn.  Strategy is definitely an element of Zombies!!!

As mentioned earlier, if you're a fan of the board game Zombies!!! this is a must have app for your Windows Phone. Even if you've never seen the board game, Zombies!!! is worth a try. There is a trial version available and the full game will run you $4.99.

You can find Zombies!!! here at the Marketplace.

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Comments

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hauz_20 says:

Thanks for the review, George. Your work - and everyone else's on this site - is great and much appreciated. This is my first stop every day for WinPhone news and notices.But please stop spelling "lose" as "loose."It's driving me nuts!