I, Zombie’s premise is a curious one. Where most video games featuring the undead have you take on the role of the living with a whole assortment of weaponry to defend yourself, here you play as a member of team zombie leading a growing horde and spreading the infection to others. In a genre rarely short on examples, Awesome Game Studio’s take at the very least offers gamers a unique twist on the overly familiar formula. Does this neat slant translate to a great time though?
I, Zombie is played entirely from a top-down perspective. Manoeuvring your shambling virus ridden monster around each environment your aim is to chow down on its human inhabitants adding them to your ever-growing horde until no survivors remain. Not only can you control your own zombie though, but you’re also able to command your troops into following, stopping or attacking a nearby enemy at the press of a button. Albeit simple, these orders are essential in dispatching more difficult to reach foes.
Humans start off as little more than helpless cowards who run at the sight of danger, but as you progress you’ll come across gun-wielding soldiers and turrets all out to make your survival even tougher. These obstacles are able to pick up on your presence when nearby while the metal machines tear through your army like butter. It’s clear from your first few encounters that a reckless attack is the perfect way to get yourself killed… again. It’s by taking cover, making use of your fellow zombies and timing your assaults that you’ll wipe out humanity.
Complete a stage and you’ll be ranked out of a possible three stars based on your performance. Some stages will focus on how many zombies you managed to keep alive while others will test your speed in taking down a specific scientist as he attempts to produce a cure to wipe you out.
My time spent with the game’s main campaign was enjoyable enough but I couldn’t help but shake the feeling more could have been done with the idea. Shambling about taking out humans is fun but that’s really all you’re doing. Even when the game tries to throw in new enemy types or different environments, it doesn’t truly mix things up in any surprising ways. I was left satisfied finishing each stage, however, it was definitely a shallow feeling.
With only thirty levels to conquer the game is on the short side and with little incentive to perfect each stage and achieve a three-star ranking, I found myself hard-pressed to return. The game does include a stage creator – a rather nice addition that even offers online sharing. In it, you’re able to edit every detail from the enemy placement to the decorative elements. It will be interesting to see what the community can come up with in the future (if one forms) although my hopes aren’t too high given the game’s very simple mechanics.
Tying everything together is a very basic and bare-bones presentation. There’s no real narrative carrying you through the game’s campaign. The visuals, while sort of cute, have a smartphone vibe about them and the audio is limited and forgettable.
I, Zombie is a decent if short distraction that offers you the chance to play as a zombie and get your own back on the trigger-happy human race. Its gameplay may be overly simplistic but it’s fun enough to keep you engaged to the end. Unlike a zombie, this game is no rotting mess but it could certainly be a little fresher.
Version Tested: Nintendo Switch
Review copy provided by Awesome Games Studio