Game: All Zombies Must Die! Scorepocalypse
Format: XBL, PSN or Steam
Publisher: Square Enix
Making games funner is not only an aberration to the English language, but also notoriously hard to pull off in reality.
Enter DoubleSix and their indie style hit “All Zombies Must Die!”, an enjoyable bird’s eye romp through a zombie infested town near you (if you live in the good ol’ US of A…).
The original AZMD! featured plenty of fun to be had running round the map with just your wits (oh and the occasional Assault Rifle) attempting to survive a zombiepocalypse.
Sporting good natured fun, slick, quick gameplay and more than a little tongue in cheek humour there is certainly nothing wrong with the original AZMD.
If one were to have one main criticism of the first game it would be the lack of anything to really engender a sense of community / social competition with chums. It plays like a fun and fresh solo survivor (unless you have 3 players locally to accompany you… No? I thought not) but offers limited value in terms of longevity with its basic leaderboard.
So how to address this… OK, how about “scoring”?
Yup, Doublesix have wasted no time in bringing a substantial and robust scoring system to their game in this edition and I can confirm it certainly enhances gameplay on all fronts. Whilst other improvements have been made this is the biggie and overall it’s a good choice of where to spend their time. Suddenly e’ve leapt from a largely single player experience for most players to the ability to compete freely and fully with all other players and specially any friends you may have whom are playing via the scoring and leaderboards. Interestingly this is cumulative score as opposed to “highest” score, which is a great way of encouraging some repeat business.
For any of you whom have not had the chance to experience the game it reminds me very much of Torchlight (visual style) meets Burnout Crash! (new scoring system) meets Smash TV! (gameplay experience).
With a functional, if limited, “progression” system for your character there is even some scope for customisation, and the presence of basic “quests” breaks up the score chasing gameplay enough to avoid the experience descending into repetition.
Certainly favouring the cautious and skilled against the rash and inexperienced the game can be fairly punishing if you are playing solo, which most will be, but makes up for this by never penalising you for dying at the hands of its ravenous undead.
This lack of penalty for accidental or foolish mistakes brings the frustration-o-meter right down and as such is a further superb design decision.
Graphics: 3.5/5 – Fun game with a fun style, some of the later zombies are most amusing.
Sound: 3/5 – Solid stuff, won’t get remixed by Skrillex, but then why would he.
Gameplay: 3/5 – Starts out fun, stays fun, but needs couch co-op buddies to really fly.
Longevity: 3/5 – The new scoring system certainly adds hugely here, but again, needs remote co-op.
Overall: 3 undead out of 5
A good solid and fun game. XBL / PSN / Steam co-op could have elevated this beyond its single player limits. Local-only co-op opportunities are a rarity these days for most busy gamers, and you really need this to make the most of the experience in this case.
- Richard “Rax” Burley