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2012 Zombies vs Aliens falls into an action/strategy nook that pits you, as either the alien or zombie race, in trench warfare versus the other side. Instead of weighing you down with crazy controls or complex strategy bits, the game simply gives you a handful of soldiers, some bombs to throw, and a simple mission, to march forward with WWI-like gusto.
The game starts with you as the zombie race, in a struggle to protect the Earth and all of zombie-kind. The story goes as this, the aliens find Earth to be a planet that they desired, so they wipe all the humans off (or so they think), and plan on returning in a few years to a cleaned out planet. Little did they know that the stuff they used to wipe out the humans turned them all into zombies. Now, instead of just skipping the planet over, they have come to clean it out once and for all.
You start with the unenviable task of defending the city of San Francisco (Some kind of zombie hub? That sounds about right.), and must work your way through battles around the world, leading you to the ultimate showdown in Washington D.C. Each city has you fighting in famous locations like the Great Wall, The Forbidden City, and Tiananmen Square (I just happened to pull up the Beijing level there), but each location looks almost exactly the same except for the position of the trenches.
Trenches, by the way, are the name of the game in this one. Each level consists of a 2D battleground that spans... well, the length of the battlefield. The battlefield consists of your army on the left side, with a "boss" that protects you, a bunch of trenches for your army to hide in, and the enemy army with their boss on the right. You are given a small amount of money every second or so to buy an army, which you send out to blow up the other army in gruesome fashion. Along the way to the enemy base, you can hide three units at a time in trenches (which happens automatically unless you lock the trench from your units) which give your units a considerable combat advantage. The trick to the game is to use the trenches to slowly march your way up the field, and then when the time is right, send everyone at once to overrun the enemy.
Between each level you can purchase new items with the money that you make in each mission to help you with your battles. You can either buy new units to use, such as snipers (which are misspelled in the game as snippers) and attack dogs, purchase air attack weapons such as poison gas bombs as cluster bombs, or you can just upgrade the ones that you currently have to make them a bit more formidable.
Because of the simple premise and even simpler game controls, replay value on individual levels is fairly negligible. Fortunately, there are seven missions in each of the eight cities, along with an alien and a zombie campaign to keep you busy for many hours. The game really isn't all that difficult, but there are three difficulty settings to tackle if you really just want to beat the game all the way through. To add a bit more replay value, the game uses the OpenFeint system that lets you complete basic tasks along the way.
At the current 99 cent price, or even a slightly higher price, 2012 is a no brainer. It will give you countless hours of gameplay and hits that perfect sweet spot between individual level play time and strategy. With a few level add-ons in the future (and maybe an added option for moving units backwards), 2012 could be sitting on my iPhone for quite some time.