App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
Graphics / Sound Rating:
User Interface Rating:
Re-use / Replay Value Rating:
First-person shooters. Zombie survival. They're like peanut butter and chocolate. They're also all over the App Store nowadays. The overall quality of the experience can vary greatly depending on the specific game, but it's a very popular concept nonetheless. Problem is, when there are this many offerings it's hard not to compare and contrast. And when the competition is this fierce it can make a good game look not-so-good.
Anyone who's messed around with first-person zombie survival shooters (FPZSS?) knows the basic idea. Nasty things start to attack, and have to be fought off with firearms. Difficulty increases with each successfully survived wave. New gear can be acquired to aid in not dying, which will in turn earn more points/cash to get better gear. Sometimes new areas can also be unlocked in a given level, creating more spaces to explore as well as more angles attacks can come from.
The main thing Combat Arms: Zombies has going for it is its style. It's not the first game to incorporate the iOS Unreal Engine, and it most certainly won't be the last, but it's one of the only ones I've seen that have turned it into something so... colorful. The more boss-like zombie designs are also a tad unorthodox, which isn't a bad thing. Although the Helghast-looking female assassin zombie seems a bit out of place. The wealth of unlockables are also pretty cool, with plenty of armor-boosting items and more powerful weapons to save up for. If only it were more fun to actually play.
It's not that the controls are bad (they aren't) and there are plenty of options to appease almost any play-style, but the setup leaves a lot to be desired. Earning cash and experience, even in failure, is nice and all but it takes a while for things to get interesting. Bumping up the difficulty makes the zombies tougher and increases the number of waves, but it doesn't really get hard until the sixth save or so. Incidentally, that's also when new zombie types show up and more areas in the level become accessible. Once this happens, it can get downright fun. The problem is that players have to trudge through the early, dull waves in order to reach the more entertaining ones.
I'm not saying Combat Arms: Zombies isn't worth playing, but when compared to the competition it comes up a little short. More maps or more zombies would be nice, but really I'm just holding on to hope for an eventual way to bypass the super-boring early waves. Still, it's bound to keep action lovers occupied for a while.