App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
Stuff happened. People died. Dead people came back. Society is in shambles (*rimshot*). The living dead need shooting. Yup, it's yet another zombie shooter.
Contract Killer: Zombies puts players in the rather under-utilized shoes of a grizzled crack-shot paraplegic in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. So, as one would expect, the gameplay skips those pesky "moving" bits entirely and instead focuses on weapon selection, ammo management and accuracy. It's a setup that could have ended up being totally dull, but thanks to the inclusion of a number of survivors that need protecting throughout the various stages it manages to remain tense and exciting.
The gunplay, rooted though it may be, is what keeps Contract Killer: Zombies fun. Each weapon can only fire off so many shots before needing to be reloaded, and there can be surprising amount of strategy involved when it comes to choosing the right moments to do so. Shoving bullets into a gun takes time, so it's imperative to not do it when the zombies get too close to any juicy human brains. Watching helplessly as a survivor is mauled by a fleash-eater because that shotgun ran dry can be excruciating. Better weapons can be purchased with cash earned and saved from completed missions, which helps.
The downside to all of this weapon reloading and swapping is that the reloading only "counts" if the animation finishes completely. Like 100%. 99.9% won't cut it. I have to admit, it was pretty frustrating to spend precious seconds to reload my pistol (just in case I'd need it in a pinch later), then switch back to the shotgun for close-range killing because I thought it was fully reloaded, only to switch back and find it still empty. Then having to waste even more precious seconds reloading it (essentially) a second time.
Another problem I've encountered - aside from that odd "You must be online to get your daily gift," message that I keep getting when I am, in fact, online - is the visual presentation. While the hands and guns of the protagonist look and animate great, the same cannot be said of the survivors and zombies. They don't look too good, to say the least. This isn't me nitpicking, either. The lackluster zombie models actually impede my ability to play effectively as they'll often blend into the backgrounds.
However, it's easy to overlook these complaints because the game is just plain satisfying to play and the ever-present draw of earning better gear is a great motivator. I'm not too keen on the way the increasing difficulty can back players into a corner if they're saving for a particular gun (and completed stages can't be replayed), and money takes a long time to earn, but that's just how it is. I mean it's a game about shooting zombies. What else does anyone need to know, really?