App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
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Desert Zombie Last Stand isn't a typical zombie game. Well, okay, it kind of is. It's got wave-survival, hordes of reanimated corpses, unlockable weapons, upgradable perks and plenty of shooting. But these zombies are fast and can use weapons! Yeah, I know, it makes the idea of using zombies seem a little odd but it is what it is. Besides, questionable agile living dead aside, it's a pretty solid action game. For the most part.
As with any and every game of this kind, the point of Desert Zombie Last Stand is to survive for as long as possible against increasingly tough waves of enemies. In this case, I'm talking about zombies. Zombies with rifles, with rocket launchers, giant zombies and so on. Completing waves will unlock more powerful weapons for purchase, which will theoretically make it possible to survive that much longer and earn more cash. In addition to firearms, players can also spend cash on new player skins (purely cosmetic) and a number of perks (absolutely essential) than can be equipped and upgraded for a more custom-tailored experience.
Taking down waves of enemies, earning more money and finally acquiring a desired weapon or perk is the driving force here. There's always that draw of saving up for that new shiny around the corner to keep players invested. It helps that the game itself is quite the looker. Yup, Unreal Engine 3 on iOS folks, drink it in. It's also a pretty well-constructed game, with a control scheme similar to that of Dead Space but with the inclusion of a crouch (huh?) and aim (yay!) button.
There are a few disappointments, however. The two (total) "open" maps are extremely tiny, and the only stuff for a player to find hidden around them is ammo. The ammo also comes back after a time, effectively removing any real reason for exploration. I also think the selection wheel for the shop is way too slow. It shouldn't take me that long to simply scroll though my choices, but this thing moves like it's been greased-up with epoxy and cement. But the biggest let down by far is the framerate. When more than a handful of zombies is on the map, it starts to slow down noticeably. When the action picks up, it's like watching a slide show. It's not only distracting, it fudges the control inputs as well. There were many times when I found myself unable to shoot/aim/run simply because the lag was affecting the screen's ability to register my commands. Not cool.
In its current state, I'd consider Desert Zombie Last Stand a work-in-progress with lots of potential. $7 feels a bit steep for what's on offer here, but a few new maps, maybe some new guns and a performance tweaking would make this an absolute must-have action game.