Developer: BitMonster
Price: FREE
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★½☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★☆☆
Playtime: Rating: ★★½☆☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★½☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆

There haven’t been a lot of serious attempts to replicate the formula of Zombie Gunship, which is unfortunate: that game made zombie killing fun in a special way. Gunner Z is one of the few that takes it on, but it struggles due in large part to its structure.

GunnerZ-7The game puts players in the gunner seat of a truck that’s out to go blow up some zombies and the human sympathizers that seem to all have military ranks. Players can raise or lower their height to get the perfect angle against zombies, though it never feels like it’s of much practical use. Players get a standard gun of their choice with unlimited ammo, and a set of rockets that can be used to help take out more powerful enemies and large groups of zombies. If the zombies get close they’ll do heavy damage to the truck, and if the truck runs out of health it’s mission over.

Now, the game is free-to-play and uses a two-tier currency system: Z$ for buying upgrades, and BX for skipping wait timers for upgrades – along with things like continues and Rampage mode where everything’s more powerful in case the zombies become too overwhelming.

The game’s punishment for death feels a bit harsh in that players have to wait for a while (or pay with BX) in order to go out with their vehicle again. Of course, it’s possible to take out another vehicle in the garage, but they have their own sets of upgrades so it winds up making the player need more Z$ in order to buy them and remain competent against the enemy hordes.

GunnerZ-8What games with upgrade systems do well is to let the player enjoy the upgrades that they do have, and to get them to want more upgrades, not to feel like they need them to keep enjoying the game. Or at least, the game manages to let players enjoy the game for a while early on, and to get them hooked before they eventually feel the need to possibly spend the money on upgrades. Gunner Z felt like it was frustrating much too early on. It all feels a bit skewed against the player, and less fun than it could or should be.

And the gameplay at its core just doesn’t feel like it’s anything special. The infrared camera and zombies feel shamelessly lifted from Zombie Gunship, defeating zombies is in that uncomfortable medium ground between taking them out up close, and the satisfaction of taking out massive hordes of zombies from a distance.

Gunner Z has solid production values, but it’s missing a lot of the elements that could make it a great game.


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