Version Reviewed: 1.3.4
App Reviewed on: iPhone 5
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
You may recall that I’ve been pining away for Kill Me Again: Infectors ever since GDC. I figured the zombified match-3 puzzle game probably couldn’t live up to my own lofty expectations, and it’s definitely not perfect, but it doesn’t disappoint.
Zombies, armageddon, guns, mercenaries - everybody knows the drill by now. The world is in shambles because of all the shamblers, and you’re just trying to survive. In this particular instance you play the part of a fledging mercenary looking to make a name for yourself by shooting zombies in the face and occasionally rescuing other survivors. But mostly by shooting zombies in the face.
The core match-3 system at play here is very similar to what we’re all used to: drag a colored symbol (bullet cartridges in this case) around freely and then drop it next to other symbols that match its color. Creating a set of three or more will cause your character to attack with one of several different weapons like pistols, shotguns, or even fists. Larger matches to more damage, and chaining multiple matches together creates some devastating combos. So, you know, familiar match-3 territory.
What makes all of this stand out is how larger matches and chains come into play, as well as the zombies themselves. Matching five or more will create a power-up icon that can be tapped to activate one of several special abilities such as healing or creating a temporary shield. Similarly, you’ll eventually be able to learn special chain combos that will unleash some pretty nasty special attacks. Meanwhile, the zombies and other mutants constantly approach at different speeds and use different attack methods in order to keep you on your toes and prevent you from taking too long to figure out your next move. It’s frantic, but it’s a good frantic once you get into a rhythm.
There are also a bunch of other background elements that have become fairly common in free-to-play games lately. You can find and equip increasingly powerful items, upgrade said items, hire other mercenaries (i.e. other players) to assist you on missions, steadily improve your own skills, play through normal and hard versions of each level, and be forced to wait around while your energy refills. I also think it’s a shame that you have to save up at least 50 gold if you want to have more than one character to switch between, but I do appreciate that the option even exists. Some of it seems a little disjointed - kind of like a bunch of stuff was just tossed in to see what works - but none of that really gets in the way of pulling off cool-looking attacks in a pinch during a chaotic zombie battle.
It feels bizarre for me to say because of the zombies, but Kill Me Again: Infectors really is a much livelier entry for the genre than the majority of what we’ve seen lately. It can be a little awkward here and there but there’s a kind of energy to its puzzle mechanics that makes it feel more like an action game than the typical match-3.